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[From Ted Cloak (2014.01.02.11:27 MST)]

[From Fred Nickols (2014.01.02.0903 EST)]

I'm with Martin on this one. "Control" (in general) may well be a
"phenomenon" and one that is observable in many different specific instances
but PCT is a theory and as such it is used to explain observable phenomena;
namely, behavior.

Fred Nickols

TC: Maybe this is philosophical hair-splitting, but since behavior *is* the
control of perception, PCT actually explains observed actions of animals.
Otherwise, it seems that one is saying that behavior explains behavior.



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#B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0in 0in 0in'><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>[From Ted Cloak (2014.01.02.11:27 MST)]</span><span =
ext'><o:p></o:p></span></p></div></div><p =
class=3DMsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>[From Fred Nickols (2014.01.02.0903 EST)]<o:p></o:p></span></p><p =
class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>I&#8217;m with Martin on this one.&nbsp; &#8220;Control&#8221; (in =
general) may well be a &#8220;phenomenon&#8221; and one that is =
observable in many different specific instances but PCT is a theory and =
as such it is used to explain observable phenomena; namely, =
behavior.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>Fred Nickols<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>TC: Maybe this is philosophical hair-splitting, but since behavior =
*<b>is</b>* the control of perception, PCT actually explains observed =
actions of animals. Otherwise, it seems that one is saying that behavior =
explains behavior.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =
D'>HTH<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=3DMsoNormal><span =


<> <CA+jz> <> <002501cf07c3$f2711c70$d7535550$>
Subject: RE: Seeing similarity (was Re: Latash, 2010: "Motor Control Theories and Their Applications")
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2014 11:33:45 -0700
a:link, span.MsoHyperlink
a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed

[From Bruce Abbott (970130.1510 EST)]

Bruce Gregory (970130.1400 EST)]

Scott Sterling (970130.1250)

Those words are
meaningless in the determinist's conceptual framework.

As far as a determinist is concerned, aren't all words

No, Bruce. On what basis do you conclude that all words would be
meaningless to a determinist?

The meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or even larger structure resides in
the associations it evokes in the listener.



[From Dag Forssell (980101 1145)]


Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 14:26:58 +0000
From: Fred Nickols <nickols@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject: The MOL Thread

I have more than 80 pages of messages compiled now and will continue
adding to it until the thread ends. At some point, it might make
interesting reading.

P.S. Once the MOL thread dies down, I'll gladly share the compilation
of message with anyone who is interested.

Fred, I trust you are aware of the PCT disks I put together, with the last
revision in June 1995. Your thread on MOL would be a valuable addition to
the collection of threads and other posts in that collection.

I have recently managed to get my new CD writer to work. I bought one in
April and have had trouble getting it to work. Turned out a software update
did wonders.

Anyhow, before this summer I expect to make a CD-rom available with the
entire CSG archive and many other CSG resources, such as the PCT disks.

Please send me the MOL thread as an attached document when you are done,
and I will include it.

If you or others want to suggest inclusion of other files so they become
available to present and future students of PCT, please send them with your

Thanks, Dag

From [ Marc Abrams (990126.1301) ]

Bruce G. Just one question




     Some comments on "Generative Models" from Tucker and Stewart's
               "Science, Self and Symbolic Interaction" (1989)

          Rather more cryptically to be sure Mead tells us how to go
     further pragmatically, how, that is, to help address and solve
     problems systematically and efficiently. To do so, he suggests,
     we should construct what today are called "generative mechanisms"
     (Bhaskar, 1975:51; Fararo, 1986:20; Harre, 1981:6; Willer and
     Willer, 1973:27; Willer, 1984:264).<^1^> These are symbolic
     formulations - verbal, mathematical, graphical - which can be
     used to generate other formulations or statements. The first set
     of formulations tell us how to generate the second set. The
     second set tells us what we can do, what we can combine and
     rearrange to produce specific results - occurrences, events,
     observations. Thus, the second set of statements can tell us
     what we can do to solve any of a number of particular problems
     that are within the scope of the first set of formulations.<^2^>

           A place where Mead gives us reason for this interpretation
     is in his supremely valuable, "Scientific Method and the
     Individual Thinker" (1917). There he says:

            The classical illustration which stands at the door
            of modern experimental science is the hypothesis
            which Galileo formed of the rate of the velocity of a
            falling body. He conceived that this was in
            proportion to the time elapsed during the fall and
            then elaborated the consequences of this hypothesis
            by working it into the accepted mathematical
            doctrines of the physical world, until it led to an
            anticipated result which would actually be secured
            and which would be so characteristic of a falling
            body that it would answer to every other instance as
            he had defined them (Mead, 1917:210).<^3^>

          David Willer also discusses Galileo's analysis of motion
     (1984:24). There he shows that Galileo by assuming that
     projectile motion had two components, one horizontal, one
     vertical, and by assuming that horizontal motion is constant, and
     vertical motion is constantly accelerated, he was able to produce
     formulations - diagrams and mathematical statements - which can
     be used to give directions for producing particular motions or
     results of motions. Galileo's assumptions are the crucial parts
     of the first set of statements, as we called them earlier. The
     diagrams and mathematical statements, are what we called the
     second set of statements, the set that use of the first generate.
     The enormous value of the development of generative mechanisms
     such as Galileo's is that any problem human beings encounter that
     requires the launching of projectiles to solve can be taken to
     the generative mechanism to produce specific directions for its
     solution. The generative mechanism is not merely a solution to a
     single problem, nor is it a catalogue of already developed
     solutions. Rather, it is as the name indicates, a means of
     constructing numerous solutions, each one tailored to solve a
     particular problem.

          People construct formulations which comprise generative
     mechanisms. The formulations are human inventions. Producing
     and using them requires making no claim of correspondence between
     the formulations and what is in the world. Tests of a generative
     mechanism demands no checking of any such correspondence, but
     rather requires the pragmatic test: Is the generative mechanism
     useful, does it help solve problems? Also, choosing among
     competing generative mechanisms requires making no test of which
     most faithfully describes the way things actually are and
     operate, but rather requires testing to see which gives clearest,
     most enactable directions for solving the widest range of
     problems people are currently encountering.<^4^>

          Mead of course never used the phrase "generative mechanism."
     However, his use of the term hypothesis in his discussions of
     universals comes close to doing as much, and certainly shows his
     appreciation of statements that are applicable to all instances
     of a problem. He says:

            And every hypothesis so far as it is tenable and
            workable in its form is universal. No one would
            waste his time with a hypothesis which confessedly
            was not applicable to all instances of a problem but
            in so far as it [the hypothesis] is an instrument of
            research it is assumed to be universal and to perfect
            a system which has broken down at the point indicated
            by the problem (Mead, 1917:209-210).

          The scientist's hypothesis states that all recognized
     occurrences of the problem to which the hypothesis is a response,
     without exception, can be overcome by following the directions
     the hypothesis gives. Note well that a universal is not a
     prediction of what will occur. A universal statement promises
     rather than predicts. To universalize is to construct a program
     of action that promises success in solving all instances of a
     problem. Should the promise be broken, then a reconstructed
     program of action would be called for.<^5^>

          Universals are not absolutes.

            Now I take it that the most distinctive mark of the
            Pragmatic movement is the frank acceptance of actual
            ongoing experience, experimentally controlled, as the
            standpoint from which to interpret the past and
            anticipate the future. So far as I can see this
            acceptance must recognize as ruled out any absolute
            order . . . (Mead, 1929:87-88).

     Nor are universals forever. " . . . [The scientist's] universals
     when applied to nature, are all hypothetical universals . . .
     (Mead, 1917:215)." An exception ends their reign. "Research
     science presents a world whose form is always universal, but this
     universal form is neither metaphysical assumption, nor a fixed
     form of the understanding (Mead, 1917:213)." However, the
     universal form is social.

            . . .[The scientist] asks that his view of the world
            be cogent and convincing to all those whose thinking
            has made his own possible, and be an acceptable
            premise for the conduct of that society to which he
            belongs. The hypothesis has no universal and
            necessary characters except those that belong to the
            thought which preserves the same meanings to the same
            objects, the same relations to the same relata, the
            same attributes of assent and dissent under the same
            conditions of the same things (Mead, 1917:214).

     Universality is a holding of a community of scientists whose
     activities give stability of meanings of objects and relations,
     give and withhold assent, and regularize outcomes of their
     manipulations. Thereby, universality is a possession of research
     colleagues engaged in the common tasks of problem solving.

          What colleagues possess are statements. The utterance of
     universal, i.e., generative statements gives promises that all
     instances of problems with which their community of scholars is
     concerned, all instances without exception, can be overcome by
     following out the program of activity prescribed by the
     statements formed and assented to by participants in the

          From all of this it seems clear that Mead is telling us that
     proceeding pragmatically entails the production of universal
     knowledge, or in today's language, generative mechanisms. He saw
     that human beings before him and contemporaneous with him had
     done that, and he clearly expected that that production should
     and would be continued. In effect he tells us to produce
     universal knowledge, not settle for working out <<ad hoc>>,
     expedient, one-at-a-time arrangements for coping with problems.
     And most certainly he tells us not to settle for attempts to
     describe the world, its generic principles<^6^> or laws, or for
     purported depictions of individuals' felt experiences.


     1. All of these with the possible exception of the Willers (1973)
     seem to consider correct formulations of generative mechanisms to
     be those which represent actual functioning mechanisms in the
     real world. However, use of the ideas of generative mechanisms
     and the procedures so far developed for constructing them in no
     way depend on clinging to such a belief.

     2. Theories are generative mechanisms. Newton's laws are the
     statements which constitute the theory. By their use it is
     possible to calculate stopping distances required for automobiles
     of any size, moving on any surface, at any speed. Stopping
     distances is a set of statements that can be generated by using
     the theory. An engineer interested in designing an improved
     braking system may look to the theory for guidance regarding
     where, when, and how much force to apply to reduce stopping
     distance by a desired amount. The advantage of formal
     mathematical theories such as Newton's is that it gives precise
     guidance over a broad problem domain. When cars employing the
     newly designed system are taken to the test track and stopping
     distances are measured a pragmatic test of the theory is being

     3. Blumer mentions Galileo in a similar fashion:

            Motion was one of the inherent properties of the
            particular object. Thus, it was natural for a planet
            to move in a circle, for fire to move toward the sky,
            or for a heavy object to move toward a state of rest
            on a surface of the earth. Motion was definitely
            identified with particular objects. No one conceived
            of it as distinct from the happenings of these
            particular concrete objects. It remained for Galileo
            and his contemporaries in modern science to make the
            abstraction. In his famous experiments . . .
            Galileo abstracted a content held to be common to all
            - a content which in being identified by a term
            became a concept. By conceptualization, then, the
            item motion became detached and held. Those who are
            familiar with the history of modern science know that
            its development began in major part with the
            introduction of the concept of motion. Motion, as
            such, became a subject of experimental and reflective
            study resulting in the law of falling bodies,
            Kepler's law of planetary motion, leading eventually
            to the law of gravitation (1931:521).

     4. People using generative mechanisms impose order on and
     systematize experiences. What people order and systematize may
     then appear orderly and systematic, but the order and system are
     accomplishments of the people using generative mechanisms. That
     accomplishment depends not at all on an order or system existing
     <<in>> whatever is ordered or systematized.

     5. Scientists as Mead describes them are not the only set of
     people who make promises. Preachers, revolutionaries, dictators,
     divinators, parents, and teachers, and of course many others make
     them. Often the form in which promises are made is universal,
     that is the assertion is made that every time "x's" occur, I
     promise you "y's" will follow. As such, universality is not a
     distinguishing characteristic of scientific discourse, although
     it is of great importance. All universal statements ask people
     always to be ready for particular sets of futures, and thereby
     give directions of high priority to current action. Such
     directions tell us on what ground to stand and what to count on.
     Therefore, uttering, receiving, and accepting universal
     statements controls much of what people do, and for that reason
     are of utmost importance. What Mead described as the
     distinguishing characteristic of scientists' universal statements
     is that they call for checking them out by seeking answers to two
     questions. First, are the promises the statements make of
     relevance to problems people are currently having? Second, can
     we by acting on the basis of the promises solve these problems?
     Scientists of the sort Mead had in view made such statements only
     if they thought that the community of scientists would answer
     "yes" to both questions, and would do so only so long as that
     community gave affirmative answers to the questions. Mead's
     scientists did not make universal statements that answered to
     physical force, or the force of logic, or of ideology, or of
     tradition, or of the sacred. Rather they answered to people's

     6. Dewey (1903:125 f.n.) sees that ". . . all generic scientific
     propositions, all statements of laws, all equations and formulae
     are strictly normative in character . . . ." Of course the
     pragmatist would be delighted to produce generic principles that
     told people what to do that would solve some problem they are
     having. But most who use the phrase seem most intent to try to
     extract all normative character from their statements.

[From Rick Marken (930125.1030)]

Martin Taylor (930125 12:15) --

I said:

From a conventional (S-R) point of view, law 2 is
just flat out magic or mysticism. As I said, it is just
something that you have to accept (like mass attract-
ion) even though it seems to completely contradict
everyday experience.

Martin replies --

It would be mystical, if there were no way for perception to be
controlled (if changes in perception were not reflected as error
that affected output that affected perception). It's the dynamics
that removes the mystical quality.

Thanks. That's absolutely right.

Control is marvelous -- but mystical no more.



[From Bruce Abbott (960129.1235 EST)]

Bill Powers (960129.0800 MST) proposes two new terms to describe high-gain,
negative feedback systems:

    retrofact: to strongly restore a disturbed variable to a particular state.

retrofaction: the process of retrofacting.

I believe that Bill has opened up a whole new world of terminology for us to
explore, and hereby offer the following candidates for addition to our

retrofiction: claiming retrofaction where none exists.

pseudofaction: the appearance of retrofacting; usually associated with
                equilibrium systems.

  antifaction: positive feedback with gain > 1

auntifaction: unclefaction's wife

   nonfaction: the process of not doing anything in response to a disturbance.

action-reactionfaction: open-loop process

retro-retro-retro-retrofaction: 4-level hierarchical retrofaction

Respectfully submitted,


I am a graduate student who is developing a cognitive model to be utilized
in an organization theory of school health. I am interested in utilizing
PCT, HPCT, Fuzzy Logic, Chaos Theory to develop a theoretical foundation
for comprehending how value discrepancy (I.e., differences between
individual and organization) creates conflict in organizational settings
such as a school.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to move this model to a more practical
evaluation instrument that school administrators could utilize to collect
data about individuals and their belief systems.

My premise is that due to the biological findings in neuropsychology in
regard to memory and hormones that conflict greatly influences the
censoring aspects (e.g., r in PCT). In order to improve organizational
health, a greater understanding of an individual's value system is

Joe SLowinski
Research Assistant

[from Mary Powers 980224]

Dennis Dunlap
982022 Re: an anti-valentine, safe paradigms
"Please help me with this 'rubric of behaviorism'

I'd be glad to, but I don't really understand what you are asking.
Not part of my anti-valentine.

                * *

Thanks, CSGers, for many interesting comments on the anti-valentine. I may
comment back eventually, but it seems less likely each day. I think writing
this stuff is HARD!


Mary p.

[Glenn Manry 990225.1050]


My name is Glenn Manry and I am posting for the first time. My area of
interests are in social psychology primarily from a sociological
perspective.I am a Ph.D. student at Washington State University. I am
working with identity theory which is a structural form of symbolic
interactionism that employs a percpetion control model to explain how
individuals interact on the basis of self-relevant meaning (identities).

In response to Rick Markins:
[From Rick Marken (990224.1030)]

Is there anyone out there reading this list who actually wants to
study (rather than just talk about) perceptual control?

I am working on my dissertation proposal, and I am using the PCT model as
integrated into identity theory. I am examining the degree to which
individuals must role-take in order to maximize their own chances of
controlling their perceptions.

Role-taking in this sense is taken from the George H. Mead's work in the
sense that we perceive that we know anothers line of action. I am
proposing that individuals given this perception of the other's behavior
generate a lower level reference standard based on this line of action and
control on it. Of course the actor has no real idea what identity the
other person is taking in their head, and therefore there is a potential
for error.

This level of control (line of the other's action) is the result of the
output of the level controlling the actor's identity. This idea is based
on Goffman's concept of complicity in interaction. Goffman did not work
with PCT style models, of course, but he recognized that individuals
require complicity from others in order to maintain presentations of self.
If others are not forthcoming in providing signals for controlled
perceptions, then interaction becomes more difficult. To facilitate our
own perception control, we would be served to at least try and help others
with their perception control. Lacking complex communication of
intentions, we attempt to locate others social positions by our own social
position (identities or role-identities mark counter-relational social
positions between or among people).

To do so entails perceiving others' actions, not only in relation to our
own reference standards, but also to our impressions of the standards
others may have. Of course, we do not "perceive standards," because this is
just PCT language. We might "no where someone is coming from."

At this point I am focussing on a purely cognitive aspect of role-taking.
Affective aspects involve issues of sympathy and empathy, and involve more
than simply recognizing a line of action.

I am basing this also on the work of William B. Swann (as well as Peter J.
Burke, Sheldon Stryker, William Powers, Erving Goffman, and possibly some
exchange theory concepts)who formulated self-verification theory. This
looks at strategies which individuals use to increase the chance of
self-verification (a process similar to PCT). In his work he speaks of
"structuring opportunities." One strategy is the giving of "interpersonal
prompts" that clue others into one's particular social location and the
identity one is enacting. The flip side of this is role-taking,
individuals have to be able to interpret the other's line of action
(prompt) in order to give the appropriate feedback. Doing so increases the
actor's chances of perception control.

I am formulating an experimental methodology using small groups to examine
the importance of role-taking and interpersonal prompts on the smooth
control of perception. I will also be testing some hypotheses about length
of interaction, breaking off of interaction, and intensifying interaction
in relation to these two strategies.

Currently, I am working out the details of my methodology and starting to
write the theory chapter in my proposal.

A more practical area where I see these processes in action lies in
diffusion of hostile situations, as in self-defense, hostage negotiation,
etc. However, on an everyday basis, it is what allows fluid interaction to
take place.

Glenn R. Manry

[From Rick Marken (990225.1150)]

Glenn Manry (990225.1050) --

My name is Glenn Manry and I am posting for the first time.


I am working on my dissertation proposal, and I am using the
PCT model as integrated into identity theory.

Could you describe the data you are you trying to explain with
this model? That's what I'm really interested in: the perceptual
control _phenomena_ people are studying.




Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail:

[From Bruce Gregory (990225.1530 EST)]

Rick Marken (990225.1150)

Could you describe the data you are you trying to explain with
this model? That's what I'm really interested in: the perceptual
control _phenomena_ people are studying.

I'm a little puzzled by this request. It's difficult to think of _any_
phenomenon involving human actions that is _not_ a result of control. The
minute by minute excursions of the Dow Jones Industrial averages, or of the
price of the dollar in Yen, or of the speed of cars on the George Washington
Bridge, or... There is surely no shortage of data. Now a shortage of
modeling effort I do understand.

Bruce Gregory

from John Appel


glenn@MAIL.WSU.EDU wrote:

[Glenn Manry 990225.1050]


My name is Glenn Manry and I am posting for the first time. My area of
interests are in social psychology primarily from a sociological
perspective.I am a Ph.D. student at Washington State University. I am
working with identity theory which is a structural form of symbolic
interactionism that employs a percpetion control model to explain how
individuals interact on the basis of self-relevant meaning (identities).

In response to Rick Markins:
[From Rick Marken (990224.1030)]

>Is there anyone out there reading this list who actually wants to
>study (rather than just talk about) perceptual control?

I am working on my dissertation proposal, and I am using the PCT model as
integrated into identity theory. I am examining the degree to which
individuals must role-take in order to maximize their own chances of

I am very interested in identity. I had not known there was an Identify Theory
in psychology, or in social science. I'm delighted to learn of its existence.
I'm not familiar with writings you refer to., Goffman et al. My own Behavioral
Control Theory is really about identity, though it does not include PCT.


John Appel

jappel216.vcf (62 Bytes)

<[Bill Leach 940228.21:40 EST(EDT)]


Another "off the wall" idea occurred to me and I wonder if anyone else
has thought the same thing... and in particular if anyone has looked
critically a this:

It occurs to me that, probably without knowing it, Dale Carnegy
"recognized PCT" in his "How to win friends and influence people".

Again, this is certainly not a conclusion based on any sort of rigorous
analysis and indeed only occurred to me because a friend was discussing
something that Dale has written. When I looked it up for reference I was
amazed at how congruent with PCT one of his statements seemed to be.


[From Bruce Nevin (2007.03.13 11:38 EDT)]

Biologically inherited system using laughter to control _________.

Related topics: tickle; play.


Where can i find a list of all the journal papers william powers has published?

[Glenn Manry 990306. 1507]


I introduced myself about a week and a half ago, left my message, and then
promptly had my email explode (Switching ISP).

I wanted to respond to the section below concerning mental health and

I'll have to ponder this suggestion: Psychosis--insanity-- is equivalent
losing control of temperature. This suggestion does resonate a little. >But
still this leaves unexplained the nature of the variable. Could it be
sanity? Someone in csg, I forget who, suggested homeostasis. >Control of
homeostasis is well known in medicine, of course. But here the idea >of
mental homeostasis might apply. Maybe sanity is the variable. Or >autonomy,
which enables a person to choose whether to submit to, or oppose >control


some one else.

My approach is derived from the work of Peter J. Burke's identity theory
involving PCT (see Psychosocial Stress: Perspectives on Structure, Theory,
Life Course, and Methods, Howard Kaplan, ed. 1996).

Individuals control on many hierarchical levels, one of the ones of which
individuals can consciously control, according to identity theory, is the
level at which individuals control on self-relevant meaning structures known
as identities. Identities involve a role component making them
role-identities (having socially expected behavior attached). This
definition comes from the structural symbolic interactionism of Sheldon

Actors derive social location via the expectations they have for themselves
relative to the expectations they have for others (perceived roles of
others). Actors desire perceptions that match their identity standard
(reference standard). One identity that has been used often in this line of
research is gender identity or the degree to which a person identifies
him/herself as masculine or feminine. If I am relatively masculine, and in
interaction you act towards me in a way that suggests that I am more
masculine than my standard or less masculine than my standard, then I will
enact behaviors to correct this disturbance restoring my perceptions back to
the reference levels.

The other individual is of course trying to do this too. So, it is
happening simultaneously, and that brings up all sorts of interesting

However, in terms of mental health, Burke has discussed the links between
this process and affective processes involving depression, anxiety, etc.
Some more recent research and some ongoing research are now fleshing out
these relationships as they might pertain to self-attitudes such as
self-esteem and self-efficacy.

One interesting thing that is derived relates to Seligman's Learned
Helplessness. As an individual encounters less and less success at control,
his or her self-efficacy may be affected. If reorganization cannot occur or
unless behavior cannot institute control, then reorganization occurs in
which the original reference will change to match the constant unerring
input, thus eliminating error but also to some degree redefining control to
one of purely internal meaning. Thus the rat stops trying to move and the
reference signal for discomfort comes to match the input of discomfort
(electrical shock in the whole cage floor when it had been only on one half
of the floor previously). The rat stops trying to find a shock free place.
Control is achieved by not enacting external behaviors because the
environment on that level of perception is now a constant. Control is
achieved (error is eliminated), but objective human assessments of that
control label it as "bad." And it is, because it eliminates external
behavior important to other levels of control. However, in terms of
reducing large constant error, it achieves its goal.

The work of William B. Swann investigates a similar process of identity
control and suggests strategies by which we control on our identities. His
work also demonstrates that individuals with negative self-concepts
(socially defined) will still control on them at the expense of self-esteem.
This is an example of a "cognitive-affective crossfire." In this sense,
control brings them emotional suffering (having negatively sanctioned
identity), because the cognitive need to control is so essential. He stops
short by giving cognitive processes complete primacy over affective ones.

I thought these references might be helpful in suggesting some routes of
investigation for BCT as a therapy.

Glenn R. Manry

from Rick Marken [990308.0800]

Could you describe the data produced by this research? How
does this data allow you to flesh out whatever it is you're
fleshing out?



I would be glad to explain some of the methods that have come out of this
line of research. To list the data would require to many lines, perhaps it
is the methodology that you are most interested in? I'm not totally sure
(sarcasm), but I think there is a difference between the two (couldn't
resist given the tones of some posts lately). :slight_smile:

Much of the work recent that has been done with PCT and identity theory
comes out of the Marital Roles Data Set. First time married couples were
asked to participate through self-report questionnaires, and daily
diaries(Tallman,Burke, Gecas 1995 NIMH grant MH46928, in-depth interviews, and
video taping of discussions centered on problems in the marriage (fun stuff
to watch I have been told). This was done over three years.

Certain items were designed to tap into identity verification processes
(PCT process). For example, husbands and wives were asked to rate what
they thought they "should" be doing in their spousal role. These items
were based on various spousal role-behaviors. These "should" statements
indicate a reference level concerning their role-identity as spouse (either
husband or wife). An example of such an item follows

"Who should be responsible for cleaning the house?" 1. Entirely self
2. Mainly self 3. About equally spouse and self 4. Mainly spouse 5.
Entirely spouse 6. Other (qualitative) D. Don't know R. Refusal

In the interaction of the marriage we should expect maximum verification to
occur when one spouse states he or she should do all of the task in
comparison to the other spouse's assessment that they should do none
(responses recoded 4-0 from 1-5). In this case the difference between the
two will give an indication of the extent to which both are receiving
verifying perceptions concerning their role in the marriage. This gives
verification scores ranging from a minimum of 0 (maximum error) to 4
(maximum verification and minimum error). In this particular method,
external behaviors in relation to such role-identities are assumed. In
accordance with PCT it is the standards and perceptions that are important.
If spouse A feels they should do all of x and B is doing some of x, then A
will experience a lack of verification of their spousal role, they are not
doing enough of x. Or B is doing too much X and this is disturbing to A.
Either way, verification is not achieved, not that the qualitative
component is unimportant.

This verification variable can then be compared to other variables to test
other conceptual models such as mastery (a feeling of capability and
accomplishment), trust, commitment, etc.

I suggest you go to Peter Burke's web page and read the posted draft of
Burke and Stets (1997)"Trust and Commitment through Self-Verification." It
is in PDF format so you will need the Acrobat Reader. The electronic form
of the paper can be found at
use the drop down link menu.

In my own work I have tried to examine the degree to which mastery actually
corresponds to an error term generated from this data. It should be an
inverse relationship. As people control perceptions successfully, they
should then begin to feel a higher level of general accomplishment. As
error goes down, then self-efficacy goes up. However, this may only be
true for those role-identities that are very important and/or salient to
them. And then we must distinguish between role-specific self-efficacy and
more global senses of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I have not met with
success, as the error term becomes a difference of differences and with
this level of measurement, it has not worked out well. I have not given up
however. Perhaps I will discuss this in a later post, I want to try and
bring this paper back onto the front burner, so to speak.

On another note,

[ Marc Abrams (990308.2134) ]

PCT is not a metaphor.

If theory is not a representation of something by using something else,
then please tell me what it is. Are you saying that you actually are aware
of your error "values?" At what point do you convert error into a
particular output? What units of value are you calculating? PCT is a
*representational* model of control. People do it without knowing what it
is they are doing, and to explain it to them requires theory which is
representational. To term a theory a metaphor may be taking some liberty
scientifically speaking, but the sentiment is still valid. The term
analogy would have been better, perhaps.

As you can see, anyone can be a critic, ask any eight year old. :slight_smile:

Glenn R. Manry

[from Joel Judd 930302 2:30CST (Caribbean Standard Time)]

I've been trying to figure out a good way to reenter the net--it
seems stupid but I feel like I'm trying to contact a relative I
haven't spoken to in months but whom I'd like to start talking to
again. And we're talking about COMPUTERS here. So for the benefit of
those who've signed on in the last eight months I'll just introduce
myself briefly.

Last spring I finished five years of doctoral work at the U. of
Illinois under the tutelage of Gary Cziko. My interests are in language
and particularly second language learning and teaching, though I find
most anything related to learning and behavior interesting. I am
currently doing time on the island of Puerto Rico at the San German
campus of the Interamerican University, one of the two large universities
on the island (the other being the University of Puerto Rico). This
campus just got hooked up to Internet last month, but unfortunately
I must relearn to send and receive e-mail since everything here so far
is IBM-based and I don't have the second-hand mail system I did in
Illinois. Now I know how people like Rick have felt when doing this
at home on their own. I used to laugh at the funny looking postings--
I don't anymore.

I am presently trying to work out a design to study one of the basic
English courses here. These courses, which use translated English
texts as the basis for the course (with accompanying vocabulary and
comprehension question tests) assume that the students have some
kind of literacy skills in Spanish which they may employ in the
"learning" of English. Unfortunately, it is the sad experience of
the professors that these "skills" whatever they may be, are lacking.
I would like to show this, "scientifically," to the department to
provide a reason to modify the basic English curriculum. Unfortunately,
literacy is not an area I have dealt with, but which we will need to
somehow define and measure as part of the evaluation process of these
courses. So if anyone has some ideas about language literacy, please
feel free to pass them on.

Well, time to go to work. Nos vemos.