Using PCT

[From Rick Marken (980702.1020)]

Me:

I think Tom Bourbon's "simple" models of interacting control
systems represent a far better approach to understanding
cooperation and conflict than Axelrod's more sophisticated-
appearing "strategy based" approach.

Bruce Gregory (980701.2140 EDT)--

It might take quite a while to explore the space of possible forms
of cooperation using two person interactions. Is anyone attempting
this?

I think this is precisely what we _don't_ need. What we need are
tests of the control model in all kinds of different situations.
If the control model survives all these tests then we have
increased confidence that it an accurate model of human nature.
This is what Tom's series of experiments on social interation did;
they tested the predictions of a simple PCT model of individuals
interacting in various situations. Interacting control models
behaved _exactly_ like the subjects in all situations. I'm quite
sure that a control model -- controlling the appropriate
perceptions -- would behave _exactly_ the same as humans interacting
in a Prisoner's Dilemma type situation (as I recall, some of Tom's
experiments could be considered continuous variable analogues of
Prisoner's Dilemma games). Does Axelrod have a model? Does it
predict the results of Tom's experiments?

The more the control model is tested the better. But so far it
has held up extremely well to empirical test; it is the only
model I know of that has demonstrated such extraordinary robust-
ness in the face of changing circumstances like those developed
by Tom and his students (and Bill and I in the case of individual
behavior). That's why I feel confident using the PCT model to
analyze phenomena like coercion with respect to which the model
has not yet been subjected to quantitative test. The model has
worked so well as an explanation of similar social situations that
I would be very surprised if it failed as an explanation of
coercive interactions. Of course, it would be nice to test this;
but we haven't done the tests yet and, as you note, we really
can't test _everything_. I think that's why we have models; we
can't test everything so we rely on the model until we have good
reason to abandon it.

I think that, as long as a model continues to pass experimental
tests (and doesn't fail any) we can consider the model to be
"ground truth" (just as Newton's model was considered "ground
truth" until the early 1900s -- and is still considered such a
good representation of ground truth that it's used in my business
all the time to keep our satellites on orbit). That's why I
think it's reasonable to use PCT to analyze real world situations
(like the behavior of the participants in the RTP program) to
see what's going on. As isaac continues to point out, we have
not tested the PCT model of coercion against experimental. But
I still think it is legitimate and useful to use the PCT model
to analyze situations which have not yet been subject to test
because we have good reason to believe that the model gives a
good account of what is really going on. And if we can't use
the model to analyze situations that have not yet been tested,
then why have the model at all? If we have to have empirical
evidence to confirm every prediction of the model before using
the model to predict, then why not just scrap the model and just
use empirical generalization?

I think the PCT model is useful _becuase_ we haven't (and never
will) tested every possible relationship between variables to see
if only those predicted by the model occur. So as long as there are
relationships between variables that have not been tested (like
the relationship between variables when a strong control system
controls the behavior of a weak one) I will guess at what those
relationships are based on the behavior of a model that has
not failed to predict any relevant relationships yet. This, I
think, is the usefulness of the PCT model.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bruce Gregory (980702.1615 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980702.1020)

Me:

> I think Tom Bourbon's "simple" models of interacting control
> systems represent a far better approach to understanding
> cooperation and conflict than Axelrod's more sophisticated-
> appearing "strategy based" approach.

Bruce Gregory (980701.2140 EDT)--

> It might take quite a while to explore the space of possible forms
> of cooperation using two person interactions. Is anyone attempting
> this?

I think this is precisely what we _don't_ need. What we need are
tests of the control model in all kinds of different situations.

I hear you. Do we have any example of a PCT model that can be applied to
cooperation? As far as I can tell, cooperation can only be a miracle that
occurs because two hierarchical control systems happen to have goals that
mesh. This can only happen because the goals in the model are "put in by
hand" as the physics modelers say. Am I mistaken? Can you point me to
examples of PCT models of cooperation? Thanks.

If the control model survives all these tests then we have
increased confidence that it an accurate model of human nature.
This is what Tom's series of experiments on social interaction did;
they tested the predictions of a simple PCT model of individuals
interacting in various situations. Interacting control models
behaved _exactly_ like the subjects in all situations. I'm quite
sure that a control model -- controlling the appropriate
perceptions -- would behave _exactly_ the same as humans interacting
in a Prisoner's Dilemma type situation (as I recall, some of Tom's
experiments could be considered continuous variable analogues of
Prisoner's Dilemma games). Does Axelrod have a model? Does it
predict the results of Tom's experiments?

Axelrod is exploring successful strategies. Presumably these strategies are
of some use to living control systems. But maybe not. As far as I can tell
conflict and coercion is more up their alley.

The more the control model is tested the better. But so far it
has held up extremely well to empirical test; it is the only
model I know of that has demonstrated such extraordinary robust-
ness in the face of changing circumstances like those developed
by Tom and his students (and Bill and I in the case of individual
behavior). That's why I feel confident using the PCT model to
analyze phenomena like coercion with respect to which the model
has not yet been subjected to quantitative test. The model has
worked so well as an explanation of similar social situations that
I would be very surprised if it failed as an explanation of
coercive interactions. Of course, it would be nice to test this;
but we haven't done the tests yet and, as you note, we really
can't test _everything_. I think that's why we have models; we
can't test everything so we rely on the model until we have good
reason to abandon it.

No one is suggesting otherwise. Some of us do question whether what you are
modeling is what goes on in an RTP classroom, however.

I think that, as long as a model continues to pass experimental
tests (and doesn't fail any) we can consider the model to be
"ground truth" (just as Newton's model was considered "ground
truth" until the early 1900s -- and is still considered such a
good representation of ground truth that it's used in my business
all the time to keep our satellites on orbit).

Gravity has to be given some credit. but I take your point. I'm a great fan
of Newton's.

That's why I
think it's reasonable to use PCT to analyze real world situations
(like the behavior of the participants in the RTP program) to
see what's going on. As Isaac continues to point out, we have
not tested the PCT model of coercion against experimental. But
I still think it is legitimate and useful to use the PCT model
to analyze situations which have not yet been subject to test
because we have good reason to believe that the model gives a
good account of what is really going on. And if we can't use
the model to analyze situations that have not yet been tested,
then why have the model at all? If we have to have empirical
evidence to confirm every prediction of the model before using
the model to predict, then why not just scrap the model and just
use empirical generalization?

There is an art to modeling the real world. As Einstein is reputed to have
said (I can't find the reference) "Things should be made as simple as
possible, but no simpler." Some of us apparently believe that your model of
RTP is simpler than possible.

I think the PCT model is useful _because_ we haven't (and never
will) tested every possible relationship between variables to see
if only those predicted by the model occur. So as long as there are
relationships between variables that have not been tested (like
the relationship between variables when a strong control system
controls the behavior of a weak one) I will guess at what those
relationships are based on the behavior of a model that has
not failed to predict any relevant relationships yet. This, I
think, is the usefulness of the PCT model.

Hear, hear.

Bruce Gregory

Ed Ford (941103)

To All:

        One of the great joys of knowing and understanding PCT is in working
with others. I've been doing volunteer work in an elementary school in a
pre-school developmentally delayed class, where children are classified
under special education and given much needed help to prepare them for
regular school. Many will need help for a number of years. Some are Downs
Syndrome children, some alcohol fetus syndrome, some have other types of
problems about which I know very little.

        As I've mentioned before on the net, the teachers working in this
class setting have asked me to work with them, as they saw the potential for
what I was teaching in the regular schools helping their youngsters. The
fascinating thing is how HPCT is so well aligned with what they are trying
to do. They work at category level initially and primarily, trying to teach
children to connect objects in the classroom or experiences through which
they are put to the appropriate words. When I asked one of the professional
teachers (there are several aids) what came next, she mentioned sequencing.

Now I wonder where I've heard that before? Who says HPCT is relevent today?

        What has really gotten them excited is the program and principles
level, which I call making choices and setting standards. For these
children to function in any kind of social setting, they are going to have
to learn how to deal responsibly with their environment at these levels.
And they really can! The teachers are also excited by the progress of their
children and their increased ability to deal responsibly with their peers
and teachers.

        In my opinion, the most efficient way to access these little living
control systems is through asking questions. Even when the teachers try to
connect experiences or objects with words when working with the children,
I've suggested they then check to see if their system made the connection or
was it controlling for something else at the time instruction was given by
asking them to identify objects or experiences that were just taught.

        The teachers are now asking rather than telling the children. It
has become such a powerful tool for the teachers in helping the children
grasp and deal with their peers in a responsible way. And again, the
exciting thing is that this process has made HPCT so real and useful. For
example, children who are breaking even the simplest rules are asked "What
are you doing? followed by "Is that allowed?" or "Is that OK?"rwise, they
must deal with the connection between program and principles levels (choices
and standards) and establish harmony between these levels.

        Or, when a child is upset or angry (and the same with adults), the
best approach is to deal with the overall goal (systems concepts). When
asking what a person wants and you listen, that confirms in the child's mind
that you are connected to them and are interested in their world. In
telling children or trying to manipulate them or just tell them what they
should be doing, you are then most likely to be perceived as acting as a
disturbance to their current reference level or one that is already
established within their system. Obviously, that is why the S-R approach
doesn't work. The teachers knew it didn't work, they just didn't know what
else to do. Now they do.

        I've been doing a lot of thinking on how these concept levels in
HPCT interrelate with one another. At what level should one try to access
a person? What evident struggles with which the person is dealing call for
what level of access, or which is the most efficient level with which to
open up the questioning to help the person thinking through in a responsible
way how to handle as efficiently as possible the problems they are having?
I've done a lot of thinking and experimenting with these ideas, primarily in
the schools where I'm working and in the corrections field, both at the
women's unit at the state prison and in groups with those on probation.
It's interesting how so many grasp PCT as perceived as a living control
system and where their limitations are when dealing either with themselves
or others. For example, not being able to change or control another. The
need to cooperate with other systems as the only viable alternative. Gosh,
there is so much to think about and deal with. How relieved people become
once they understand the concept of how a LCS works and how much more easily
one deals with life.

        I've said enough.......Ed

Ed Ford, 10209 N. 56th St., Scottsdale, Arizona Ph.602 991-4860