VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016.10.31]

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your relentless criticality, I really appreciate such.

As a newcomer I have problems to follow and find the most essential points – even though I am in a process of re-reading B:CP (in the middle of doing much else). You wrote:

“Rick is definitelly promoting RCT, where »behavior is control«, there is some »controllled variable« in environment and there is some kind of »Controlled perceptual variable« in afferent nerv going to afferent neuron (comparator). There is no such things
in PCT.”

I understand that 1) behavior (doings) are not controlled and 2) things in the environment are not controlled, but the third issue is problematic to me. I have understood that it is just the perception i.e. the variable called p i.e. the neural signal created
in receptor(s) and transmitted to comparator, which IS controlled. Have got it wrong?

The whole concept of “control” is difficult me because of the different theoretical background and also the language: If I try to tell shortly to some of my fellow citizens about my newly found theoretical inspiration, I have the first trouble how to translate
the name of PCT in Finnish! I believe many other outsiders have similar problems. And for you insiders the question may seem so self-evident that it is hard to explain / narrate understandably? Sometimes I feel like I had understood the whole idea perfectly
and then again I am totally confused.

So how would you define shortly for a newcomer what does the “control” mean? What is it what is controlled and how? Does controlling take place in a certain place or stage of the closed loop? Or is control rather a function of the whole loop?

(And apologies beforehand if I will make follow-up questions.)

···

Eetu Pikkarainen

Hi Vyv, thank you for this hint. I see that this last book of Powers is really something to read and I will order it.

···

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Huddy, Vyv v.huddy@ucl.ac.uk
Lähetetty: 2. marraskuuta 2016 15:08
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Vyv Huddy 1247.02.11.2016]

Hi Eetu,

Just sharing an experience of learning about PCT. Carefully reading B:CP has helped but, looking back, I would have learned about PCT more quickly if I’d started
with the book Living Control Systems III. If you are not already aware this book comes with a selection of demonstrations that run on a PC. The parameters of the demonstrations can be adjusted and the effect of these adjustments can be observed and experienced.
This is important because the experience of seeing control happening, and recognising it as such, is key to opening the window on understanding it. For me at least!

All the best,

Vyv

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi]
Sent: 31 October 2016 09:41
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016.10.31]

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your relentless criticality, I really appreciate such.

As a newcomer I have problems to follow and find the most essential points – even though I am in a process of re-reading B:CP (in the middle of doing much else). You wrote:

“Rick is definitelly promoting RCT, where »behavior is control«, there is some »controllled variable« in environment and there is some kind of »Controlled perceptual variable« in afferent nerv
going to afferent neuron (comparator). There is no such things in PCT.”

I understand that 1) behavior (doings) are not controlled and 2) things in the environment are not controlled, but the third issue is problematic to me. I have understood that it is just the perception
i.e. the variable called p i.e. the neural signal created in receptor(s) and transmitted to comparator, which IS controlled. Have got it wrong?

The whole concept of “control” is difficult me because of the different theoretical background and also the language: If I try to tell shortly to some of my fellow citizens about my newly found
theoretical inspiration, I have the first trouble how to translate the name of PCT in Finnish! I believe many other outsiders have similar problems. And for you insiders the question may seem so self-evident that it is hard to explain / narrate understandably?
Sometimes I feel like I had understood the whole idea perfectly and then again I am totally confused.

So how would you define shortly for a newcomer what does the “control” mean? What is it what is controlled and how? Does controlling take place in a certain place or stage of the closed loop? Or
is control rather a function of the whole loop?

(And apologies beforehand if I will make follow-up questions.)

Eetu Pikkarainen

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016-11-04]

Dear Boris

Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful reply!

Now I think I see it quite clearly that the focal point of control is the comparator. It is in a way the deepest core of the subject organism.

I think that the problem of “input quantity” (q.i) is connected to the problem of the borderline between the subject and environment. Once we had a professor of psychology who was quite desperately aspiring a scientific breakthrough or even revolution with
his theory that there is no borderline at all. And in deed the borderline is problematic. When you wrote that “We control our perception not limbs.” I got an amusing thought that our limbs are in our environment. The border between me and my environment is
not the skin but it is somewhere near my nerves - and my bones are already outside in the environment.

Controlling takes place inside the organism and the functions form the multilayered and permeable borderline between the organism and its environment. Thus we could think that there is something x in our environment (which may be somehow important to the
organism like food, or danger) and it causes a causal effect to a receptor of the organism. Now that effect IN the receptor is the input quantity (q.i). (The quantity of q.i does not depend on the quantity of the x, but rather on the strength of the physical
interaction between x and the receptor.) In the receptor the input function produces the perception signal § which is not same as q.i but a quantitative analog of it.

BTW It seems that there is a problem (for me) in that LCSIII diagram which you copied (I have not yet got the book) and which you describe as “But »input quantity« in general sense represent effects of disturbances or effects of behavior or both.” I think
there must be something else too. If I sleep and perceive the comfort room temperature (say +20C) I wouldn’t say that this input quantity consists only of effects of disturbances and/or effects of behavior. If the temperature went higher or lower, then I would
call it disturbance and it would perhaps require some behavior form my side. Probably this is only a question of vocabulary, but I would differentiate those effects of environment which do (via mediation of p) cause an error signal from those which do not,
and call only the first case disturbance. If there is a disturbance then the output effect will cancel it by altering the input quantity but that does not mean that this output effect would remove the input quantity altogether, does it?

Best regards

image00280.png

ATT00002.jpg

ATT00003.jpg

ATT00004.jpg

···

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net
Lähetetty: 4. marraskuuta 2016 8:05
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Dear Eetu.

I answered in your text bellow….

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi]
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2016 8:27 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Hi Vyv, thank you for this hint. I see that this last book of Powers is really something to read and I will order it.

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Huddy, Vyv v.huddy@ucl.ac.uk
Lähetetty: 2. marraskuuta 2016 15:08
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Vyv Huddy 1247.02.11.2016]

Hi Eetu,

Just sharing an experience of learning about PCT. Carefully reading B:CP has helped but, looking back, I would have learned about PCT more quickly if I’d
started with the book Living Control Systems III. If you are not already aware this book comes with a selection of demonstrations that run on a PC. The parameters of the demonstrations can be adjusted and the effect of these adjustments can be observed and
experienced. This is important because the experience of seeing control happening, and recognising it as such, is key to opening the window on understanding it. For me at least!

All the best,

Vyv

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi]
Sent: 31 October 2016 09:41
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016.10.31]

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your relentless criticality, I really appreciate such.

As a newcomer I have problems to follow and find the most essential points – even though I am in a process of re-reading B:CP (in the middle of doing much else). You wrote:

“Rick is definitelly promoting RCT, where »behavior is control«, there is some »controllled variable« in environment and there is some kind of »Controlled perceptual variable« in afferent nerv
going to afferent neuron (comparator). There is no such things in PCT.”

HB : Ricks’ terminology show that »control« is something that is happening in environment. So he is putting all the time »controlled variable« into organisms environment in PCT diagram what
is not the case with Bill. Rick tried many times to make it »official« and I don’t understand how he didn’t succed, because he has Powers lady in his »pocket«. Whatever. PCT is still as it was although Rick is desperately trying to change it with his »Behavior
is control« and »controlled variable« etc.

Bill is not putting »controlled variable« in the environment in the sense that »control« is happening in organisms environment. At least in diagram LCS III. Bills’ defitnion of »control« is
clear (mostly from B:CP) :

Bill also mentioned many times that PCT is about how organisms control.

EP : I understand that 1) behavior (doings) are not controlled and 2) things in the environment are not controlled, but the
third issue is problematic to me. I have understood that it is just the perception i.e. the variable called p i.e. the neural signal created in receptor(s) and transmitted to comparator, which IS controlled. Have got it wrong?

HB : You understand right, that behavior (output) is not control or process of control, so that something or anything in the environment is controlled. Bill is mostlly (99%)
using word »affect«, what I think actually happens in the environment of organism. So yes things in environment if they exist are not controlled but affected. And yes to 3). Only Perceptual signal will be directly »controlled« and that’s why it’s called »controlled
variable«.

So we see that in this Bill’s definition there is no control and if you will read Glossary in B:CP nowhere in other definitions Bill mentioned anything about »behavior is control« except in
term »controlled quantitty« which I answered in conversation between Rick and Martin.

Things in environment are not controlled, because behavior is not control, and there is no »controlled variable« in environment in GENERAL sense that SOMETHING will be controlled by behavior.
Important is that we stick to GENERAL SENSE of PCT so how organisms generaly control. And that is the diagram in LCS III showing clearly.

There is not always (continuously) present something in environment that behavior could control (reduce discrepancy). Generally speaking output (behavior) is used for affecting input and also
for canceling the effects of disturbances.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an
effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : Mostly behavior if you will observe yourself don’t have anything special in environment that is »manipulated« by behavior, as behavior is not process of control in general sense. We don’t
dig a cup of coffee with our hands or eat with moving (controlling the movement) of our hands or that we move legs while we are walking and so on. That is self-regulation theory. And Rick is supporting it all the time. He is afterall psychologist like for
example Carver and Scheier (the authors of selfregulation theory based on PCT). When I was mediating between Bill and Carver, Bill told me that they were his students what their book from 1981 prove.

But I think that »controlled quantitty« which could be present in »environment of organism« will sooner or later become part of perceptual signal, which is controlled variable (will be matched
with reference in comparator). And this is the only place where by my oppinion control is happening. Comparator is not a function in the sense all other boxes in diagram are. So it’s the only place where control can happen (nervous system).

Comparator present one neuron or the whole nervous system. I think that all controlling is done in nervous system. I don’t see any place in control loop that
control can be done. Specially not in environment of control system. And perceptual signal is the »controlled variable« which enters comprator. I think it’s obvious.

The result of control is »error signal«.

Here it seems that Bill was equating »Controlled quantitty« with »perceptual signal«. It could be equated with »input quantitty« although from diagram in LCS III is not clear that »controlled
quantitty« exist in any general sense. But »input quantity« in general sense represent effects of disturbances or effects of behavior or both. Bill wanted to create a theory that would generally answer the question how organisms generally control.

In the environment (LCS III diagram) there are present effects of disturbances and effects of behavior (output) added. For disturbances we can assume that they are always present (hit, radiation
of all kinds, sun, etc.), but effects of behavior (ouptut) are present more or less discreetly.

For example in sleeping, what Rick correctly described as »tough one«, existance of »input quantity« in environment, doesn’t have any effects of behavior (output) that would by definition of
control also cancel the effects of disturbances. Disturbance in sleeping for ex. is temperature of the room that is affecting organisms control. In this case »input quantitty« contain just »effects of disturbances« and no counter effetcs of behavior (output)
that could be present in environment. So there is no »controlled quanttity« in outer environment as Rick is trying to present as general principle. But organism is still controlling. The body temperature in accordance with room temperature is controlled (ex.
36,8). So there are »controlled quantities« in organism and »controlled process« in organism that are always present in if you look at definition of control above. So control in organism in general sense is present 24/7 as Bob Hintz denoted this process. I
think he is momentaly one of those who also understand PCT in the sense of my explanation and according to Bills’ definitions.

EP :

The whole concept of “control” is difficult me because of the different theoretical background and also the language: If I try to tell shortly to some of my fellow citizens about my newly found
theoretical inspiration, I have the first trouble how to translate the name of PCT in Finnish! I believe many other outsiders have similar problems. And for you insiders the question may seem so self-evident that it is hard to explain / narrate understandably?
Sometimes I feel like I had understood the whole idea perfectly and then again I am totally confused.

HB :

Beleive me dear Eetu the same thing happened to me. When i was trying to understand PCT I thought that I’ll finish in »mental hospital«. My first »teacher« was Kent (his »papers«
on internet and some meils in 1999). His language is quite clear and understandable, but i thought that the word of author of PCT will reveal to me all »secrets« of PCT. And than troubles began because Bill’s sicentific language in his LCS chain of books is
hard to understand for the begginer. I have to consult with Bill but in the beggining I didn’t understand even his explanations and I was confused as you are now. Then I found Bruce Abbotts’ synopsis. You can get it on this page
http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/pct/pct.html .
I also returned to Kent and his »papers«. And the »light« above my head start slowly to shine. After all these first difficulties which happened in 6 years I take a break and than one day I started the talk with Rick Marken. Well Rick (somewhere in 2007) in
the beggining understood PCT and as I described many times our converstaion started with which »perception do we control« and not which »controlled variable« we are controlling in environment. So I don’t understand where Rick was lost, but he is totaly out
of PCT line. After that I talked a lot also with Martin and wrote on ECACS. I talked also to Kent and some other PCT’ers. I talked also a lot with Bill whom I finaly understood with no problem.

All in all it took me quite long time to understand PCT. Maybe you could try with the same literature and members I did. But I strongly advise that you don’t try with Rick.
He is a confussion maker because his RCT is contrary to PCT and he has »power« because Powers ladies are fully supporting him (see Barbs’ message). They took me half of my health in last years to keep CSGnet close to PCT. But I don’t know how long will I
persist. Rick is coming with new manipulations and seeking through Bills’ literature to find appropriate answer is not easy job. Anybody can try it.

EP : So how would you define shortly for a newcomer what does the “control” mean? What is it what is controlled and how?
Does controlling take place in a certain place or stage of the closed loop? Or is control rather a function of the whole loop?

HB : I hope dear Eetu, I described you shortly what »control«, »control system«, »ouptut«, »feed-back«, and so on mean through Bills’ definitions. I think this is only fair
approach to hear the »sound« of author. It’s refreshing among all other oppinions. Isn’t it Barb ?

I hope that I manage to present you also what »controlled quantity« and »input quantity« could mean. Problem is that Bill did changed his mind sometimes but Rick is a World
Champion. He is changing his oppinion sometimes daily, weekly, monthly…. Also constant in his oppinion is Kent with his concept of »stability«. It’s PCT. Martin was very stable when Bill was with us. As I understood him he was quite often communicating with
Bill. But now I think that he is too much communicating with Rick and he started to »fluctuate« like him. And he was so stable and perfect in PCT understanding. Rick can cause a lot of troubles in understanding of PCT because he is just relaying on his experiences
which can be misleading as he can observe his behavior as control of limbs. It’s common psychological approach. It’s common sense reasoning. But Bill showed it’s wrong. We control our perception not limbs. Rikcs’ »cancer point« are his demos and tests, because
he thinks that he will understand PCT through them. But as Bill said, the final arbiter is nature. So we should learn there. Experimenting in nature. And I noticed that Rick could be going that way if I may conclude from his latest experiment with Warren.
I hope he will continue his nature experimental work as this is the way to understand PCT.

EP : (And apologies beforehand if I will make follow-up questions.)

HB : As I mentioned mayn times I’m in troubled life position and I don’t have always time. But I’ll answer sooner or later
J

Best,

Boris

Eetu Pikkarainen

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04.12.52]

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016-11-04]

Dear Boris

Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful reply!

    Now I think I see it quite clearly that the focal point of

control is the comparator. It is in a way the deepest core of
the subject organism.

I would say rather that the focal point of control is the entire

loop, no one part of the loop. Control is what in English we call an
“emergent property” of the loop. The comparator is indeed a key
point in a loop, but only because the reference value (toward which
the controller moves the perceptual value) could be variable. If the
reference value is fixed, as is the case at the top level of the
hierarchy, no comparator is required but the loop still controls the
perceptual value. With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual
function output to the Output Function input, the loop would still
control the perceptual value if the Output Function did the
necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative.

![P.3SimpleLoop_WhatWhyHow1.jpg|972x818](upload://oHAaZI3OcRWzJXoGmXmTo2N8kNh.jpeg)
    I think that the problem of "input quantity" (q.i) is connected

to the problem of the borderline between the subject and
environment. Once we had a professor of psychology who was quite
desperately aspiring a scientific breakthrough or even
revolution with his theory that there is no borderline at all.
And in deed the borderline is problematic. When you wrote that
“We control our perception not limbs.” I got an amusing thought
that our limbs are in our environment. The border between me and
my environment is not the skin but it is somewhere near my
nerves - and my bones are already outside in the environment.

In PCT, the word "environment" has many meanings. To be precise, you

have to say what the environment is of. Is it the environment of the
person (observable to other people) or the environment of the single
controller. The environment of the single controller includes all
the control hierarchy below its own level. It sends its output
directly to its environment, and receives input to its perceptual
function directly from its environment – the perceptual signals
produced by lower-level perceptual functions. So your “amusing
thought” is correct from the point of view of a controller of, say,
the relationship between the rim of a cup and your lips when you
want to drink.

Controlling takes place inside the organism

No. Controlling takes place in a loop, and only in a complete loop.

We talk about a controller (Perceptual Input Function, Comparator,
and Output Function) within the organism, but it does not control
anything without its environmental feedback path.

    and the functions form the multilayered and permeable

borderline between the organism and its environment. Thus we
could think that there is something x in our environment (which
may be somehow important to the organism like food, or danger)
and it causes a causal effect to a receptor of the organism. Now
that effect IN the receptor is the input quantity (q.i). (The
quantity of q.i does not depend on the quantity of the x, but
rather on the strength of the physical interaction between x and
the receptor.) In the receptor the input function produces the
perception signal § which is not same as q.i but a
quantitative analog of it.

Correct.
    BTW It seems that there is a problem (for me) in that LCSIII

diagram which you copied (I have not yet got the book) and which
you describe as “But »input quantity« in general sense represent
effects of disturbances or effects of behavior or both.” I think
there must be something else too. If I sleep and perceive the
comfort room temperature (say +20C) I wouldn’t say that this
input quantity consists only of effects of disturbances and/or
effects of behavior.

No. It is a reference input, not a perceptual input. You are saying

that 20C is comfortable, while lower is too cold and higher is too
hot. The perceptual value is the actual temperature, as transformed
by your nervous system. It is influenced by things like your actions
(setting a thermostat, opening or closing a window, moving to get
into or out of a draft, and so forth) and by disturbances from the
environment (passage of a cold front, increasing wind, etc.). There
isn’t any “something else” because all the possible effects are
included in “what I do” (my behaviour) and “what happens that I
don’t cause” (the disturbance).

    If the temperature went higher or lower, then I would call it

disturbance and it would perhaps require some behavior form my
side.

In PCT terms, it would be not a disturbance, since all the effects

not caused by you are caused by something outside, and all combine
to form “the disturbance”. You are talking about a change in the
disturbance, which “would perhaps require some [change in ]
behaviour from my side”.

    Probably this is only a question of vocabulary, but I would

differentiate those effects of environment which do (via
mediation of p) cause an error signal from those which do not,
and call only the first case disturbance.

Then it is a question of vocabulary. The error signal is always

there, whether its value is zero or any other value. Zero error does
not mean no behaviour. All it means is that so long as the
disturbance doesn’t change and the effect of your behaviour on the
input quantity doesn’t change, your perception will remain as

 you want it to be.
    If there is a disturbance then the output effect will cancel it

by altering the input quantity but that does not mean that this
output effect would remove the input quantity altogether, does
it?

No it doesn't. It just brings the input quantity to a value that

creates the perceptual value that matches the reference value.

Martin

image00280.png

ATT00002.jpg

ATT00003.jpg

ATT00004.jpg

···

Eetu
Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä:
Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net
Lähetetty: 4. marraskuuta 2016 8:05
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Dear Eetu.

I answered in your text bellow….

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi ]
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2016 8:27 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

            Hi Vyv, thank you for this hint. I see that

this last book of Powers is really something to read and
I will order it.

                  Eetu

Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä:
Huddy, Vyv v.huddy@ucl.ac.uk
Lähetetty: 2. marraskuuta 2016 15:08
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Vyv Huddy 1247.02.11.2016]

                Hi Eetu,



                  Just sharing an experience of

learning about PCT. Carefully reading B:CP has
helped but, looking back, I would have learned
about PCT more quickly if I’d started with the
book Living Control Systems III. If you are not
already aware this book comes with a selection of
demonstrations that run on a PC. The parameters of
the demonstrations can be adjusted and the effect
of these adjustments can be observed and
experienced. This is important because the
experience of seeing control happening, and
recognising it as such, is key to opening the
window on understanding it. For me at least!

All the best,

Vyv

From: Eetu
Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi ]
Sent: 31 October 2016 09:41
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory
Talk

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016.10.31]

Dear Boris,

                  Thank you for your relentless

criticality, I really appreciate such.

                  As a newcomer I have problems to

follow and find the most essential points – even
though I am in a process of re-reading B:CP (in
the middle of doing much else). You wrote:

                  “Rick is definitelly promoting RCT,

where »behavior is control«, there is some
»controllled variable« in environment and there is
some kind of »Controlled perceptual variable« in
afferent nerv going to afferent neuron
(comparator). There is no such things in PCT.”

                  HB : Ricks' terminology show that

»control« is something that is happening in
environment. So he is putting all the time
»controlled variable« into organisms environment
in PCT diagram what is not the case with Bill.
Rick tried many times to make it »official« and I
don’t understand how he didn’t succed, because he
has Powers lady in his »pocket«. Whatever. PCT is
still as it was although Rick is desperately
trying to change it with his »Behavior is control«
and »controlled variable« etc.

                  Bill is not putting »controlled

variable« in the environment in the sense that
»control« is happening in organisms environment.
At least in diagram LCS III. Bills’ defitnion of
»control« is clear (mostly from B:CP) :

                  Bill also mentioned many times that

PCT is about how organisms control.

EP : I understand that 1) behavior
(doings) are not controlled and 2) things in the
environment are not controlled, but the third
issue is problematic to me. I have understood that
it is just the perception i.e. the variable called
p i.e. the neural signal created in receptor(s)
and transmitted to comparator, which IS
controlled. Have got it wrong?

                  HB : You understand right, that

behavior (output) is not control or process of
control, so that something or anything in the
environment is controlled. Bill is mostlly (99%)
using word »affect«, what I think actually happens
in the environment of organism. So yes things in
environment if they exist are not controlled but
affected. And yes to 3). Only Perceptual signal
will be directly »controlled« and that’s why it’s
called »controlled variable«.

                  So we see that in this Bill's

definition there is no control and if you will
read Glossary in B:CP nowhere in other definitions
Bill mentioned anything about »behavior is
control« except in term »controlled quantitty«
which I answered in conversation between Rick and
Martin.

                  Things in environment are not

controlled, because behavior is not control, and
there is no »controlled variable« in environment
in GENERAL sense that SOMETHING will be controlled
by behavior. Important is that we stick to GENERAL
SENSE of PCT so how organisms generaly control.
And that is the diagram in LCS III showing
clearly.

                  There is not always (continuously)

present something in environment that behavior
could control (reduce discrepancy). Generally
speaking output (behavior) is used for affecting
input and also for canceling the effects of
disturbances.

Bill P (LCS III):

                FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box

represents the set of physical laws, properties,
arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this
system feeds-back to affect its own input, the
controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means :
it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own
input.

                  HB : Mostly behavior if you will

observe yourself don’t have anything special in
environment that is »manipulated« by behavior, as
behavior is not process of control in general
sense. We don’t dig a cup of coffee with our hands
or eat with moving (controlling the movement) of
our hands or that we move legs while we are
walking and so on. That is self-regulation theory.
And Rick is supporting it all the time. He is
afterall psychologist like for example Carver and
Scheier (the authors of selfregulation theory
based on PCT). When I was mediating between Bill
and Carver, Bill told me that they were his
students what their book from 1981 prove.

                  But I think that »controlled

quantitty« which could be present in »environment
of organism« will sooner or later become part of
perceptual signal, which is controlled variable
(will be matched with reference in comparator).
And this is the only place where by my oppinion
control is happening. Comparator is not a function
in the sense all other boxes in diagram are. So
it’s the only place where control can happen
(nervous system).

                  Comparator present one neuron or

the whole nervous system. I think that all
controlling is done in nervous system. I don’t see
any place in control loop that control can be
done. Specially not in environment of control
system. And perceptual signal is the »controlled
variable« which enters comprator. I think it’s
obvious.

                  The result of control is »error

signal«.

                  Here it seems that Bill was

equating »Controlled quantitty« with »perceptual
signal«. It could be equated with »input
quantitty« although from diagram in LCS III is not
clear that »controlled quantitty« exist in any
general sense. But »input quantity« in general
sense represent effects of disturbances or effects
of behavior or both. Bill wanted to create a
theory that would generally answer the question
how organisms generally control.

                  In the environment (LCS III

diagram) there are present effects of disturbances
and effects of behavior (output) added. For
disturbances we can assume that they are always
present (hit, radiation of all kinds, sun, etc.),
but effects of behavior (ouptut) are present more
or less discreetly.

                  For example in sleeping, what Rick

correctly described as »tough one«, existance of
»input quantity« in environment, doesn’t have any
effects of behavior (output) that would by
definition of control also cancel the effects of
disturbances. Disturbance in sleeping for ex. is
temperature of the room that is affecting
organisms control. In this case »input quantitty«
contain just »effects of disturbances« and no
counter effetcs of behavior (output) that could be
present in environment. So there is no »controlled
quanttity« in outer environment as Rick is trying
to present as general principle. But organism is
still controlling. The body temperature in
accordance with room temperature is controlled
(ex. 36,8). So there are »controlled quantities«
in organism and »controlled process« in organism
that are always present in if you look at
definition of control above. So control in
organism in general sense is present 24/7 as Bob
Hintz denoted this process. I think he is
momentaly one of those who also understand PCT in
the sense of my explanation and according to
Bills’ definitions.

EP :

                  The whole concept of “control” is

difficult me because of the different theoretical
background and also the language: If I try to tell
shortly to some of my fellow citizens about my
newly found theoretical inspiration, I have the
first trouble how to translate the name of PCT in
Finnish! I believe many other outsiders have
similar problems. And for you insiders the
question may seem so self-evident that it is hard
to explain / narrate understandably? Sometimes I
feel like I had understood the whole idea
perfectly and then again I am totally confused.

                HB :

                  Beleive me dear Eetu the same thing

happened to me. When i was trying to understand
PCT I thought that I’ll finish in »mental
hospital«. My first »teacher« was Kent (his
»papers« on internet and some meils in 1999). His
language is quite clear and understandable, but i
thought that the word of author of PCT will reveal
to me all »secrets« of PCT. And than troubles
began because Bill’s sicentific language in his
LCS chain of books is hard to understand for the
begginer. I have to consult with Bill but in the
beggining I didn’t understand even his
explanations and I was confused as you are now.
Then I found Bruce Abbotts’ synopsis. You can get
it on this page
http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/pct/pct.html . I also returned to Kent and his
»papers«. And the »light« above my head start
slowly to shine. After all these first
difficulties which happened in 6 years I take a
break and than one day I started the talk with
Rick Marken. Well Rick (somewhere in 2007) in the
beggining understood PCT and as I described many
times our converstaion started with which
»perception do we control« and not which
»controlled variable« we are controlling in
environment. So I don’t understand where Rick was
lost, but he is totaly out of PCT line. After that
I talked a lot also with Martin and wrote on
ECACS. I talked also to Kent and some other
PCT’ers. I talked also a lot with Bill whom I
finaly understood with no problem.

                  All in all it took me quite long

time to understand PCT. Maybe you could try with
the same literature and members I did. But I
strongly advise that you don’t try with Rick. He
is a confussion maker because his RCT is contrary
to PCT and he has »power« because Powers ladies
are fully supporting him (see Barbs’ message).
They took me half of my health in last years to
keep CSGnet close to PCT. But I don’t know how
long will I persist. Rick is coming with new
manipulations and seeking through Bills’
literature to find appropriate answer is not easy
job. Anybody can try it.

EP : So how would you define shortly for a
newcomer what does the “control” mean? What is it
what is controlled and how? Does controlling take
place in a certain place or stage of the closed
loop? Or is control rather a function of the whole
loop?

                  HB : I hope dear Eetu, I described

you shortly what »control«, »control system«,
»ouptut«, »feed-back«, and so on mean through
Bills’ definitions. I think this is only fair
approach to hear the »sound« of author. It’s
refreshing among all other oppinions. Isn’t it
Barb ?

                  I hope that I manage to present you

also what »controlled quantity« and »input
quantity« could mean. Problem is that Bill did
changed his mind sometimes but Rick is a World
Champion. He is changing his oppinion sometimes
daily, weekly, monthly…. Also constant in his
oppinion is Kent with his concept of »stability«.
It’s PCT. Martin was very stable when Bill was
with us. As I understood him he was quite often
communicating with Bill. But now I think that he
is too much communicating with Rick and he started
to »fluctuate« like him. And he was so stable and
perfect in PCT understanding. Rick can cause a lot
of troubles in understanding of PCT because he is
just relaying on his experiences which can be
misleading as he can observe his behavior as
control of limbs. It’s common psychological
approach. It’s common sense reasoning. But Bill
showed it’s wrong. We control our perception not
limbs. Rikcs’ »cancer point« are his demos and
tests, because he thinks that he will understand
PCT through them. But as Bill said, the final
arbiter is nature. So we should learn there.
Experimenting in nature. And I noticed that Rick
could be going that way if I may conclude from his
latest experiment with Warren. I hope he will
continue his nature experimental work as this is
the way to understand PCT.

EP : (And apologies beforehand if I will
make follow-up questions.)

                  HB : As I mentioned mayn times I'm

in troubled life position and I don’t have always
time. But I’ll answer sooner or later
J

Best,

Boris

                        Eetu

Pikkarainen

In the text bellow….

image00251.jpg

image00280.png

ATT00002.jpg

ATT00003.jpg

ATT00004.jpg

···

From: Martin Taylor [mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net]
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2016 6:27 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04.12.52]

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016-11-04]

Dear Boris

Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful reply!

Now I think I see it quite clearly that the focal point of control is the comparator. It is in a way the deepest core of the subject organism.

I would say rather that the focal point of control is the entire loop, no one part of the loop. Control is what in English we call an “emergent property” of the loop. The comparator is indeed a key point in a loop, but only because the reference value (toward which the controller moves the perceptual value) could be variable. If the reference value is fixed, as is the case at the top level of the hierarchy,

HB : Sorry Martin I don’t get this one. How the reference value in the case of the top level in the hierarchy is fixed. Can you show me in diagram p.191 B:CP (2005) how it become fixed ?

MT : ….no comparator is required but the loop still controls the perceptual value.

HB . How can control function without comparator ? Are you saying that there are processes in nervous system that function without neurons ? There could be signals that »go« beside neurons ? Do you have any examples ? How than control loop look like without comparator ? Or there is some misunderstanding…

MT : With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual function output to the Output Function input, the loop would still control the perceptual value if the Output Function did the necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative.

HB : What could be simple »wire« in nervous system ? Can you give me some examples how this works in nervous system ?

I think that the problem of “input quantity” (q.i) is connected to the problem of the borderline between the subject and environment. Once we had a professor of psychology who was quite desperately aspiring a scientific breakthrough or even revolution with his theory that there is no borderline at all. And in deed the borderline is problematic. When you wrote that “We control our perception not limbs.” I got an amusing thought that our limbs are in our environment. The border between me and my environment is not the skin but it is somewhere near my nerves - and my bones are already outside in the environment.

In PCT, the word “environment” has many meanings. To be precise, you have to say what the environment is of. Is it the environment of the person (observable to other people) or the environment of the single controller. The environment of the single controller includes all the control hierarchy below its own level. It sends its output directly to its environment, and receives input to its perceptual function directly from its environment – the perceptual signals produced by lower-level perceptual functions. So your “amusing thought” is correct from the point of view of a controller of, say, the relationship between the rim of a cup and your lips when you want to drink.

Controlling takes place inside the organism

No. Controlling takes place in a loop, and only in a complete loop.

HB : You said before that :

MT : With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual function output to the Output Function input the loop would still control the perceptual value if the Output Function did the necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative…

HB : This is not a complete loop…but you said it before it controls ?

MT : We talk about a controller (Perceptual Input Function, Comparator, and Output Function) within the organism, but it does not control anything without its environmental feedback path.

HB : Which environmental feedback path you have in mind ?

Some primitive organisms doesn’t have outside environmental feed back path but they still survive. Succesfull controlling in organism is the first step to survive, whether external feed-back (in organisms they posses it) is used depends from organisms state of homeostasis which is genetically determined.

When you are sunshining or sleeping you don’t use external feed-back path but still you control succesfully inside…Most control is done inside organism. External feed-back path is just used when internal control subsystems can not control internal environment to genetically set reference conditions. But until you control succesfully inside you will not use outside effectors…

This is something that Bruce Abbott quite good described in his Synopsis :

BA : At the heart of perceptual control theory is the idea that human beings are essentially intricate control mechanisms that function to keep certain intrinsic (or essential, see Ashby, 1952) variables within survivable limits. Intrinsic variables (variables intrinsic to the organism) include basic physiological variables such as blood glucose levels or body temperature, as well certain high-level variables whose maintenance in certain states are crucial to the individual’s well-being; the references of these intrinsic variables are genetically specified. With respect to physiological quantities, the body is known to house numerous control mechanisms that help to maintain them within the narrow limits required for efficient operation and survival. These mechanisms are capable of sensing the current levels of these controlled quantities and automatically initiating physiological changes as necessary to correct deviations of these levels from reference values, a process that the early 20th century physiologist Walter Cannon (1932) termed homeostasis.

BA : Although at any given moment a tremendous number of physiological quantities is being automatically regulated through nonbehavioral (purely physiological) means, the regulatory mechanisms by themselves are not capable of countering all the sources of potential disturbance to the intrinsic variables. To take one example, because humans are not rooted in the soil like plants, we must seek out and consume food and water. Automatic physiological mechanisms do act against disturbances to internal levels of water and nutrition, but these only can take the form of actions to reduce the rate of depletion of these quantities. To replenish them, we must behave. That is, we must move our muscles in a way that ultimately leads to locating, obtaining, and consuming food and water. Behavior, then, is a means by which humans (and other animals) defend their intrinsic variables against disturbance.

Boris

and the functions form the multilayered and permeable borderline between the organism and its environment. Thus we could think that there is something x in our environment (which may be somehow important to the organism like food, or danger) and it causes a causal effect to a receptor of the organism. Now that effect IN the receptor is the input quantity (q.i). (The quantity of q.i does not depend on the quantity of the x, but rather on the strength of the physical interaction between x and the receptor.) In the receptor the input function produces the perception signal § which is not same as q.i but a quantitative analog of it.

Correct.

BTW It seems that there is a problem (for me) in that LCSIII diagram which you copied (I have not yet got the book) and which you describe as “But »input quantity« in general sense represent effects of disturbances or effects of behavior or both.” I think there must be something else too. If I sleep and perceive the comfort room temperature (say +20C) I wouldn’t say that this input quantity consists only of effects of disturbances and/or effects of behavior.

No. It is a reference input, not a perceptual input. You are saying that 20C is comfortable, while lower is too cold and higher is too hot. The perceptual value is the actual temperature, as transformed by your nervous system. It is influenced by things like your actions (setting a thermostat, opening or closing a window, moving to get into or out of a draft, and so forth) and by disturbances from the environment (passage of a cold front, increasing wind, etc.). There isn’t any “something else” because all the possible effects are included in “what I do” (my behaviour) and “what happens that I don’t cause” (the disturbance).

If the temperature went higher or lower, then I would call it disturbance and it would perhaps require some behavior form my side.

In PCT terms, it would be not a disturbance, since all the effects not caused by you are caused by something outside, and all combine to form “the disturbance”. You are talking about a change in the disturbance, which “would perhaps require some [change in] behaviour from my side”.

Probably this is only a question of vocabulary, but I would differentiate those effects of environment which do (via mediation of p) cause an error signal from those which do not, and call only the first case disturbance.

Then it is a question of vocabulary. The error signal is always there, whether its value is zero or any other value. Zero error does not mean no behaviour. All it means is that so long as the disturbance doesn’t change and the effect of your behaviour on the input quantity doesn’t change, your perception will remain as you want it to be.

If there is a disturbance then the output effect will cancel it by altering the input quantity but that does not mean that this output effect would remove the input quantity altogether, does it?

No it doesn’t. It just brings the input quantity to a value that creates the perceptual value that matches the reference value.

Martin

Best regards

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net
Lähetetty: 4. marraskuuta 2016 8:05
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Dear Eetu.

I answered in your text bellow….

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi]
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2016 8:27 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Hi Vyv, thank you for this hint. I see that this last book of Powers is really something to read and I will order it.

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Huddy, Vyv v.huddy@ucl.ac.uk
Lähetetty: 2. marraskuuta 2016 15:08
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Vyv Huddy 1247.02.11.2016]

Hi Eetu,

Just sharing an experience of learning about PCT. Carefully reading B:CP has helped but, looking back, I would have learned about PCT more quickly if I’d started with the book Living Control Systems III. If you are not already aware this book comes with a selection of demonstrations that run on a PC. The parameters of the demonstrations can be adjusted and the effect of these adjustments can be observed and experienced. This is important because the experience of seeing control happening, and recognising it as such, is key to opening the window on understanding it. For me at least!

All the best,

Vyv

From: Eetu Pikkarainen [mailto:eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi]
Sent: 31 October 2016 09:41
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016.10.31]

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your relentless criticality, I really appreciate such.

As a newcomer I have problems to follow and find the most essential points – even though I am in a process of re-reading B:CP (in the middle of doing much else). You wrote:

“Rick is definitelly promoting RCT, where »behavior is control«, there is some »controllled variable« in environment and there is some kind of »Controlled perceptual variable« in afferent nerv going to afferent neuron (comparator). There is no such things in PCT.”

HB : Ricks’ terminology show that »control« is something that is happening in environment. So he is putting all the time »controlled variable« into organisms environment in PCT diagram what is not the case with Bill. Rick tried many times to make it »official« and I don’t understand how he didn’t succed, because he has Powers lady in his »pocket«. Whatever. PCT is still as it was although Rick is desperately trying to change it with his »Behavior is control« and »controlled variable« etc.

Bill is not putting »controlled variable« in the environment in the sense that »control« is happening in organisms environment. At least in diagram LCS III. Bills’ defitnion of »control« is clear (mostly from B:CP) :

cid:image001.png@01D23600.98B1E160

Bill also mentioned many times that PCT is about how organisms control.

EP : I understand that 1) behavior (doings) are not controlled and 2) things in the environment are not controlled, but the third issue is problematic to me. I have understood that it is just the perception i.e. the variable called p i.e. the neural signal created in receptor(s) and transmitted to comparator, which IS controlled. Have got it wrong?

HB : You understand right, that behavior (output) is not control or process of control, so that something or anything in the environment is controlled. Bill is mostlly (99%) using word »affect«, what I think actually happens in the environment of organism. So yes things in environment if they exist are not controlled but affected. And yes to 3). Only Perceptual signal will be directly »controlled« and that’s why it’s called »controlled variable«.

So we see that in this Bill’s definition there is no control and if you will read Glossary in B:CP nowhere in other definitions Bill mentioned anything about »behavior is control« except in term »controlled quantitty« which I answered in conversation between Rick and Martin.

Things in environment are not controlled, because behavior is not control, and there is no »controlled variable« in environment in GENERAL sense that SOMETHING will be controlled by behavior. Important is that we stick to GENERAL SENSE of PCT so how organisms generaly control. And that is the diagram in LCS III showing clearly.

There is not always (continuously) present something in environment that behavior could control (reduce discrepancy). Generally speaking output (behavior) is used for affecting input and also for canceling the effects of disturbances.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : Mostly behavior if you will observe yourself don’t have anything special in environment that is »manipulated« by behavior, as behavior is not process of control in general sense. We don’t dig a cup of coffee with our hands or eat with moving (controlling the movement) of our hands or that we move legs while we are walking and so on. That is self-regulation theory. And Rick is supporting it all the time. He is afterall psychologist like for example Carver and Scheier (the authors of selfregulation theory based on PCT). When I was mediating between Bill and Carver, Bill told me that they were his students what their book from 1981 prove.

But I think that »controlled quantitty« which could be present in »environment of organism« will sooner or later become part of perceptual signal, which is controlled variable (will be matched with reference in comparator). And this is the only place where by my oppinion control is happening. Comparator is not a function in the sense all other boxes in diagram are. So it’s the only place where control can happen (nervous system).

Comparator present one neuron or the whole nervous system. I think that all controlling is done in nervous system. I don’t see any place in control loop that control can be done. Specially not in environment of control system. And perceptual signal is the »controlled variable« which enters comprator. I think it’s obvious.

The result of control is »error signal«.

Here it seems that Bill was equating »Controlled quantitty« with »perceptual signal«. It could be equated with »input quantitty« although from diagram in LCS III is not clear that »controlled quantitty« exist in any general sense. But »input quantity« in general sense represent effects of disturbances or effects of behavior or both. Bill wanted to create a theory that would generally answer the question how organisms generally control.

In the environment (LCS III diagram) there are present effects of disturbances and effects of behavior (output) added. For disturbances we can assume that they are always present (hit, radiation of all kinds, sun, etc.), but effects of behavior (ouptut) are present more or less discreetly.

For example in sleeping, what Rick correctly described as »tough one«, existance of »input quantity« in environment, doesn’t have any effects of behavior (output) that would by definition of control also cancel the effects of disturbances. Disturbance in sleeping for ex. is temperature of the room that is affecting organisms control. In this case »input quantitty« contain just »effects of disturbances« and no counter effetcs of behavior (output) that could be present in environment. So there is no »controlled quanttity« in outer environment as Rick is trying to present as general principle. But organism is still controlling. The body temperature in accordance with room temperature is controlled (ex. 36,8). So there are »controlled quantities« in organism and »controlled process« in organism that are always present in if you look at definition of control above. So control in organism in general sense is present 24/7 as Bob Hintz denoted this process. I think he is momentaly one of those who also understand PCT in the sense of my explanation and according to Bills’ definitions.

EP :

The whole concept of “control” is difficult me because of the different theoretical background and also the language: If I try to tell shortly to some of my fellow citizens about my newly found theoretical inspiration, I have the first trouble how to translate the name of PCT in Finnish! I believe many other outsiders have similar problems. And for you insiders the question may seem so self-evident that it is hard to explain / narrate understandably? Sometimes I feel like I had understood the whole idea perfectly and then again I am totally confused.

HB :

Beleive me dear Eetu the same thing happened to me. When i was trying to understand PCT I thought that I’ll finish in »mental hospital«. My first »teacher« was Kent (his »papers« on internet and some meils in 1999). His language is quite clear and understandable, but i thought that the word of author of PCT will reveal to me all »secrets« of PCT. And than troubles began because Bill’s sicentific language in his LCS chain of books is hard to understand for the begginer. I have to consult with Bill but in the beggining I didn’t understand even his explanations and I was confused as you are now. Then I found Bruce Abbotts’ synopsis. You can get it on this page http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/pct/pct.html. I also returned to Kent and his »papers«. And the »light« above my head start slowly to shine. After all these first difficulties which happened in 6 years I take a break and than one day I started the talk with Rick Marken. Well Rick (somewhere in 2007) in the beggining understood PCT and as I described many times our converstaion started with which »perception do we control« and not which »controlled variable« we are controlling in environment. So I don’t understand where Rick was lost, but he is totaly out of PCT line. After that I talked a lot also with Martin and wrote on ECACS. I talked also to Kent and some other PCT’ers. I talked also a lot with Bill whom I finaly understood with no problem.

All in all it took me quite long time to understand PCT. Maybe you could try with the same literature and members I did. But I strongly advise that you don’t try with Rick. He is a confussion maker because his RCT is contrary to PCT and he has »power« because Powers ladies are fully supporting him (see Barbs’ message). They took me half of my health in last years to keep CSGnet close to PCT. But I don’t know how long will I persist. Rick is coming with new manipulations and seeking through Bills’ literature to find appropriate answer is not easy job. Anybody can try it.

EP : So how would you define shortly for a newcomer what does the “control” mean? What is it what is controlled and how? Does controlling take place in a certain place or stage of the closed loop? Or is control rather a function of the whole loop?

HB : I hope dear Eetu, I described you shortly what »control«, »control system«, »ouptut«, »feed-back«, and so on mean through Bills’ definitions. I think this is only fair approach to hear the »sound« of author. It’s refreshing among all other oppinions. Isn’t it Barb ?

I hope that I manage to present you also what »controlled quantity« and »input quantity« could mean. Problem is that Bill did changed his mind sometimes but Rick is a World Champion. He is changing his oppinion sometimes daily, weekly, monthly…. Also constant in his oppinion is Kent with his concept of »stability«. It’s PCT. Martin was very stable when Bill was with us. As I understood him he was quite often communicating with Bill. But now I think that he is too much communicating with Rick and he started to »fluctuate« like him. And he was so stable and perfect in PCT understanding. Rick can cause a lot of troubles in understanding of PCT because he is just relaying on his experiences which can be misleading as he can observe his behavior as control of limbs. It’s common psychological approach. It’s common sense reasoning. But Bill showed it’s wrong. We control our perception not limbs. Rikcs’ »cancer point« are his demos and tests, because he thinks that he will understand PCT through them. But as Bill said, the final arbiter is nature. So we should learn there. Experimenting in nature. And I noticed that Rick could be going that way if I may conclude from his latest experiment with Warren. I hope he will continue his nature experimental work as this is the way to understand PCT.

EP : (And apologies beforehand if I will make follow-up questions.)

HB : As I mentioned mayn times I’m in troubled life position and I don’t have always time. But I’ll answer sooner or later J

Best,

Boris

Eetu Pikkarainen

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04,23,36]

MT: Remember that reference values come only from the outputs of

higher levels, and the top level has no higher level. So where would
a reference variable come from? If there’s no reference variable,
the reference level either does not exist, which makes no sense in a
control loop because it would say that the perceptual variable is
unconstrained, or the reference value is fixed. Take your pick.
What’s the problem? It’s the same loop as it would be with a
comparator, provided that the signal value is inverted somewhere
around the loop to ensure that feedback is negative. Inverting the
signal value is, after all, the only thing a comparator does if the
reference value is zero. e = r-p becomes e = -p. And if the fixed
reference value isn’t zero, changes in p are still inverted and
perception is controlled to that fixed value. MT. Obviously. I hope I cleared it up.
MT. However, there are lots of signals that are not transmitted by
neurons. Hormones, for example. Such signals just aren’t usually
considered to be part of the perceptual control hierarchy, though
they may well influence such things as loop gain.
MT. It doesn’t, but every control loop diagram shows each link as a
simple “wire”. As Bill points out early in B:CP, the notion of a
“neural current” that is carried by a “wire” is just a kind of
summation of the effects (impulses) on many nerve fibres, There’s no
such thing in the brain as a “neural current” or a “wire”. They are
just conveniences used by the analyst or theorist to avoid worrying
about the billions or trillions of neural interconnections. But they
work pretty well as approximations, don’t they?
MT. Where is the loop broken? It looks complete to me.
MT. There’s only the path, however simple or complicated, whether
totally internal to the organism or partially external, by which the
output of the Output Function influences the values entering the
inputs to the Perceptual Input Functions. That’s all an
environmental feedback path is or can be. Just the route or routes
by which the influence of the output arrives back at the input.
MT. Really? They don’t influence anything in their environment in
ways that affect some internal state in a negative feedback loop?
Such organisms might exist, but they wouldn’t live long, would they?
I don’t think a virus does, but is it alive? A bacterium does, so
what is more primitive or simpler than a bacterium but is not a
virus, is alive, and does not influence its environment in a way
that feeds back to affect some state internal to itself?
MT. Agreed.
MT. I would assume that’s true, but I don’t know it to be true. The
reason I might quibble a bit is that the point of reorganization
over both individual lifetimes and over evolutionary time scales is
to allow external actions to do whatever is required to allow those
internal feedback loops to function in life-maintaining ways. I
think there’s a feedback interaction at a meta-level among the
internal and external feedback systems. That’s another way of saying
that reorganization happens. But whether internal control systems
must work well before any control systems that have environmental
feedback paths partly through the external environment can function
is something I would guess to be true but can’t be sure of.
Martin

···

On 2016/11/4 4:05 PM, Boris Hartman
wrote:

        In

the text bellow….

Â

From:
Martin Taylor [] Friday, November 04, 2016 6:27 PM
Re: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

Â

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04.12.52]

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016-11-04]

Â

EP. Dear Boris

Â

      EP. Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful

reply!

Â

      EP. Now I think I see it quite clearly that the focal point

of control is the comparator. It is in a way the deepest core
of the subject organism.

      MT. I would say rather that the focal point of control is the

entire loop, no one part of the loop. Control is what in
English we call an “emergent property” of the loop. The
comparator is indeed a key point in a loop, but only because
the reference value (toward which the controller moves the
perceptual value) could be variable. If the reference value is
fixed, as is the case at the top level of the hierarchy,

Â

        HB

: Sorry Martin I don’t get this one. How the reference value
in the case of the top level in the hierarchy is fixed. Can
you show me in diagram p.191 B:CP (2005) how it become fixed
?

Â

MT : …¦. no
comparator is required but the loop still controls the
perceptual value.

Â

        HB

. How can control function without comparator ?

        Are

you saying that there are processes in nervous system that
function without neurons ? There could be  signals that »go«
beside neurons ? Do you have any examples ? How than control
loop look like without comparator ? Or there is some
misunderstanding…

Â

MT : With
a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual function output to
the Output Function input, the loop would still control the
perceptual value if the Output Function did the necessary sign
inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative.

Â

        HB

: What could be simple »wire« in nervous system ? Can you
give me some examples how this works in nervous system ?

      [MT] Controlling takes place in a loop, and only in a complete

loop.

Â

        HB

: You said before that :

Â

        MT

: With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual
function output to the Output Function input the loop would
still control the perceptual value if the Output Function did
the necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is
negative…

Â

        HB

: This is not a complete loop…but you said it before it
controls ?Â

Â

MT : We
talk about a controller (Perceptual Input Function,
Comparator, and Output Function) within the organism, but it
does not control anything without its environmental feedback
path.

Â

        HB

: Which environmental feedback path you have in mind ?

Â

        Some

primitive organisms doesn’t have outside environmental feed
back path  but they still survive.

        Succesfull controlling in organism is the first step to

survive, whether external feed-back (in organisms they
posses it) is used depends from organisms state of
homeostasis which is genetically determined.

Â

        When you are

sunshining or sleeping you don’t use external feed-back path
but still you control succesfully inside…Most control is
done inside organism.

External
feed-back path is just used when internal control subsystems
can not control internal environment to genetically set
reference conditions. But until you control succesfully
inside you will not use outside effectors…

mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net
Sent:
**To:**csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject:

In the text bellow….

···

From: Martin Taylor [mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net]
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2016 4:59 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04,23,36]

On 2016/11/4 4:05 PM, Boris Hartman wrote:

In the text bellow….

From: Martin Taylor [mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net]
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2016 6:27 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

[Martin Taylor 2016.11.04.12.52]

[from eetu pikkarainen 2016-11-04]

EP. Dear Boris

EP. Thank you very much for this detailed and very helpful reply!

EP. Now I think I see it quite clearly that the focal point of control is the comparator. It is in a way the deepest core of the subject organism.

MT. I would say rather that the focal point of control is the entire loop, no one part of the loop. Control is what in English we call an “emergent property” of the loop. The comparator is indeed a key point in a loop, but only because the reference value (toward which the controller moves the perceptual value) could be variable. If the reference value is fixed, as is the case at the top level of the hierarchy,

HB : Sorry Martin I don’t get this one. How the reference value in the case of the top level in the hierarchy is fixed. Can you show me in diagram p.191 B:CP (2005) how it become fixed ?

MT: Remember that reference values come only from the outputs of higher levels, and the top level has no higher level. So where would a reference variable come from? If there’s no reference variable, the reference level either does not exist, which makes no sense in a control loop because it would say that the perceptual variable is unconstrained, or the reference value is fixed. Take your pick.

HB : Martin I told you many times that I don’t like the voice you are refering to me like I’m in school. If I return with the same voice I’d say : no, YOU REMEMBER that diagram how PCT organism works is not finished yet and that you don’t see any sense how references are formed. For Bill, for you and for most of PCT’ers here is a »question mark« on the top of hierarchy But you are free to remove »question mark« and explain to anybody you want how did you remove the »question mark« ???

Maybe one day I’ll explain, how organism on p. 191 works and beleive me you’ll be surprised. Bill knew it. So he accepted the »arrow« which doubled possibilities fro solving the problem in diagram on p. 191. We talked a lot about. But for now you have to work with »question mark«, but that doesn’t mean that you understand.

MT : ….no comparaator is required but the loop still controls the perceptual value.

HB . How can control function without comparator ?

What’s the problem? It’s the same loop as it would be with a comparator, provided that the signal value is inverted somewhere around the loop to ensure that feedback is negative. Inverting the signal value is, after all, the only thing a comparator does if the reference value is zero. e = r-p becomes e = -p. And if the fixed reference value isn’t zero, changes in p are still inverted and perception is controlled to that fixed value.

HB : These are mathematical manipulations. Show me how this works in organism. PCT is about how organisms work so model should answer how »somwhere is something inverted« in organism ? I already wrote about what means if reference value in organism is zero in discussion with Bruce.

Are you saying that there are processes in nervous system that function without neurons ? There could be signals that »go« beside neurons ? Do you have any examples ? How than control loop look like without comparator ? Or there is some misunderstanding…

MT. Obviously. I hope I cleared it up.

HB : It’s not clear yet. But let us say that it was misunderstanding.

MT. However, there are lots of signals that are not transmitted by neurons. Hormones, for example.

HB : What »signals« are transmited by hormones ? Or you meant glands which are transmitting hormones ? Glands are under neural control. It’s internal effector if we want to compare it’s function with muscles (external effector). They are part of internal control loops.

Such signals just aren’t usually considered to be part of the perceptual control hierarchy, though they may well influence such things as loop gain.

HB : See above.

MT : With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual function output to the Output Function input, the loop would still control the perceptual value if the Output Function did the necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative.

HB : What could be simple »wire« in nervous system ? Can you give me some examples how this works in nervous system ?

MT. It doesn’t, but every control loop diagram shows each link as a simple “wire”. As Bill points out early in B:CP, the notion of a “neural current” that is carried by a “wire” is just a kind of summation of the effects (impulses) on many nerve fibres, There’s no such thing in the brain as a “neural current” or a “wire”. They are just conveniences used by the analyst or theorist to avoid worrying about the billions or trillions of neural interconnections. But they work pretty well as approximations, don’t they?

HB : They do. But neural currents can be today measured very well and yes they have names but also the perception that can be affirmed always by analyst, theorist or practicianist, when they measure them. Something like measuring currents in electrical circuits. I don’t know how much Bill knew about »measuring currents« in nervous system when he wrote B:CP, but as I recall it he told me that he wasn’t acquanted weel with physiology but with anatomy.

[MT] Controlling takes place in a loop, and only in a complete loop.

HB : You said before that :

MT : With a simple “wire” connecting the perceptual function output to the Output Function input the loop would still control the perceptual value if the Output Function did the necessary sign inversion to ensure that the feedback is negative…

HB : This is not a complete loop…but you said it before it controls ?&

MT. Where is the loop broken? It looks complete to me.

HB : Let us say again that it was misunderstanding…J

MT : We talk about a controller (Perceptual Input Function, Comparator, and Output Function) within the organism, but it does not control anything without its environmental feedback path.

HB : Which environmental feedback path you have in mind ?

MT. There’s only the path, however simple or complicated, whether totally internal to the organism or partially external, by which the output of the Output Function influences the values entering the inputs to the Perceptual Input Functions. That’s all an environmental feedback path is or can be. Just the route or routes by which the influence of the output arrives back at the input.

HB : So we agree that every control unit whether it controls through internal environment or external environment has »only the path« JJ

HB erlier : Some primitive organisms doesn’t have outside environmental feed back path but they still survive.

MT. Really? They don’t influence anything in their environment in ways that affect some internal state in a negative feedback loop? Such organisms might exist, but they wouldn’t live long, would they? I don’t think a virus does, but is it alive? A bacterium does, so what is more primitive or simpler than a bacterium but is not a virus, is alive, and does not influence its environment in a way that feeds back to affect some state internal to itself?

HB : It doesn’t matter if they live long or not. They just »absorbe« nutrients from environment and eliminate final products which they don’t use. But it’s not relevant anymore because it was connected to previous statements. I thought that you are implying that        internal feed-back loops »does not control anything without its environmental feedback path«. See above how you formulated the statement.

Let us say that it was misunderstanding once again J

Succesfull controlling in organism is the first step to survive, whether external feed-back (in organisms they posses it) is used depends from organisms state of homeostasis which is genetically determined.

When you are sunshining or sleeping you don’t use external feed-back path but still you control succesfully inside…Most control is done inside organism.

MT. Agreed.

HB : Now If we agree about this one than we agree about everything I wrote about to Eetu and about what we wrote till now. It seems that it was pure misunderstanding.Â

Boris

External feed-back path is just used when internal control subsystems can not control internal environment to genetically set reference conditions. But until you control succesfully inside you will not use outside effectors…

MT. I would assume that’s true, but I don’t know it to be true. The reason I might quibble a bit is that the point of reorganization over both individual lifetimes and over evolutionary time scales is to allow external actions to do whatever is required to allow those internal feedback loops to function in life-maintaining ways. I think there’s a feedback interaction at a meta-level among the internal and external feedback systems. That’s another way of saying that reorganization happens. But whether internal control systems must work well before any control systems that have environmental feedback paths partly through the external environment can function is something I would guess to be true but can’t be sure of.

Martin

[From Rick Marken (2016.11.05.1120)]

···

Martin Taylor (2016.11.04,23,36)Â

RM: My name is Rick Marken and I approve your message! See, I don’t always find fault with your posts!! I particularly like your pointing out that an explicit comparator function is unnecessary for control:

 MT : ….no
comparator is required but the loop still controls the
perceptual value.

RM: This is actually an important point because it explains why what are purported to be S-R devices, like Braitenberg vehicles, can control. There is no comparator in these vehicles; just an inverter (as you note), so that the feedback effects of R on S are negative. The controlling is dynamically stabilized in the same way that a thermostat is dynamically stabilized-- by the slowing (via integration) of the build up of the effect of R on S by the environmental feedback connection from R (wheel movement) to S (the resulting changing in light intensity). The offset of the inversion is the reference for the value of S.Â

RM: Again, nice points , Martin.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers

bob hintz 11-5-16

I would like to suggest that the the control loop for an external perception is activated by the output of a control loop that manages an internal perception. Hunger is an internal perception which might activate the control loop that results in hunting and consuming food. When enough food is consumed the internal loop no longer has an error and the output of that loop deactivates the external loop. The temporal interval between end of one hunt and the beginning of the next will depend on the size of the prey, the rate of digestion of the predator, the number of partners that might share in the kill and who knows what other variables that might affect the experience of hunger.

Thirst would be another simple and pretty universal example. Everyone regardless of species quits drinking after a few swallows and starts again after a time interval while lots of internal processes occur.

I am not sure why we imagine internal processes only involve the minimal basics of the biology of life. If nourishment is not placed in contact with a human infant’s lips within hours after it is born, it will be unable to survive. If the infant is unable to coordinate breathing and swallowing, a care giver typically removes the swallowing option so that breathing can resume. Premature infants are at particular risk in this regard. Very premature infants cannot even be fed the regular way and need intravenous nourishment. The infant is able to develop and grow because of the support of other people, but each infant has it’s own genetic code and develops in it’s own fashion as long as it has at least a minimally supportive social environment. I suspect that an infant learns to feel hunger because it is given the opportunity to eat and can affect the perceptions involved in the digestion process. All infants quit sucking at some point even if more is available. All infants quit sucking if the environment quits providing nourishment. Infants apparently practice sucking thumbs in the womb even without needing nourishment as they are learning to alter their own sensations of them selves.

I suspect that the hierarchy of external control is created to meet the needs of internal control and that it must match to some extent the hierarchy in use by the other human beings with whom one interacts on a daily basis. Each individual’s hierarchy must match well enough with the actual external world that they are able to continue to live. Almost every infant learns the language of his/her parents. If the family speaks more than one language, most children will learn whatever is available.

I keep a copy of Bill’s speculation about reorganization visible on my desk and continue to think about the implications.

I have two papers I would like to make available, but when I tried to attach one it failed to go through. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

bob

for RICK from Alice> [From Rick Marken (2016.11.05.1120)]

Rick! first A loud huzzah for the fancy foot-work in finding an
alternative to being there. We should all be that agile.

Second: A gasp of awe regarding your stamina in maintaining a lively.
engaging interface throughout...was that 1,000? minutes?

Seriously, you should consider a series of these talks. or maybe a Ted
talk (though you'd probably have to stand up and walk around.) I really
enjoyed the talk, and your easy-going delivery. Very effective!

best,

Alice

···

Martin Taylor (2016.11.04,23,36)

RM: My name is Rick Marken and I approve your message! See, I don't always
find fault with your posts!! I particularly like your pointing out that an
explicit comparator function is unnecessary for control:

MT : ….no comparator is required but the loop still controls the
perceptual value.

RM: This is actually an important point because it explains why what are

purported to be S-R devices, like Braitenberg vehicles, can control. There
is no comparator in these vehicles; just an inverter (as you note), so
that
the feedback effects of R on S are negative. The controlling is
dynamically
stabilized in the same way that a thermostat is dynamically stabilized--
by
the slowing (via integration) of the build up of the effect of R on S by
the environmental feedback connection from R (wheel movement) to S (the
resulting changing in light intensity). The offset of the inversion is the
reference for the value of S.

RM: Again, nice points , Martin.

Best

Rick

--
Richard S. Marken

"The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to
go
before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as
important to their well-being as what they do for themselves." -- William
T. Powers

[From Rick Marken (2016.11.06.0940 PST)

···

for RICK from Alice> [From Rick Marken (2016.11.05.1120)]

Rick! first A loud huzzah for the fancy foot-work in finding an

alternative to being there. We should all be that agile.

Second: A gasp of awe regarding your stamina in maintaining a lively.

engaging interface throughout…was that 1,000? minutes?

Seriously, you should consider a series of these talks. or maybe a Ted

talk (though you’d probably have to stand up and walk around.) I really

enjoyed the talk, and your easy-going delivery. Very effective!

best,

Alice

RM: Thanks Alice.Â

BestÂ

RickÂ

Martin Taylor (2016.11.04,23,36)

RM: My name is Rick Marken and I approve your message! See, I don’t always

find fault with your posts!! I particularly like your pointing out that an

explicit comparator function is unnecessary for control:

 MT : ….no comparator is required but the loop still controls the

perceptual value.

RM: This is actually an important point because it explains why what are

purported to be S-R devices, like Braitenberg vehicles, can control. There

is no comparator in these vehicles; just an inverter (as you note), so

that

the feedback effects of R on S are negative. The controlling is

dynamically

stabilized in the same way that a thermostat is dynamically stabilized–

by

the slowing (via integration) of the build up of the effect of R on S by

the environmental feedback connection from R (wheel movement) to S (the

resulting changing in light intensity). The offset of the inversion is the

reference for the value of S.

RM: Again, nice points , Martin.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to

go

before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as

important to their well-being as what they do for themselves." – William

T. Powers


Richard S. MarkenÂ

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers

bob hintz 11-7-16

When I think of activation, I am thinking of on/off rather than a specific value. The hunt for water is different from the hunt for prey. If I am a tiger hunting prey and notice a pool of water, I might or might not stop for drink. It would depend on how thirsty I am compared to how hungry I am at the moment. If both levels are moderate, I would probably drink as I am not currently perceiving an opportunity to chase a prey. This would be a pause in the hunting routine and an activation of the drinking routine. If thirst had a low value, the perception of the pool as I search for a prey, would be irrelevant and have no effect on my effort to satisfy my hunger. If thirst had a high value, I would be searching for a source of water and might ignore an opportunity to chase a prey that appeared in my perception. I think internal references are always on, but external references are only “on” when “error” signals are sent from an internal hierarchy to the external hierarchy of control.

I suspect that we are always reorganizing our references regarding our perceptions of the external world in terms of their relation to perceptions of our internal world. Danger is when we perceive something outside ourselves might harm us, ie., disturb an internal variable. Opportunity is when we perceive something outside ourselves might benefit us, ie., allow us to maintain our internal references. If we have a hierarchy of internal variables, a threat to my ego could be just as important to my external behavior as a threat to my body. This might be where much of our interpersonal behavior is organized.

···

On Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 1:17 AM, Eetu Pikkarainen eetu.pikkarainen@oulu.fi wrote:

Hi Bob

That sounds very reasonable, but how would that “activation” take place?

I have been thinking about the reference signal and it seems to me that, if it is zero then it causes a maximal error signal and maximal output function. On the other hand if it is as high as percetual signal then error signal would be zero and output function
might be in rest and the control system would not actively affect anything in its environment.

So if the organism is hungry, then the reference signal to the system that perceives the missing of food should be zero or small to activate beharior to search food. If the organism is satisfied then the upper control system should echo the perceptual signal
back as such as a refence signal, which causes that organism is indifferent to perceptions connected to food.

Or am I totally lost again? :slight_smile:

Eetu Pikkarainen


Lähettäjä: Bob Hintz bob.hintz@gmail.com
Lähetetty: 6. marraskuuta 2016 0:11
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: Re: VS: Perceptual Control Theory Talk

bob hintz 11-5-16

I would like to suggest that the the control loop for an external perception is activated by the output of a control loop that manages an internal perception. Hunger is an internal perception which might activate the control loop that results in hunting
and consuming food. When enough food is consumed the internal loop no longer has an error and the output of that loop deactivates the external loop. The temporal interval between end of one hunt and the beginning of the next will depend on the size of the
prey, the rate of digestion of the predator, the number of partners that might share in the kill and who knows what other variables that might affect the experience of hunger.

Thirst would be another simple and pretty universal example. Everyone regardless of species quits drinking after a few swallows and starts again after a time interval while lots of internal processes occur.

I am not sure why we imagine internal processes only involve the minimal basics of the biology of life. If nourishment is not placed in contact with a human infant’s lips within hours after it is born, it will be unable to survive. If the infant is unable
to coordinate breathing and swallowing, a care giver typically removes the swallowing option so that breathing can resume. Premature infants are at particular risk in this regard. Very premature infants cannot even be fed the regular way and need intravenous
nourishment. The infant is able to develop and grow because of the support of other people, but each infant has it’s own genetic code and develops in it’s own fashion as long as it has at least a minimally supportive social environment. I suspect that an
infant learns to feel hunger because it is given the opportunity to eat and can affect the perceptions involved in the digestion process. All infants quit sucking at some point even if more is available. All infants quit sucking if the environment quits
providing nourishment. Infants apparently practice sucking thumbs in the womb even without needing nourishment as they are learning to alter their own sensations of them selves.

I suspect that the hierarchy of external control is created to meet the needs of internal control and that it must match to some extent the hierarchy in use by the other human beings with whom one interacts on a daily basis. Each individual’s hierarchy
must match well enough with the actual external world that they are able to continue to live. Almost every infant learns the language of his/her parents. If the family speaks more than one language, most children will learn whatever is available.

I keep a copy of Bill’s speculation about reorganization visible on my desk and continue to think about the implications.

I have two papers I would like to make available, but when I tried to attach one it failed to go through. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

bob