What are you doing?

############### CHUCK TUCKER 940929 ###############

          WHAT ARE YOU DOING? (Begun 940927 Concluded 940929)
          [RE: Ford 940925. 7:50; Greg 940926; Marken 940926.0830]

          I spend a great deal of my time downloading, reading and
          making copies of the posts on the net. I usually make a
          copy of two posts per day and give copies to several of
          my colleagues and some of them I distribute to students
          in my classes.

          I rarely comment to the writers on the net since I consider
          most of my comments of little interest to the other 130+
          folks. On some issues like epistemology, research design,
          the premises of PCT and previous research I have very little
          to say that is not being said (or I know will be said!) by
          Bill, Mary, Tom, Rick or Martin (BMTRM). Since much of the
          discussion of late has been with folks that are coming on
          the net to learn about PCT I would rather read how BMTRM
          deal with their questions and issues. I use their
          exchanges to learn how I can deal with similar questions
          and issues in my own dealings with the queries of students
          and colleagues.

          Yesterday, for example, a PH.D. student and I were discussing
          her comprehensive examination wherein she had questions about
          the epistemological assumptions of PCT. I did not enter that
          discussion on the net because this is about the 10th time it
          has appeared on the net and I have resolved the issue many
          years ago. So what I did was to give her (after some
          discussion, of course) three posts by Bill [one which I titled
          "Perception and Reality: The Color Purple" (940914.1445 MDT)].
          I also gave her Bill's post [my title "Self-Esteem: Meaning and
          THE TEST" (940921.0400MDT)] since she had some questions about
          research design.

          This student and I also had a discussion about a "problem
          child" that a friend of hers has (in fact she said that her
          friend calls the child "a problem" rather than use the
          child's name) and that gave me the chance to talk about Ed's
          Ford's new book on discipline. She was very impressed
          with the ideas since she had not thought of PCT as relat-
          ing to children (this student has never taken a class
          from me!).

          I say all of this to point out that the net is valuable to
          me even though I don't write on it very much. When I think
          I have something to write that might be valuable to y'all
          (although I don't expect that any of you will post me back
          on the net) I will write it. So here goes.

          WHAT'S IN A NAME?

          I had a thought after the exchange with the person who
          questioned the name of the list as Control System Group.
          In a long but wonderful answer to the quiry Bill mentioned
          the Center for the Study of Living Control Systems. I
          thought why not call the list: Living Control Systems-List
          (LCS-L) and change the name of Control Systems Group to:
          The Society for the Study of Living Control Systems (SSLCS).
          This would all fit with the name of our journal which is
          (as I understand it): Closed Loop: Journal of Living Control
          Systems. How about that folks?


          I believe that one good way to learn about the ideas that
          others have used is to attempt to replicate their research.
          Most research done in the so-called social and behavioral
          sciences can not be replicated since the instructions
          (the section called "Methods") do not describe the
          activities of the researcher (see Rick's discussion Lord's
          research for some "evidence" on this point).

          I have been critical of Rick, Tom and even Bill because
          their research lacked such descriptions. So I have asked
          them to provide me with the programs that they used in their
          research so I can try follow what few instructions they
          gave me and do the research "like" they did it. (To be
          fair I must say that one of Rick's articles did have
          some adequate instructions and the instructions for the
          research I will replicate that Tom did are to be found
          in the MA theses of his students which are very well
          done - editors, as you know don't like to have all that
          "junk" in the article about how the research was done!)
          Rick and Tom have provided programs to me but Bill is
          still working on a program involving a variety of
          variables to control a la DEMO1.

          I began with Rick's study "The Cause of Control Movements
          in a Tracking Task" (in MR pp. 61-66) and after several
          discussions about modifications with Rick we settled on a
          design which would have two types of disturbances and two
          levels of difficulty. We developed a short questionnaire
          to use with each participant (I do not call persons who are
          in my studies "subjects") and borrowed a MAC and asked
          students in my classes to participate (without any pay or
          points - I don't do that either) in the exercises (not
          study or research). I have had about 20 different
          persons participate in the exercises to date and still
          would like to have about five more do so.

          At this point in time the data from the participants look
          exactly like that which Rick collected in the original
          study. I will report the results after I get the few
          more subjects and after Rick reviews my draft.

          Rick sent me a program for his other study which was never
          published ["Closed-Loop Behavior: Human Performance as
          Control of Input" MR pp. 67-75] which I have run many
          times myself but have not had anyone else do it. I
          have asked Rick to make some modifications of the
          program so that I could so some studies with it and I
          expect Rick to have those changes to me when he can gets
          away from his book and the net. These studies should be
          interesting since they will involve participants doing a
          tracking task with and without disturbances in sequence
          when they don't know when the distrubances are involved
          in the program. [NB: Yesterday Rick wrote me and said
          that he would not get to these modifications until next
          year so I will proceed with what I have and just replicate
          his research and discuss its implications for Living
          Control Systems Theory (oops!)]

          I have the program for Bourbon's "social tracking" studies
          done by his students but have yet to obtain a computer
          with the proper equipment to do the studies. I have
          several students that are interested in PCT now and I
          think they will be working with me on these studies.


          I have worked with Bill to develop a set of questions
          trying to examine further how "selves" are disturbed.
          I have used as my design for these questions the study
          done by Robertson and Goldstein where they got persons
          to tell them their "self-identity" and then challanged it
          and found that all but one person became "upset". Bill
          and I are trying to do this with "significant others"
          named by the persons and trying to have them tell us
          "what disturbs you when X says it". We have found
          that the questionnare is quite limited and the next
          step will be to either interview persons OR set up
          "role-play situations" wherein disturbances which
          we know of from the person's previous report will be
          introducted into the interaction and we will observe the
          results. I will be working with my class next Spring on
          this project.


          I have tried to have these programs (using Dag's disk)
          put on the fileserver at the university so I can give
          instructions to my students and have them go to several
          labs around campus and do some exercises with them.
          They were working last Spring but changes have been made
          in the system and they do not work now. Next week I have
          a new person assigned to me to try to get the problems
          solved. If I can get this working it will open up the
          use of these progams for the several hundred students
          who are in my courses each semester. I hope to be able
          to put Bill's new program on the filserver and use it
          for exercises in my courses and hopefully for some


          I believe there are more studies using THE TEST than
          we realize. I think the Milgram studies (including his
          "crowd" studies), the studies by Sherif (including the
          autokinetic one), a study by McPhail where the students
          "walked-out" of his class in the middle of a lecture and
          he continued to lecture to two student sitting in the
          front of the room, and the Asch study (with derivations)
          all used THE TEST. The problem is that they did not
          collect the data on a person by person basis and thus it
          is impossible to find out the results of THE TEST. I think
          most conventional experimental studies use THE TEST when
          they set up "experimental" and "control" groups (sic)
          but we don't which "treatment" is the disturbance. But
          if individual data were available in any of these studies
          my bet is that they could provide some data for PCT.

          I am collecting the data from a set of studies encouraged
          by Harold Garfinkel (who Rick might have known at UCLA)
          called "breeching" studies wherein disturbances were
          purposively set up (like Candid Camera) to find out about
          a person's "taken for granted world". Erving Goffman also
          mentioned some of these studies in his works and, in fact,
          he wrote a number of essays on disturbances (one was on
          bloopers and what they mean to self-control). I hope
          that these studies can be used for replications or at
          least a way to design other studies to use THE TEST at
          higher levels. (BTW Danny Miller mentioned the Goffman
          studies in his paper at the 1993 CSG meetings)


          Jogged by a discussion on the net about the "side effects"
          of individual action using the "ring" formation from the
          Gathering program as an example Clark and I started to
          reexamine the simulation for the "ring" and its
          comparison with our observations of "ring" formation
          in public gathering places. We concluded the the
          "ring" in Gathering was not an accurate simulation
          of our observations of "rings" so I started to modify
          the program so that it more closely approximated
          observed "rings". One of the major problems is that
          no "ring" that we have observed (or others have reported
          observing) involve 14 single on-their-own self-controlling
          persons so that the nice "circle" form that Rick calls a
          side-effect never occurs WITHOUT having 14 persons
          practice making such a formation over and over again.
          Also such a formation does not require that the 14 persons
          "follow" another person as in RING (remember this program
          was derived from a program devised by Bill called GURU).
          So what I have done is to make the person into singles,
          symmetrical and asymmetrical pairs (no triads) and see
          what they do when they follow another to a certain
          destination. The observed result (a so-called "side-
          effect") is not a perfect circle ring formation but a
          formation that is quite a bit less perfect but it is one
          much closer to that which we identify as a "ring formation"
          in public gathering places. So now we are planning to work
          on the Gathering program some more and write up our results.

          While I was modifying the Gathering program I had a
          discussion with Bob Stewart a friend and colleague of mine
          for many years and one who uses PCT in his own teaching and
          research. He wondered if I could devise a program wherein
          the actors would attempt to achieve two DIFFERENT goals AT
          THE SAME TIME. I selected the goals for each actor to
          1) follow another actor (called "symmetrical withs") AND
          2) seek a destination at the SAME TIME. What happened is
          what we expected from the PCT model: the two actors "freeze"
          in mid-screen. This can be seen and interpreted as E-motion
          (the stopping of motion). I plan to work on this some more
          than perhaps Clark, Bill and I can write up a little paper
          on "Emotion: A PCT View".


          I really don't plan to say that others should "do what I do"
          but I do think that some of what I have been doing could be
          helpful for understanding PCT (or LCST) by others. As Bill
          has pointed out many times (most recently to Jeff) one has
          to work with the model to understand it. ONE way of doing
          this is to get the demonstration disk and use it. Along
          with this I think that those who create these programs should
          continue to make them available to others to use in their
          research. Perhaps there should be much more discussion of
          our own research on the net (as Ed Ford pointed out) rather
          than discussing others research (obviously I am guilty of NOT
          doing this!). Research designs and proposals should be
          discussed on the net more often (and with more understanding)
          than in the past. Finally, we should find a way (other than
          my way of silence) to deal with the issue of epistemology that
          keeps coming up on the net. The central assumption of PCT is
          that there may be a "real" world outside of a human organism
          but it is impossible for an organism to know "it"; "it"
          (as George Herbert Mead stated many years ago) is simply
          "there". Yes, it is ALL ALL ALL ALL perception.

          Regards, Chuck