What in the name of PCT is this

[Jim Dundon 06.02.07.1046]

Sitting at my computer this morning I put limewire on to look for a particular song and that act reminded me of the fact that there was a singer a freind of mine had told me about that I also wanted to download. I tried very hard to remember it but could not. A minute or two later as I worked with limewire something in me noticed that the name was almost visible. I momentarily let my attentiveness relax and over two or three seconds the last name appeared first visually and subsequently as I saw it very dimly I was able to say it and then saw it clearly as I had written it. I could not remember the first name by trying so I went about typing the last name and as I did so the first name just appeared in my concious mind.

So how was my controling effecting my success in remembering these things.. I can't really say success because I was not trying. I just put the goal aside and it seems to have been done for me, not by me. It is as though I had only to "let" it happen when it wanted to happen.

Were there some unconcious search actions taking place? If they're always unconcious how would we know they are search actions and not something else. Should we say it appears as though there unconcious search actions

In typing this I noticed some errors and as I corrected them the same thing was happening . I had to "let" The correct spelling appear only it seems that it happened faster and therefore I had a slight sense of it being tied to my searching action. In the former case however it was minutes removed and I had totally put the wanting out of my concious miind

Best

Jim D

Sitting at my computer this
morning I put limewire on to look for a particular song and that act
reminded me of the fact that there was a singer a freind of mine had told
me about that I also wanted to download. I tried very hard to remember it
but could not. A minute or two later as I worked with limewire
something in me noticed that the name was almost visible. I
momentarily let my attentiveness relax and over two or three seconds the
last name appeared first visually and subsequently as I saw it very dimly
I was able to say it and then saw it clearly as I had written it. I
could not remember the first name by trying so I went about typing the
last name and as I did so the first name just appeared in my concious
mind.

So how was my controling effecting my success in remembering these
things… I can’t really say success because I was not trying.
I just put the goal aside and it seems to have been done for me, not by
me. It is as though I had only to “let” it happen when it
wanted to happen.
[From Bill Powers (2007.06.02.1235 MDT)]

Jim Dundon 06.02.07.1046] –

I’ve noticed something very similar. When I’m trying to remember
something, there’s no “effort” I can make that will help. All I
can do is think about it for a while, then give up and go on to something
else. After a while, most often, the desired memory will appear.
Sometimes, just as you describe, I get some preliminary warning, like a
sense that the desired memory is there, but just beyond reach. Again I
just have to wait, and preferably do something else. then all of a sudden
it’s there. I don’t see visual images as you do, but it’s almost
that.

This is obviously a function that is not under voluntary or aware
control. I’ve learned what I can do that will usually result in the
desired memory, and of course when that works I perceive the memory, but
what is happening behind the scenes remains a mystery to me. PCT doesn’t
suggest any explanation.

Best,

Bill P.

[Martin Taylor 2007.06.02.17.12]

[From Bill Powers (2007.06.02.1235 MDT)]

Jim Dundon 06.02.07.1046] --

Sitting at my computer this morning I put limewire on to look for a particular song and that act reminded me of the fact that there was a singer a freind of mine had told me about that I also wanted to download. I tried very hard to remember it but could not. A minute or two later as I worked with limewire something in me noticed that the name was almost visible. I momentarily let my attentiveness relax and over two or three seconds the last name appeared first visually and subsequently as I saw it very dimly I was able to say it and then saw it clearly as I had written it. I could not remember the first name by trying so I went about typing the last name and as I did so the first name just appeared in my concious mind.

So how was my controling effecting my success in remembering these things.. I can't really say success because I was not trying. I just put the goal aside and it seems to have been done for me, not by me. It is as though I had only to "let" it happen when it wanted to happen.

I've noticed something very similar. ... PCT doesn't suggest any explanation.

My notion is that it's a perceptual phenomenon, not an example of control. PCT says nothing about the nature of specific perceptual functions. HPCT argues that the perceptual functions are arranged like a multilayer perceptron, but without specifying the nature of the functions int eh separate layers. It's a little hard to see how such phenomena might arise in a strict HPCT system, but wih appropriate perceptual functions, perhaps they can.

A while ago I proposed a different organization, that put the "categorical/logical" perceptual functions beside every analogue layer of the hierarchy rather than above then all. The analogue-to-logical interface incorporated associative analogues of flip-flops.

It's a "Just-So-Story", since I can't think of any experiment to compare this with a straight analogue hierarchy with a categorical interface beween the levels below and the levels above. But it does seem to account naturally for the sort of thing Jim describes, as well as for the kind of "languaging" effects he talked about in earlier messages.

If there's any interest in re-examining these notions, I may have time after I return in mid-July (though I'm home then for only a couple of weeks). I mention them now only because twice in a couple of weeks things have come up that such an arrangement seems to deal with quite naturally.

Martin

[From Rick Marken (2007.06.02.1830)]

Martin Taylor (2007.06.02.17.12) --

>Jim Dundon 06.02.07.1046] --
>
>>Sitting at my computer this morning I put limewire on to look for a
>>particular song and that act reminded me of the fact that there was
>>a singer a freind of mine had told me about that I also wanted to
>>download. I tried very hard to remember it but could not.

My notion is that it's a perceptual phenomenon, not an example of
control.

It doesn't seem so to me. I think Jim was talking about recalling, not
perceiving, a name. This seems like a memory retrieval rather than a
perception phenomenon. I would call it a control of imagination
(rather than perception) phenomenon. Jim was trying to bring a
singer's name into imagination. To do this he would have to go through
memory (which I think of as content addressable reference signals) and
play back the reference for the desired name as an imagination. I
agree with Bill that PCT doesn't say much about how this recall
process is done but I think Bill is being too humble when he says that
PCT has nothing to say about it at all. Bill provides what seem to me
to be some very useful speculations about memory in B:CP.

What's interesting about Jim's experience (which I have had myself,
too many times now) is that he was only able to recall the name, which
he knew he had stored in memory, when he _stopped trying_ to recall
it. That is, I think his recall improved when he got consciousness out
of the way. This suggests to me that what might be going on is that
reorganization -- which would tend to kick in when you are trying to
recall something and can't -- gets in the way of the recall process.
Which makes sense, to the extent that reorganization is randomly
changing connections in memory when you can't recall somethng. When
you stop trying to recall consciously, reorganization stops (there is
no error resulting from failure to recall) and the unconscious recall
process goes on and eventually finds the name.

I think there might be ways to test this idea using a procedure like
Roger Brown's famous "tip of the tongue" test. Brown gave people
definitions of esoteric words and asked them to indicate when they
thought they knew the word but just couldn't quite recall it: a tip of
the tongue state. Brown then asked his subjects things about the word,
like what the thought the first letter was, how long the unknown word
was, etc. People did pretty well at describing these features of the
word even though they could not name the word itself, which is what
you might expect from a content addressable memory system. To test the
reorganization idea you might have people consciously try to remember
the "tip of the tongue" word on some trials and to ignore it on other
trials and see how long it takes for them to get it (if they get it)
on each type of trial.

I think it would really be nice to do some PCT based memory
experiment. It might be a good way to get another toe in the door of
conventional psychology.

Best

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken PhD
Lecturer in Psychology UCLA
Statistical Analyst VHA
rsmarken@gmail.com

[From Bill Powers
(2007.06.02.1235 MDT)]

Jim Dundon 06.02.07.1046] –

So how was my controling
effecting my success in remembering these things… I can’t really say
success because I was not trying. I just put the goal aside
and it seems to have been done for me, not by me. It is as though I
had only to “let” it happen when it wanted to happen.

[Bill P] I’ve noticed something very similar. … PCT doesn’t suggest any
explanation.

[Martin] My notion is that it’s a perceptual phenomenon, not an example
of control.
[From Bill Powers (2007.06.03.0930 MDT)]
Martin Taylor 2007.06.02.17.12 –
Well, I tried to answer Jim by showing (perhaps a little too indirectly)
that it was an example of control, even if PCT can’t “explain”
the phenomenon. Even Jim is relating how he controls remembering things.
He “puts the goal aside” and his action is “not
trying,” whatever detailed changes in behavior those actions involve
like stopping current attempts to make it happen, turning attention
elsewhere, relaxing, and so on (all, of course, with the higher-order
intent of recovering the memory). I commented that I do the same things,
with the same intent, and get pretty much the same perceptual results. So
the control process works with reasonable reliability, even if PCT can’t
explain why those changes of behavior have the desired effects.
PCT doesn’t explain how that works any more than it explains how I digest
the food that I eat to keep from feeling hungry. Most the of the things
we do to make our perceptions match what we want to experience work in
ways that we can’t explain (out of our own knowledge and experience, that
is) and that PCT is not concerned with (though physics and chemistry
are). This is particularly true of things we do internally, mentally, to
control our perceptions. We learn what we have to do to get the result we
want, but the state of knowlege being what it is, we have no
understanding of why those actions have those effects. That’s just how we
work.
PCT is about using behavior to control the states of our perceptions.
Explaining why certain behaviors affect certain perceptions is a matter
of neurology, physiology, chemistry, and physics. If explanations exist
we can use them in PCT models. Otherwise we just note that this
kind of behavior has that kind of effect on our experiences, and
use that knowledge to achieve control of perception.

As to the flip-flop model, Martin, I still don’t understand how it’s
supposed to work, so perhaps when you have time you could explain that,
or illustrate it with a demonstration or model.

Best.

Bill P.