I would like to give an on-line PCT Workshop on Saturday, June 26 at 9am PDT.
The focus of the Workshop will be an Excel version of my 1990 spreadsheet model of a hierarchy of control systems. Information about the spreadsheet, and a means of downloading it, can be found here.
If you are tired of all this fancy 21st century technology and would like to learn about the PCT model the way it’s supposed to be learned, using good old-fashioned 1990’s technology, then this is the course for you. What I envision is a fairly informal, interactive workshop where participants can use the spreadsheet model to demonstrate to themselves some important properties of the PCT model.
If you would like to attend the workshop please let me know via email: email@example.com.
Rick, it is interesting that you are posting this information now, as I have been thinking about PCT in terms of current practices of Psychology particularly Behavioral Analysis. A question I have is in the PCT model would critical control be at the “lower levels?” When I think of computers binary and hexadecimal are considered low level languages.
The first analogy that I have been contemplating is the comparator being related to the concept of Motivating Operations. Motivating operations establish the “value” of a reinforcer. For example, if we are deprived of food a slice of bread would a high MO. However, we wouldn’t look twice at that piece of bread if we just finished a 4 course dinner. Hunger is part of our biological needs. At higher levels the “comparator” would reicieve signals from our emotions, values, and beliefs. And at higher levels when our prefrontal cortex kicks in logic and reason would also kick in. Memory and experience would kick in at various levels in the processes. All of these ideas are still being worked on in my thinking process. Do you have any thoughts about these early ideas?
I am interested in your webinar, but not sure what my course schedule looks like. Things go by so fast it is next to impossible to justify scheduling time for things that aren’t directly related course work. I was taking a speed reading course when I had a course break. Unfortunately, my 4 year old and I got COVID and that slowed me down a bit more. I was over the worse of it, but I found if I push myself the way I did B.C. (Before COVID) I suffer certain relapses that are hard to explain, but cause extreme fatigue and mental fuzziness. I am extremely grateful that my little guy doesn’t seem to be suffering any latent effects, but it is hard to tell as he is still non-vebal. Hope to see you the 26th.
I am going to change the day of the PCT with Excel Workshop to Thursday, June 24th at 9:00am Pacific Time (which I believe is now 5:00 pm London time). I hope this makes it possible for those who had scheduling problems (and anyone else who is interested) to attend. I want to have at least 10 (and at most 20) people in the workshop and right now I have 2 with 2 more possible. If I don’t get at least 8 by the end of this week I will probably call it off.
If I do get a quorum I will record it. So for those who want to attend but can’t make it there will be a recording available. But I hope some more people will try to make it. If you sign up on this thread please also send me an email so I have your email address and can send you the url of the Zoom call.
By the way, I found out that the spreadsheet runs in both PC and Mac Excel except some of the commands are different. I’ll put up something at the spreadsheet demo page to explain this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t run properly in Google Sheets, which is free (some of the displays don’t work).
By the way, I don’t think you need Excel in order to get something out of the workshop. The aim of the workshop is to use the spreadsheet model to give you a better, more concrete understanding of how the PCT model works. And I will be screen sharing the demo so you can see how the magic works.
This interactive Workshop will show how a spreadsheet model of a hierarchy of control systems can be used to illustrate some basic facts about how the PCT model works and how it applies to understanding the behavior of living systems, especially humans. If you would like to attend, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m no expert on this but the way I do it is by going to the main page of Discourse, which lists all the categories and subcategories of posts. Click on a subcategory that seem to fit your post (or just click on the Category “Uncategorized”), scroll down and click where it says “Start a new conversation”. You’ll get a template for a post; Fill it out, click on “+Create Topic” and Bob’s your uncle; you have started a new thread.
RM: I see I never replied to your questions. An answer to this one might actually be provided by the “PCT with Excel” workshop, which I hope will be much more exciting than it sounds and requires only minimal understanding of spreadsheets.
DP: The first analogy that I have been contemplating is the comparator being related to the concept of Motivating Operations. Motivating operations establish the “value” of a reinforcer.
RM: I would say that Motivating Operations are disturbances to a controlled variable; in your example they are a disturbance to something like nutrient levels in the blood. Nutrient levels are perceived and continuously compared to intrinsic reference signals by the comparators of intrinsic control systems. The disturbances created by the Motivating Operations result in perceived nutrient levels going way below their reference specifications leading to large error signals coming out of the comparators; these error signals are experienced as hunger and they drive control systems in the behavioral hierarchy of controls systems which try to figure out ways to get those nutrient levels back to their reference states.
DP: For example, if we are deprived of food a slice of bread would a high MO. However, we wouldn’t look twice at that piece of bread if we just finished a 4 course dinner. Hunger is part of our biological needs.
RM: Yes. So it’s really the error signals coming out of comparators that are the “motivators”; when there is no error (as there is after a big dinner) there is no motivation to do anything to control nutrition levels. Although there is always room for dessert. But in that case, the error driving you to eat it is probably in the system controlling for the taste of sweetness.
DP: At higher levels the “comparator” would reicieve signals from our emotions, values, and beliefs. And at higher levels when our prefrontal cortex kicks in logic and reason would also kick in. Memory and experience would kick in at various levels in the processes. All of these ideas are still being worked on in my thinking process. Do you have any thoughts about these early ideas?
RM: I think I see what you are getting at: Hunger (errors in the nutrition control systems) drives complex behaviors that contribute to removing that error: hunting, planting, cooking, eating. I think you could get a better idea of how PCT explains this if you can attend the “PCT with Excel” workshop.
DP: I am interested in your webinar, but not sure what my course schedule looks like. Things go by so fast it is next to impossible to justify scheduling time for things that aren’t directly related course work.
RM: Well then you are experiencing life the same way I am! Since I wrote the announcement of the Workshop I have changed the date to Thursday, June 24th at 9am. I will send you the Zoom invitation on the day of the workshop if you will send me your email address (or just send me an email at email@example.com). If you can’t make it you can just ignore the invitation.
I you can’t make it there will probably be a recording of the session. But if you can make it that would be best because I would like it to be highly interactive and I’m hoping that the spreadsheet will help answer your questions.
RM: Yes, just click this icon in the menu bar at the top of the post. When you do you’ll get this pop-up window:
The default pick is to upload a file from your computer. To do that just click on “Choose Files” and and menu through your files until you get to the one you want to attach and click it. Then press “Upload”. Same for uploading a file from the web; you just have to know the URL of the file.