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  • CYBERNETICS FORUM

    TH E PUBLICATION OF TH E AM ERICAN SOCI ETY FOR CYBERN ETICS

    Fall/Winter 1976 VolumeVI II Nos.3&4

    PROCEEDINGS OF THE SYMPOSIUM, "RELEVANCE AND PERSPECTIVE OF CYBERNETICS IN PSYCHOLOGY" held at ANNUAL CONVENTION OF AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C., SEPTEMBER, 1976.

    IN THIS ISSUE

    Guest Editorial: Relevance and Perspective of Cybernetics in Psycho/ogy, P. Bart Vrtunski . . ... .. .. .. . . ....... ... . . . .. . .. ... . . . .... . ....... 71

    Articles:

    The Cybernetic Revolution in Psychology, Wi lliam T . Powers . .. ........... ....... 72

    "Downward Causation" in Hierarehiat Selective-Retention and/or Feedback Systems, Dona ld T . Campbell ......... . . .. . . .... ... ... .. . ...... . . . . . ...... .. 87

    Objects: Tokens for (Eigen)-Behaviors, Heinz Von Foerster .. ... . ... . . . . . .... .. . . 91

    Afference Copy, the Closed-Loop Analogue of von Holst's Efference Copy, Wayne A . Hershberger ..... . . . . .... . . . .... . . .. .. .. . . .. . . . . .... .... . 97

    A Rute by Any Other Name is a Contra! System, Hugh A. Petrie .... .. ..... . . . .... 103

    Cybernetics and Cognitive Deve!opment, Ernst von Glasersfe ld . .... . . . ... . ... .... 115

    Cybernetics and Dynamic Patterning, Vernon Rowland . ... . . ... . . .. .. . .. . . ... . 121

    Cybernetics in Psychology: Can the CLC (Ciosed Loop Contra!) Rep/ace the S-R (Stimulus-Response)?, P. Bart Vrtunski .. . ... .. .. .. .. ... . .. .. . ......... 127

    Toward a Unitary Concept of Mind and Mental 11/ness: Part II George T .L. Land and Christina Kenneally . .. . ....... . ..... .. . .. ... . . ... . 131

    Cybernetics and Learning Theory, Joseph Grünfeld ........ . .. . ..... . . . ....... 138

    A Reply to Katz' Analysis, William T. Powers . . .... .. .... . ... .. . ... . .... .. . . 143

    Features :

    About the Authors ... . . .. .... . . ... . . . .... .. .. .. ... . .. .. .. .. .. . .... 14 7

    Editorial Policy . .... . .. . ... . . . .. .. .. . . .. ........ . .... . . ... ... .. .. . 150

    ASC Publication Order Form . ... . . ... . .. ..... . ... .. ...... .. ...... . . . .. 1 51

  • Editor V.G. DROZIN

    Department of Physics Buckne/1 University

    Lewisburg, PA 17837

    ASSOCIATE EDITORS

    Charles I. Bartfeld School of Business Administraion, American University

    Mass. & Nebraska Aves. N. W. Washington, D.C. 20016

    N. A. Coulter, Jr. Department of Surgery Curriculum in Biomedical Engineering

    University of South Carolina School of Medicine

    Chapel Hili, NC 27514

    Charles H. Dym Dym, Frank & Company 1875 Connecticut Ave., N. W. Washington, DC 20009

    Roland Fischer Maryland Psychiatrie Research Center

    Box3235 Baltimore, MD 21228

    BOARD OF EDITORS

    Gertrude Herrmann Conference Ca Jendar Editor 1131 University Blvd. West, No. 2122 Si/ver Spring, MD 20902

    Harold K. Hughes The State University College Potsdam, NY 13767

    Akira lshikawa Graduate School of Business Administration, New York University

    100 Trinity Place New York, NY 10006

    Frederick Kile Aid Association for Lutherans Appleton, W/54911

    Felix F. Kopstein 1913 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Julius Korein ELG Laboratory, Bellevue Hospital Dept. of Neurology, New York

    University Medical Center 550 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016

    OFFICERS - 1977

    Mark N. Ozer, President

    Robert M. Landau SIA Science Information Assoc. 3514 Plyers Mi// Road Kensington, MD 20795

    Christopher Longyear Book Review Editor Department of English

    University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195

    Mark N. Ozer The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Seiences

    3000 Connecticut AvenueN. W. Washington, D.C. 20008

    Doreen Ray Steg Department of Human

    Behavior & Development, Drexel University

    Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Paul Studer School of Library and Information

    Science, State University College of Artsand Science

    Genesco, NY 14454

    Louise G. Becker, Vice President (Educational) Israel Feldman, Vice President (Administrative)

    Gertrude Herrmann, Secretary

    DIRECTORS

    Roy Hermann, Chairman of the Board Mark N. Ozer, President (ex officio) Gary D. Bearden Melvin S. Day Bonnie W. Dunning Charles H. Dym

    David D. Bergan, Treasurer

    Eleanor lson Franklin Carl Hammer William E. Hanna, Jr. Kumpati S. Narendra Carlis A. Taylor Heinz Von Foerster

    ASIS LIAISON

    Laurence B. Heilprin University of Maryland

    4800 Berwyn Hause Road College Park, MD 20740

    Laurence B. Heilprin, Director-at-Large

    PUBLISHED AND DISTRIBUTED BY: Western Periodicals Co. 13000 Raymer Street North Hollywood, Calitornia 91605 (213) TR5-0555

    SUBSCRIPTION RATES:

    ASC Cybernetics Forum Domestic $35.00 per year Foreign $40.00 per year

    © 1978 American Society for Cybernetics

    Journal of Cybernetics and Information Science Domestic $55.00 per year Foreign $60.00 per year

    Both Publications Domestic $80.00 per year Foreign $90.00 per year

    RBD American Scciety for Cyb2rne~ics

  • GUEST EDITORIAL

    Relevance and Perspectives of Cybernetics in Psychology Under this title, a symposiumwas held at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in September 1976 in Washington, DC. The idea for the symposiumwas born during an informal meet- ing of B. Brown, W. Hershberger, W. Powers, and myself at the APA Convention the year before in Chicago. At that time we talked mostly about Powers' book, which had been published in the fall of 1973. In the judgment of many people, including myself, this book represents the first systematically developed frame- werk linking cybernetics and psychology. There were many aspects ofthislink that attracted our attention. The relevance of cybernetics to psychology is not a new idea to either cyberneticians or psychologists. From the very beginning, cyberneticians courageously attempted to examine some of the most complex psycho- logical problems, and psychologists, perhaps seeing a new panacea in the relationship, participated in large numbers in various conferences, presenting cybernetic interpretation of a psychological mechanism or developing some new reference point linking the two areas of research. Perhaps the most prominent among these early attempts to assess the relevance of cybernetics to psycholo- gy was made by Miller, Galanter, and Pribram in 1960. In defining their starting position, they de- scribed themselves as "psychologists who like alternatives to nickel-in-the slot, stimulus-response con- ceptions of man ... " On the other hand, they found "the men who have pioneered in (cybernetics) ... have been remarkably innocent about psychology." The issue of stimulus-response (S-R), that is, the cause-and-effect relationship, are mentioned frequent- ly in several papers of this symposium . Since most of the readers of this publication arenot psycholo- gists, I would like to sketch briefly the main points of the S-R controversy. In the process of ernerging as a science, psychology defined itself as a science of behavior, and in its quest for an elementary unit of observation or measurement, it chose behavioral response to a physically measurable stimulus. The reasoning behind this choice seems to have lain in a simple analogy: if physiology can reduce all neuro- muscular phenomena to a reflextype of event in which only a sensor, sensory, internuncial, and motor neurons and a muscle are required to describe a large number of observations, why then would psychology not be able to do the same with stimuli and overt behavioral responses? Sechenov and Sheringt~n, even though misunderstood, set up the general guidelines of psychological theorizing in this area. Watson contributed most to the establishment of the basic claims of the developing science of psychology, i.e., that a response is the consequence of a stimulus.

    The mostprominent of present day S-R theorists is without doubt B. F. Skinner, with his behavior-is-a- function-of-reinforcement-contingencies dictum. Most of the criticism of the S-R approach is, as a con- sequence, directed toward his theory of so-called operant behavior. The thinking along S-R lines, among psychologists, however, extends far beyend Skinner. The S-R doctrine, as it came to be known, is such an all-pervasive entity today that it is taken for granted that the principal task of our science is to es- tablish a correlation between stimuli and responses. A statement to that effect is usually made in first few pages of virtually every psychology textbook, be it introductory or advanced. Even authors of texts only remotely related to psychology as a science, e.g., psychotherapy, feel compelled to allot the first chapter or two to the "core" of "scientific truth" about S-R, conditioning, and associated hardware.

    A psychelogist disenchanted with the cul-de-sacs of the S-R doctrine has to leap many hurdles in order to arrive at cybernetics as a viable alternative. He has not only his internal resistances and the resist- ance of establishment psychology to overcome. W. G. Walter's statement that there is "disrepute .. . ac• cumulated areund the term" cybernetics, sounds as truthful today as it did eight years ago when he made it. Too much trivia and too few predictions are presented as cybernetics in the current literature. In- stead of hard data, one is often confronted