Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) and How It Transforms Our Understanding

Written by Jamie Acutt · 3 min read >

January 27


05:55 pm - 05:55 pm

Event Category:

CybSights Insights Series

How does Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) explain behaviour, purpose, the self, and society? Warren Mansell & Tom Scholte engage

The Insights Series is an eclectic and learned collection of monthly events on the 4th Tuesday of each month hosted by Cybernetics Society. There will be lectures, seminars, conversations, debates, participation, all advancing our knowledge of cybernetics and related disciplines and their applications to real world needs.

Cybernetics is the science of achievement, the great meta-discipline of our time.

The CybSights Insights series is normally curated and hosted by the Secretary, Angus Jenkinson, FCybS. Attendance is free. Non-members are invited to make an optional donation or to Join.

In this session we also welcome members of the PCT discipline.

We are particularly delighted to be able to welcome an eminent member of a discipline introducing what is of the first importance and relevance to members of the Society and their friends. (And he is engaging.)

What is Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) and How Does It Transform Our Understanding of Behaviour, Purpose, the Self, and Society?

This session will take the form of an interview by Prof Tom Scholte, UBC, Vancouver, who will ask Dr Warren Mansell to describe his first encounter with PCT, the development of PCT by William T. Powers in the 1950s onwards, explain PCT’s unique conceptualisation of behaviour, demonstrate and explain MOL, and survey the diverse range of applications of PCT to date. Warren will demonstrate some of his experiments to enable participants to see how PCT provides a revolutionary set of insights and logic for understanding behaviour.

To orient this for the members of the Cybernetics Society, PCT is a powerful theoretical paradigm and set of models for understanding behaviour in human and other living organisms. Its founder, Bill Powers, had close ties with the cybernetics community and many cyberneticians value it greatly as an adjunct to our core fields. Wwth Method of Levels (MoL), Warren has also added a signifcant cognitive innovation ,” says Angus Jenkinson, FCybS.

Dr Warren Mansell, Reader in Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester

Dr Mansell encountered PCT in the late 1990s when it provided an integrative framework for his work on psychological interventions for mental health problems. Since 2006, he has researched, practised and trained professionals in Method of Levels Therapy (MOL), a universal form of active listening that is based on PCT and designed to help people with wide ranging problems and severities reduce their distress and regain control over their lives. Over the last five to ten years, his work has diversified to include research and innovation within the fields of carer communication in dementia, human performance, motor control, and robotics, all based on PCT. Dr Mansell has over 100 publications on PCT, he has hosted the International Association of Perceptual Control Theory in 2007, 2010, and 2019, and is an active member of the PCT global community. He edited the (“Excellent” —AJ) Interdisciplinary Handbook of Perceptual Control Theory, published by Academic Press in 2020.

Join us, and find out just how deep the question, “What’s my motivation?” can take us!

Prof Tom Scholte

Tom is a seasoned interviewer and will help the conversation...

Tom Scholte s the Vice-President elect of the American Society for Cybernetics and a Professor of Acting and Directing for both stage and screen at the University of British Columbia. Tom’s interviews with authors is a valuable online asset about cybernetics. As a writer, actor, producer, his work has been seen at such venues as the Toronto, Berlin, and Sundance Film Festivals. He is the Faculty Lead of Conflict Theatre@UBC; a joint initiative of his home department, UBC Human Resources, and UBC Office of Equity and Inclusion. His research into complex social contexts can be found in such journals as Kybernetes, Constructivist Foundations, and Futures.

Q&A and audience participation!

Special tickets for CSGnet PCT members

Cybernetics Society – a learned society to join?

Cybernetics offers a distinct “go” — techniques — to address local and global challenges of the 21st century.

The Cybernetics Society promotes and offers education and research opportunities in the rich field of cybernetics. It is a specially authorised learned society regulated by the FSA and established by a 1974 Act of Parliament. To join visit our membership system or pick the Join ticket. We give MCybS and FCybS postnomal awards.

Cybernetics and the Society seek understanding of the vast domain of active causation, internally controlled behaviour towards outcomes of value in living organisms, people, ecosystems, societies and firms, and non-living machines. We cultivate the principles and praxis required to design policies, interventions, and innovations for social and ecological weal.

Cybernetics plays into and strongly influences many scientific and practice fields including design, epistemology, ecology, biology, psychology and living behaviour, technology and engineering, social policy, and business practice. Many feature in the wonderfully aware and successful designers and thinkers of this series.

We are interested in people who are learners, advisers, researchers, academics, designers, leaders. Those involved in policy and practice — think tanks, central and local government, enterprises, foundations, academic and civil society institutions. These may range from Rowntree to RSA, Royal Society to the Royal Institute of British Architects, the local housing association to the UN. We place great importance on the value of cybernetics for better business. From startups to global giants, cybernetics offers powerful insight and tools for enterprise.

The Cybernetics Society has been hosting conversations and lectures since the late 1960s. We also have an Annual Conference. Videos are shared on our YouTube Channel. Get in touch of you have an idea. Follow us.

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