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The Study of Living Control Systems

The Study of Living Control Systems
A Guide to Doing Research on Purpose

$34.99 (P)

  • Publication planned for: February 2021
  • availability: Not yet published - available from February 2021
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108707336

$ 34.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This book is a guide to doing a new kind of psychological research that focuses on the purposes rather than the causes of behavior. The research methods described here are based on a theory of behaviour called Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) that views organisms as purposeful rather than mechanical systems. According to PCT, purposeful behaviour involves acting to control perceptual input variables. Thus, understanding the purposeful behaviour of living organisms is a matter of determining the perceptual variables they are controlling when they are carrying out various behaviors. This book outlines research methods that determine what perceptual variables an organism is controlling, how it controls those variables, and why. It also describes methods for studying how an organism develops the ability to control different perceptions and how consciousness might be involved in this process.

    • Uses concrete demonstrations to describe the theoretical justification for the new approach to behavioral research described in the book
    • Includes pointers to online demonstrations that allow the reader to test these ideas for themselves
    • Provides a step-by-step description of this new approach to research using examples from several different disciplines
    • Ensures these novel research methods are accessible to readers in different disciplines who have had no previous experience with them
    • Suggests ways to start a research program using this new approach to psychological research
    • Helps faculty and students develop research agendas that reflect the aims of a research program
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book provides, with practical examples, some much-needed insight into how to study what living things do from beyond a stimulus–response perspective. This understanding has wide-ranging consequences for the study of behavior.' Heather Broccard-Bell, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychological Sciences, University of San Diego, USA

    'The history of science is marked by revolutions that are advanced by novel methods of observation and experiment. Richard Marken provides a comprehensive and indispensable research guide to a scientific revolution still in the making: understanding the purposeful nature of the behavior of living organisms as they act as living control systems.' Gary Cziko, Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    'This is a beautifully crafted book that provides a refreshingly different perspective on research. Each chapter is like opening a door into a whole new way of thinking about what we already thought we knew. This book is a must for both novice and experienced researchers.' Sara Tai, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester

    'Behavior serves a purpose, instead of being a reaction to a stimulus. What does this imply for a new science of psychology? What kind of theorizing, modeling, experimentation is adequate? Seriously occupied with these questions, I read this book. I was blown away by the creative, often surprising, insights and advice.' Franz Mechsner, Associate Professor, Northumbria University

    'Richard Marken, one of the finest experimental psychologists of our time, has written a concise and readable introduction to Perceptual Control Theory. It will be a valuable resource to all students studying behavior.' Henry Yin, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University

    'This book successfully turns the spotlight on experimental methodology for testing living control systems. Richard Marken describes methods based on Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) that can be used to study learning, social, cognitive, and psychotherapeutic constructs. Both novice and expert researchers should read this survey of PCT research.' Grace B. Dyrud, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Augsburg University

    'Richard Marken leads the academic world in the study of living control systems. The research he describes takes forward pioneering methodologies. Full of diverse examples and illustrative diagrams, this book now makes these transformative methods practical for researchers, practitioners, and students across the life and social sciences.' Warren Mansell, Reader in Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, UK, and Editor of ‘The Interdisciplinary Handbook of Perceptual Control Theory: Living Control Systems IV’

    'In this book, Richard Marken provides researchers with the information necessary to design and re-examine research in the field of psychology. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to do quality research in the fields of cognition, experimental psychology, consciousness, and behavior.' Shelley A. W. Roy, Senior Faculty Member for the International Association of Applied Control Theory

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: February 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108707336
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from February 2021
  • Table of Contents

    1. Living control systems
    2. Doing research on purpose
    3. Getting started
    4. Basic research on purpose
    5. Exploring the hierarchy
    6. Learning
    7. Social control
    8. Back to the future (of PCT research).

  • Author

    Richard S. Marken, University of California, Los Angeles
    Richard S. Marken is a leading authority on the Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) model of behavior. Now retired from a career as a psychology professor, human factors engineer, and health policy researcher, he still actively consults and carries out a program of research testing PCT.

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