Control of Perception Should be Operationalized as a Fundamental Property of the Nervous System
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2011
Copyright © 2011 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Topics in Cognitive Science
Volume 3, Issue 2, pages 257–261, April 2011
How to Cite
Mansell, W. (2011), Control of Perception Should be Operationalized as a Fundamental Property of the Nervous System. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3: 257–261. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2011.01140.x
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2011
- Received 11 June 2010; received in revised form 9 December 2010; accepted 13 December 2010
- Control theory;
- Negative feedback;
This commentary proposes that “cognitive control” is neither componential nor emergent, but a fundamental feature of behavior. The term “control” requires an operational definition. This is best provided by the negative feedback loop that utilizes behavior to control perception; it does not control behavior per se. In order to model complex cognitive control, Perceptual Control Theory proposes that loops are organized into a dissociable hierarchical network (PCT; Powers, Clark, & McFarland, 1960; Powers, 1973a, 2008). In this way, behavior is dynamically adaptive to environmental disturbances, rather than being formed by, or superimposed upon, learned associations between stimulus and response.