William T. Powers (1926-2013) Visionary, collaborator & friend
A theory ahead of its time?
In 1973, William T. Powers published 'Behavior: The Control of Perception'. The book formalised the theory he had been developing since the 1950s, and now it is unifying the physical, life and social sciences. The book is available at livingcontrolsystems.com.
PCT provides a theory about how human beings and other living systems work – how they control what matters to them. Take a look at the video below to get started...
You can also try out a whole range of interesting ways to illustrate perceptual control on Gary Cziko's website.
This website gives you a glimpse at what a theory called PCT can do to help explain these things, and many, many more...
The idea is simple.
You don’t have to pay for it. It’s for everyone to use.
PCT in action
Take a look at how PCT is being used to develop realistic arm control in robots:
To see a wonderful array of robots implementing PCT, see Rupert Young's website and view his talk at TAROS 2014:
The following past Control Systems Group conference papers are available here:
Finally, please click here to read Kieran Lord's review of the conference.
The proceedings of the 2007 CSG conference at University of Manchester are available here.
Visits to PCTWeb...
PCTWeb has been running since 2009 and receives over 2000 visits per month. The current data for today, yesterday and the total visits since February 2012 are:
Join a Public List...
If you use PCT in your work or studies then please sign up to our public list by clicking here. The current list is available, updated Sep 2014 - here. We are making this available on PCTWeb to show the international uptake and applications of the theory.
There are regular discussions on CSGNet, which is described at mindreadings.com.
Or you may like to join the Student PCT Facebook Group by clicking the icon below...
Further Introductory Videos on PCT
In the YouTube video below, Warren Mansell explains the benefits of taking a PCT approach to teaching psychology in this TEDx talk at Burnley College in 2012.
PCT50 Conference, University of Manchester, UK
For the audio & powerpoints of Rick Marken's presentation on research methodology, click here.
Two online videos of Bill Powers' demonstrations:
This site gives you all you need to get your head round PCT – the key idea, its history, and its growing impact on our world view – from work to leisure, the science lab to the classroom, home life to world affairs.
Just click on one of the 10 tabs at the top of the screen to get started!
Or you can try one of the Quick Start links on the right of the page to see the theory in action.
The Evidence Base for PCT & Mental Health Applications
The current evidence base for PCT, accumulated over the last five decades to the present day, is summarised in a downloadable working document that will be updated regularly pending its publication as a review. Feedback is welcome. A working document of published papers on PCT and its application to mental health is also available here.
Recent Publications on PCT
Bell, H. C., & Pellis, S. M. (2011). A cybernetic perspective on food protection in rats: simple rules can generate complex and adaptable behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 82(4), 659-666.
Bell, H. C., Judge, K. A., Johnson, E. A., Cade, W. H., & Pellis, S. M. (2012). How is a cricket like a rat? Insights from the application of cybernetics to evasive food protective behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 84(4), 843-851.
Pellis, S. M., & Bell, H. C. (2011). Closing the circle between perceptions and behavior: a cybernetic view of behavior and its consequences for studying motivation and development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 1(4), 404-413.
Bell, H. C. (2014). Behavioral variability in the service of constancy. International Journal of Comparative Psychology.
McClelland, K. (in press). Cycles of conflict: A computational modelling alternative to Collins' theory of conflict escalation. Socological Theory.