Perceptual Control as a unifying concept in psychology

R. S. Marken, Warren Mansell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We show how a control system model of behavior called Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) can provide a unifying framework for research in all traditional areas of psychology – as a basis for building hypotheses, working models and applications. PCT views behavior, at all levels, as the control of perceptual inputs. This view is virtually the opposite of that of now standard models – exemplified by the General Linear Model (GLM) -- which view behavior as controlled by perceptual inputs. The PCT model calls for a new approach to research that is aimed at discovering the input variables that organisms control, rather than the input variables that control organisms. This new approach, called The Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), can be applied to the study of all aspects of behavior, from motor control to cognitive neuroscience to counseling and clinical psychology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)190-195
    JournalReview of General Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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