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Research and Dissemination of Perceptual Control Theory: Methods, Results and Conflicts CSG Manchester 2007 Dr Warren Mansell University of Manchester.

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Presentation on theme: "Research and Dissemination of Perceptual Control Theory: Methods, Results and Conflicts CSG Manchester 2007 Dr Warren Mansell University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research and Dissemination of Perceptual Control Theory: Methods, Results and Conflicts CSG Manchester 2007 Dr Warren Mansell University of Manchester

2 PCT Research Control Paradigms PhenomenologyHybrid Designs Theoretical Applications Bipolar Disorder ‘Transdiagnostic’ approaches Dissemination Core UG Syllabus Specialist UG & PG Modules Intervention Method of Levels Treatment & Evaluation Self Help Approaches

3 Control Paradigm e.g. Tracker task (Bourbon; Powers) e.g. Tracker task (Bourbon; Powers) Image Control Task Image Control Task 31 images graded on one dimension (1 to 31) or two dimensions (1-15; 16; 17-31) 31 images graded on one dimension (1 to 31) or two dimensions (1-15; 16; 17-31) E.g. face valence – angry to happy E.g. face valence – angry to happy Participants is asked to control the image on the screen ‘as they wish’; (Q: What instructions are appropriate?) Participants is asked to control the image on the screen ‘as they wish’; (Q: What instructions are appropriate?)

4 Control Paradigm (cont.) Several versions Several versions No disturbance No disturbance Random disturbance (variable) Random disturbance (variable) Computer controlled; e.g. computer’s reference value is ‘extreme anger’ Computer controlled; e.g. computer’s reference value is ‘extreme anger’ Frame length variable Frame length variable Record all data frame by frame Record all data frame by frame Measure perceived control and self-reports Measure perceived control and self-reports

5 Research Questions Do Ps behave as though they are controlling their perception? Do Ps behave as though they are controlling their perception? What are the reference values? What are the reference values? Do people resist disturbances and control to maintain the reference values? Do people resist disturbances and control to maintain the reference values? How do Ps perceive the task? How do Ps perceive the task? Are certain control system variables more closely associated with psychological problems? E.g. gain, negative references Are certain control system variables more closely associated with psychological problems? E.g. gain, negative references Back

6 Phenomenology Aim: to explore first person perceptions over time, particularly in relation to psychological problems Aim: to explore first person perceptions over time, particularly in relation to psychological problems Open questions followed up by MoL-style questions (Q: Issue of intervention?) Open questions followed up by MoL-style questions (Q: Issue of intervention?) Interpretational Phenomenological Analysis Interpretational Phenomenological Analysis Does it fit with PCT? Does it fit with PCT? Several students: Higginson; Hodson; Huang; Westwood Several students: Higginson; Hodson; Huang; Westwood

7 Higginson & Mansell (2007) Six individuals who had overcome major problems, e.g. anorexia, chronic fatigue, traumatic grief, depression Six individuals who had overcome major problems, e.g. anorexia, chronic fatigue, traumatic grief, depression Asked about the process leading up to and during recovery Asked about the process leading up to and during recovery IPA analysis IPA analysis

8 Themes & sub-themes 1 Issues of Control Issues of Control Lack of control Lack of control “I feel like I had some control over what was going on and then all of a sudden its taken away” “I feel like I had some control over what was going on and then all of a sudden its taken away” Control by Others Control by Others “everyone was saying, oh well you need to go back to work and I just didn’t feel ready” “everyone was saying, oh well you need to go back to work and I just didn’t feel ready” Lack of understanding from others Lack of understanding from others Inability to see the future Inability to see the future Negative self view – lost confidence to do anything Negative self view – lost confidence to do anything

9 Themes & sub-themes 2 The Process of Change The Process of Change Avoidance versus Facing the Problem Avoidance versus Facing the Problem “I wasn’t facing anything, I was running away” “I wasn’t facing anything, I was running away” “I had to face up to any crap I had been through in my head” “I had to face up to any crap I had been through in my head” Gradual changes Gradual changes “it was a trial and error process” “it was a trial and error process” Sudden changes Sudden changes “Things just seemed to fall into place – che-ching!” “Things just seemed to fall into place – che-ching!”

10 Themes & sub-themes 3 New versus Old self New versus Old self Self as a changed person Self as a changed person Getting to know oneself Getting to know oneself Unfamiliar Old self Unfamiliar Old self Shifting perspective Shifting perspective Rational perspectives Rational perspectives Acceptance of past problem Acceptance of past problem Positive view of experience Positive view of experience

11 PCT Explanation Control problems owing to conflict (not explicit) Control problems owing to conflict (not explicit) Low order changes (gradual) and high order reorganisation (sudden) Low order changes (gradual) and high order reorganisation (sudden) High order self perceives operation of earlier lower order systems High order self perceives operation of earlier lower order systems ‘Going up a level’ as a process of shifting perspectives? ‘Going up a level’ as a process of shifting perspectives? Back

12 Hybrid Designs Reorganisation of Conflict Scale (RoC; Higginson & Mansell, 2007) Reorganisation of Conflict Scale (RoC; Higginson & Mansell, 2007) Items selected from theory and from qualitative study Items selected from theory and from qualitative study Blocking Reorganisation Blocking Reorganisation correlated with all other CBT maintaning processes, e.g. worry, experiential avoidance, thought suppression correlated with all other CBT maintaning processes, e.g. worry, experiential avoidance, thought suppression Facilitating Reorganisation Facilitating Reorganisation predicted solving presenting problem after one month, but only for highly distressing problems predicted solving presenting problem after one month, but only for highly distressing problems

13 Example Items Blocking Reorganisation Blocking Reorganisation “When I have a problem, if often seems that deciding to do one thing will stop me from doing something else” “When I have a problem, if often seems that deciding to do one thing will stop me from doing something else” “If I don’t find the solution to a problem straight away, it will only get worse” “If I don’t find the solution to a problem straight away, it will only get worse” Facilitating Reorganisation Facilitating Reorganisation “I feel that it helps to just take a step back and look at your problems from a different perspective” “I feel that it helps to just take a step back and look at your problems from a different perspective” “When I have a problem I find myself listening to my thoughts to get a sense of perspective on them” “When I have a problem I find myself listening to my thoughts to get a sense of perspective on them”

14 Undergraduate Study Explore Goal Conflict using a matrix method (Emmons & King, 1988) Explore Goal Conflict using a matrix method (Emmons & King, 1988) What predicts psychological distress? What predicts psychological distress? Degree of conflict? Degree of conflict? Tolerance of conflict? Tolerance of conflict? Whether goals are described as avoidance or approach goals? Whether goals are described as avoidance or approach goals? Back

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16 A Cognitive Model (Mansell, Morrison, Reid, Lowens & Tai, 2007) Mood swings are a consequence of conflicted, extreme, personal appraisals of changes in internal state Mood swings are a consequence of conflicted, extreme, personal appraisals of changes in internal state E.g. E.g. feelings of high energy = imminent success feelings of high energy = imminent success vs. feelings of high energy = mental breakdown vs. feelings of high energy = mental breakdown Feelings of low energy = safe, relaxing Feelings of low energy = safe, relaxing vs. Feelings of low energy = failure, boring vs. Feelings of low energy = failure, boring Leads to internal struggle trying to exert extreme control over internal states rather than active, successful ways of pursuing goals Leads to internal struggle trying to exert extreme control over internal states rather than active, successful ways of pursuing goals

17 High Energy, Agitated, High Mood “I must use this energy to excel and overcome all my problems” “I must slow down otherwise I will lose control of my mind and go into hospital” Conflicted Goals

18 INTERNAL STATE Success! Catastrophe! Safety! Failure! De-activatedHighly Activated Back

19 Candidates for Core Process? Processes conceptually overlap, e.g. thought suppression, safety behaviours, recurrent negative thinking Processes conceptually overlap, e.g. thought suppression, safety behaviours, recurrent negative thinking What are their shared features? What are their shared features? Experiential avoidance? Experiential avoidance? Perceived catastrophe? Perceived catastrophe? Self-destructiveness? Self-destructiveness?

20 Arbitrary Control (Powers, 1973, 2005; Adapted by Mansell, PAPTRAP) Part of Perceptual Control Theory Part of Perceptual Control Theory Attempts to make experience confirm to one set of goals without regard to other goals (and control systems) that may already be controlling that experience Attempts to make experience confirm to one set of goals without regard to other goals (and control systems) that may already be controlling that experience Involves no understanding of higher order motives Involves no understanding of higher order motives Persuading or ‘bullying’ self into action Persuading or ‘bullying’ self into action Creates conflict and cannot be resolved except by letting go of control and allowing ‘reorganisation’ Creates conflict and cannot be resolved except by letting go of control and allowing ‘reorganisation’

21 Arbitrary Control Across Domains? Worry: generation of perceived threat chronically conflicts with self-goals Worry: generation of perceived threat chronically conflicts with self-goals Safety behaviour: behaviour directed to avoid perceived threat conflicts with self-goals Safety behaviour: behaviour directed to avoid perceived threat conflicts with self-goals Self-attacking: attacks interfere with construction and maintenance of self-goals Self-attacking: attacks interfere with construction and maintenance of self-goals Experiential avoidance: suppression of normal, inevitable emotions, often using language Experiential avoidance: suppression of normal, inevitable emotions, often using language Mindless: chronically unaware of sources & consequences of this internal conflict Mindless: chronically unaware of sources & consequences of this internal conflict Back

22 Core UG Syllabus Mental health problems described from first person, phenomenological viewpoint Mental health problems described from first person, phenomenological viewpoint PCT model, MoL & service implications introduced PCT model, MoL & service implications introduced Lecture on self-regulatory approaches to personality, largely on PCT Lecture on self-regulatory approaches to personality, largely on PCT Back

23 Specialist UG/Pg Module “Control and Conflict in Human Behaviour” “Control and Conflict in Human Behaviour” 12 x 2 hour sessions 12 x 2 hour sessions Supported by virtual learning environment (in development): Supported by virtual learning environment (in development): Discussion forums Discussion forums Downloadable simulations, audio files Downloadable simulations, audio files Presentation on key papers in field Presentation on key papers in field Their own implication or application of PCT to chosen field Their own implication or application of PCT to chosen field

24 Aims To appreciate the importance of control as a property of living systems To appreciate the importance of control as a property of living systems To understand how control can be achieved in mechanistic terms To understand how control can be achieved in mechanistic terms To appreciate that conflict between different control systems best represents the problems to which humans need to adapt To appreciate that conflict between different control systems best represents the problems to which humans need to adapt To understand the principles, mechanisms, implications and applications of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT). To understand the principles, mechanisms, implications and applications of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT). To develop experience and understanding of Method of Levels as a psychotherapeutic technique. To develop experience and understanding of Method of Levels as a psychotherapeutic technique.

25 Course Sessions The Problems with Psychology: A light but critical analysis of psychology as a discipline The Problems with Psychology: A light but critical analysis of psychology as a discipline What is Control? Introduction of the principles and mechanisms of control within engineering, biology, cybernetics and psychology. What is Control? Introduction of the principles and mechanisms of control within engineering, biology, cybernetics and psychology. What Causes Conflict and How is it Managed? A discussion of conflict across wide domains including practical demonstrations and everyday examples What Causes Conflict and How is it Managed? A discussion of conflict across wide domains including practical demonstrations and everyday examples Revisiting Psychology. A collaborative attempt to revisit key areas from the perspective of control, such as operant conditioning, cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Revisiting Psychology. A collaborative attempt to revisit key areas from the perspective of control, such as operant conditioning, cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) Part One. An explanation of behaviour as the control of perception and introduction to the hierarchy of control systems. Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) Part One. An explanation of behaviour as the control of perception and introduction to the hierarchy of control systems. PCT Part Two. A discussion of conflict within PCT, its causes, consequences and resolution through reorganisation. PCT Part Two. A discussion of conflict within PCT, its causes, consequences and resolution through reorganisation. Terminology Redefined. A discussion of how familiar concepts within psychology sit within PCT, including: automaticity, awareness, learning, memory, language, beliefs, emotion, imagination, personality, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Terminology Redefined. A discussion of how familiar concepts within psychology sit within PCT, including: automaticity, awareness, learning, memory, language, beliefs, emotion, imagination, personality, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Applications of PCT. The wide uses of PCT within robotics, human factors, education, sociology, and psychology. Applications of PCT. The wide uses of PCT within robotics, human factors, education, sociology, and psychology. Peoples’ Experience of Change. A discussion of how people manage, experience and overcome conflict in their lives, and how approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy address change. Peoples’ Experience of Change. A discussion of how people manage, experience and overcome conflict in their lives, and how approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy address change. Method of Levels: A psychotherapeutic technique for facilitating intrinsic change or “How to do psychotherapy without getting in the way” Method of Levels: A psychotherapeutic technique for facilitating intrinsic change or “How to do psychotherapy without getting in the way” Future Directions of PCT. Student’s perspectives on how PCT could be explored, utilised, and modified. Future Directions of PCT. Student’s perspectives on how PCT could be explored, utilised, and modified. Review of Course. Questions and Answers. Review of Course. Questions and Answers. Back

26 Method of Levels Small number of clients with bipolar disorder Small number of clients with bipolar disorder Taped sessions; supervision from Tim; ongoing ‘developmental’ supervision locally Taped sessions; supervision from Tim; ongoing ‘developmental’ supervision locally Plans for randomised study of students with mild/moderate clinical problems (Bird & Mansell) Plans for randomised study of students with mild/moderate clinical problems (Bird & Mansell) Back

27 Self-help approaches “Coping with Fears and Phobias: A step- by-step approach to understanding and facing your anxieties” OneWorld Publications 2007 “Coping with Fears and Phobias: A step- by-step approach to understanding and facing your anxieties” OneWorld Publications 2007 Adopts a CBT framework Adopts a CBT framework Writes from a PCT perspective Writes from a PCT perspective

28 Example Quotes “We cannot have complete control over our thoughts, our feelings and over what other people do. More extreme attempts at control include criticism, bullying and abuse. By letting go of trying hard to control things we cannot control, we can experiment with being less perfectionistic, and learn to accept uncertainty, mistakes, inner conflict and error. I think that we need to accept these at times because it is from these that we can learn new ways of dealing with things in the future. So, much of this book is about focusing on this uncertainty, because out of uncertainty, alternative ways of seeing a problem and coping with it can arise.” “We cannot have complete control over our thoughts, our feelings and over what other people do. More extreme attempts at control include criticism, bullying and abuse. By letting go of trying hard to control things we cannot control, we can experiment with being less perfectionistic, and learn to accept uncertainty, mistakes, inner conflict and error. I think that we need to accept these at times because it is from these that we can learn new ways of dealing with things in the future. So, much of this book is about focusing on this uncertainty, because out of uncertainty, alternative ways of seeing a problem and coping with it can arise.”

29 Example Quotes “There are other things that we can generally control in our lives. To realise this, we need to be aware of them. The most fundamental thing we can typically control is what we focus on - what we choose to look at, listen to, smell, taste and feel. Even so, there are limits. We cannot look at a beautiful scene if it is obscured from view, or hear some quiet music if there is a loud background noise. So, we can be more active to control yet more of our experiences. These include getting new information, warm clothes, tasty food, recuperating rests, pleasant journeys, fulfilling sunshine and invigorating walks. Again some of these are limited some of the time – in torrential rain for example! So we need to think again. What can I control, given the limits?” “There are other things that we can generally control in our lives. To realise this, we need to be aware of them. The most fundamental thing we can typically control is what we focus on - what we choose to look at, listen to, smell, taste and feel. Even so, there are limits. We cannot look at a beautiful scene if it is obscured from view, or hear some quiet music if there is a loud background noise. So, we can be more active to control yet more of our experiences. These include getting new information, warm clothes, tasty food, recuperating rests, pleasant journeys, fulfilling sunshine and invigorating walks. Again some of these are limited some of the time – in torrential rain for example! So we need to think again. What can I control, given the limits?”

30 Computerised Self-Help Website linked to book: publications.com/fears/ Website linked to book: publications.com/fears/www.oneworld- publications.com/fears/www.oneworld- publications.com/fears/ Allows user to complete their own 10-step plan; discussions with other users Allows user to complete their own 10-step plan; discussions with other users Could it be possible to deliver a form of MoL online? Could it be possible to deliver a form of MoL online? Back

31 Issues for Discussion Tips and ideas about researching and disseminating PCT Tips and ideas about researching and disseminating PCT Are hybrid models of research and intervention acceptable? Are hybrid models of research and intervention acceptable? How to share materials and methods How to share materials and methods What are the obstacles? What are the obstacles? How to manage them How to manage them


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