More Key Figures in PCT

Phil Runkel

He was the Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at the University of Oregon. Following long discussions with Bill Powers, he produced a reinterpretation of human psychology using PCT in the book People as Living Things: The Psychology of Perceptual Control. He is also the author of Casting Nets and Testing Specimens: Two Grand Methods of Psychology. This book critiques in detail the existing methodologies within psychology and points to the advantages of two alternative methodologies, which are both consistent with PCT. Phil’s landmark books, Casting Nets and Testing Specimens, and People as Living Things are now available online.

Tom Bourbon

Tom has explored PCT using a variety of experimental paradigms. Critically, he tested the degree to which computer model of a ‘tracker task’ based on PCT could accurately predict an individual’s performance over long time periods and studied when 'help' from another person is actually helpful. Here is one example of such a study. His description of PCT is also available here.

Bourbon, W. T. (1996). On the accuracy and reliability of predictions by Perceptual Control Theory: Five years later. The Psychological Record, 46, 39-47.

Bruce Abbott

Dr Bruce Abbott is an experimental psychologist at Indiana-Purdue University with a growing interest in PCT. Dr Abbott worked with Bill Powers to develop the computer simulations within Living Control Systems III using object-oriented programming.

Sara Tai

Dr Sara Tai is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, UK, who specialises in applying PCT to delusions of control in psychosis, and adapting Method of Levels for people with psychosis. See her recent article in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Sergio Pellis

Dr Sergio Pellis, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, has been involved in the neuroscience of animal behaviour, especially play, for many years. His recent research is providing consistent experimental evidence for a PCT account.

Heather Bell

An animal researcher, beginning her own strand of work testing PCT models:

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. (in press). Behavioral variability in the service of constancy. International Journal of Comparative Psychology.





Mary Powers

The late wife of Bill Powers wrote a number of illuminating articles on PCT, that are available on line by clicking here.

Richard Robertson

Dick Robertson is former Professor at Northeastern Illinois University where he taught control theory from the 1970s. He was involved in PCT since its inception in the late 1950s. He is also a clinical psychologist and rehabilitation researcher. He has been a member of the Control Systems Group since its inception and is the author of several significant papers on PCT.

Robertson, R. J., & Glines, L. A. (1985). The phantom plateau returns. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 61, 55-64.

Robertson, R. J., Goldstein, D., Mermel, M., & Musgrave, M. (1999). Testing the self as a control system. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 50, 571-580.

Richard worked alongside Bill Powers to produce the first student textbook of PCT: An Introduction to Modern Psychology: The Control Theory View.

Richard Kennaway

Based at the University of East Anglia, UK, Richard has produced a computer simulated robot using PCT, which is available to use online.

Philip Farrell

Following his work with Martin Taylor, Dr Farrell has utilised PCT within his work for the Canadian National Defence Headquarters. His work focuses on modelling Team Information Processing using PCT to help organisations interpret and internalise instructions and reach common goals.

Wayne Hershberger

Wayne Hershberger is the editor of the volume 'Volitional Action: Conation and Control' which brings together a wide range of theoretical and empirical papers on PCT alongside studies of the neuroscience of volitional action. Hershberger also provides a valuable critique of the 're-afference' principle and highlights the accuracy of 19th century psychologists such as James and Dewey in their concepts of behaviour as 'closed loop'.


Roger K. Moore

Roger K. Moore is a Professor of Spoken Languange Processing at University of Sheffield. He teaches on PCT and has used it to inform his work on the anatomy and psychology of speech processing.

Moore, R. K. (2007). PRESENCE: A human-inspired architecture for speech-based human-machine interaction. Computers, IEEE Transactions on, 56(9), 1176-1188.