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People as Living Things; The Psychology of Perceptual Control Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Living Control Systems Publishing (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974015504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974015507
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is a tour de force on psychology as a discipline. Well done to Dag Forsell for making this book more widely avaialable! Philip Runkel was Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at the University of Oregon. When he came across William T. Powers (1973) book "Behavior: The Control of Perception", his view of psychology and how it should be studied, researched and practiced experienced a quantum shift. In this book, Powers describes a theory (Perceptual Control Theory; PCT), which was developed from earlier work on control engineering and considers human behaviour as the control of perception. The mechanism is specified in great detail but it basically relies on organised (and reoorganising) hierarchies of negative feedback loops. It forms the heritage of several contemporary self-regulation approaches within psychology, but arguably, the original theory is unparalleled in its explanatory power.

There a quite a few books on Power's PCT, but this one I think is unique. It takes the reader very steadily through the principles of PCT using diagrams and everyday examples. The size of the book (500+ B4 pages) is also a strength because PCT can be hard to assimilate and understand within the context of mainstream psychology - Phil Runkel considers and critiques psychological concepts in a measured, perceptive and constructive manner. The book also incorporates some of the most up-to-date implications and applications of PCT in enormous breadth - covering research methodology, social psychology, neuroscience, memory and imagination, personality, language and communication, psychotherapy (Method of Levels) and education.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tim on February 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is inspirational to read. Runkel writes with meticulous attention to detail, accuracy and precision yet his writing is almost poetic such is his mastery of prose. As if the writing style wasn't enough, the subject matter is revolutionary in the paradigmatic sense of the word. Runkel essentially has written an psychology text for a first year university course. The difference is that Runkel has approached the subject matter of psychology from the perspective of perceptual control. Runkel is quite literally coming at the material from the other end. Whereas modern (and historical) psyhcology has attempted to explain behaviour as controlled output, Runkel explores behaviour from the perspective of controlled perceptual input. The results are suprising and refreshing though not always comfortable. Do not read this book expecting to find your ideas of behaviour to be endorsed and reinforced. The perspective of perceptual control affords new opportunities for considering behaviour. These opportunitites suggest new questions to ask and new answers to seek. The promise of a better world seems much more attainable after reading this book.
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People as Living Things; The Psychology of Perceptual Control
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