What is Perceptual Control Theory?
Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is the first comprehensive scientific explanation of the behavior of living things. It helps us understand that we act continuously and purposefully at many levels in order to achieve our goals and meet our needs. It teaches us that we are in control of, rather than controlled by, our environment, and, according to Mary Powers, that "a fundamental characteristic of organisms is their ability to control; that they are, in fact, living control systems."
Who developed this theory of behavior?
William T. Powers developed Perceptual Control Theory beginning in the mid-1950s, and in 1973 published his seminal book and the major reference on PCT, Behavior: The Control of Perception. Powers's book suggests a model for human behavior in which the human brain controls its own perceptions. While traditional approaches to psychology focus on modifying human behavior, PCT focuses instead on controlling perception.
Why is Perceptual Control Theory important?
Today, PCT has gained acceptance among scientists, social scientists, medical professionals, educators, and counselors worldwide. Schools and school systems, social services organizations, corporations, and many other businesses and individuals are applying the principles of PCT to their personal and professional lives with great success. Psychologists have found PCT especially useful. New View is dedicated to publishing material about and conducting seminars in PCT because we know from personal experience that following the theory's principles leads to better relationships with others. Learning about this theory and its applications helps people better understand themselves and others, and helps people improve their communication and relationships. We have seen PCT's applications work for individuals and in schools, corporations, and elsewhere. At the conclusion of our seminars, participants often tell us how their perspective has changed as a result of understanding PCT, and how that new view will affect their life. For more detailed information about Perceptual Control Theory, browse our collection of publications on PCT's scientific foundation or visit our resources page.