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Monday, August 28, 20061156784700

The OODA Loop Completes The Store Model

The Store Model contains weakness, such as its Central Executive, the "conscious part of the mind" that "coordinates incoming information with information in the system" and "controls attention." This unified command does not exist in all cases, as has been shown in cases where the corpus callosum has been damaged (Pinker 2002). Likewise, the Store Model hides an absurdity: how do we know what we do not know we do not know? If the Central Executive is conscious, then we must consciously ignore information we have not even noticed yet.


The Store Model is more intelligible when seen in the light of the OODA Loop. In the OODA Loop, outside information, unfolding circumstances, and unfolding environmental interaction are "Observed." These are then fed forward and previous experience, new information, genetic heritage, cultural tradition, and analysis/synthesis led to an "Orientation" which also feeds backwards to Observation. In most cases this creates an implicit guidance and control to a person's Action, though sometimes a Decision is made, in which case it feeds forward into action and feeds back to Orientation. In every case, Action feeds back to Observation. (Fadok, Boyd, and Warden 1995). The OODA Model resolves these problems. The Store Model becomes acceptable by breaking the "Central Executive" into a large, complex, unconscious Orientation component and a seldom used but powerful Decision making aspect. Because Orientation is itself composed of sub-procedures, cases of split personality are intelligible as maladaptive assembles of these sub-procedures. Likewise, if Observation must go through Orientation before Decision, then it is no surprise we often do not “see” things that would change our decisions if we knew of them (Richards 2004).

Bibliography

Fadok, D.S., Boyd, J., and Warden, J. (1995). Air Power’s Quest for Strategic Paralysis. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press.

Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York City: Penguin Books.

Richards, C. (2004). Certain to Win: The Strategy Of John Boyd, Applied To Business. Xlibris Corporation.

12:05 Posted in UNL / Child Psychology | Permalink | Comments (6) | Tags: ooda

Comments

Dan,

I agree with your observation and orientation on this subject. There's just not enough processing power for the conscious mind to act as a Central Executive. A model of multiple subsystems interactively processing observations in parallel makes much more sense.

Mike

Posted by: Mike | Monday, August 28, 2006

Mike, thanks for the comment!

One of Pinker's claims is that the conscious mind is essnetially the linguistic mind. Consider: [1]

The brain does have supervisory systems in the prefrontal lobs and anterior cingulate cortext... but those systems are gadgets with specific quirks and limitations; they are not implementations of the rational free agent traditionally identified with the soul or the self." (Pinker 43)
"[When] surgeons cut the corpus callosum joining the cerebral hemispheres, they literally cut the self in two, and each hemisphere can exercise free will without the other one's advice or consent. Even more disconcertingly, the left hemisphere constatnly weaves a coherent but false account of the behavior chosen without its knowledge by the right." (Pinker 43)

Freaky, no?

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/06/14/ridley-and-pinker-sysadmining-options-and-more.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, August 28, 2006

I do remember reading that bit in the book, and it's definitely freaky. We've learned a lot about brain function in the past few years, but there's a lot more we've yet to discover.

While most of us will never get to your level of understanding, we do need useful models to interact with others in our complex world. To me, OODA is a very useful model of how brains work.

Posted by: Mike | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mike,

Your words are more flattering than I deserve. :-)

OODA definitely makes more sense than competing models. It is a more useful model of cognition than others I've seen.

hope it can become that useful to the sciences, too. Currently, the OODA Loop is very explanatory but I'm not sure how it can be scientifically used. Part of this comes from ambiguities in Boyd's language. For instance, he defined "agility " as “the ability to shift from one OODA/orientation state to another more rapidly than an opponent, in response to changing circumstances.”" [1], but what's the difference between OODA state and Orientation state? Likewise, is "Analysis / Synthesis" with Orientation a module that is different from "Decision," a data store for logical thoughts? Do the five sub-modules merely reflect five independent variables to behavior? Is a combined OODA-PISRR loop [2] meaningful? Is the OODA Loop complete, or does it require an extension?

(I owe a debt to Curtis for emphasizing the unknowns of the OODA loop [3], even if I don't agree with all his conclusions)

Hopefully we will soon get an operationalization of the OODA loop which will put it on a scientific footing. "Scientific" doesn't necessarily mean "right," but it can mean "more useful." The OODA loop itself doesn't have to be falsifiable, but it would be even more useful if it could generate falsifiable theories.

[1] http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/comments/c534.htm
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/02/13/ooda-pisrr-part-i-the-social-cognition-loop.html
[3] http://www.phaticcommunion.com/archives/2006/06/rethinking_the.php

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"(I owe a debt to Curtis for emphasizing the unknowns of the OODA loop [3], even if I don't agree with all his conclusions)"

It'd be interesting to take a step back from our debates over the utility of a network analysis of social systems and a step forward on understanding how Boyd's OODA concepts can be expanded. I'm curious about which conclusions you do not like (or are you merely referring to some of my expansion of my revised OODA into social dynamics, rather than that revision itself?)

"This unified command does not exist in all cases, as has been shown in cases where the corpus callosum has been damaged (Pinker 2002). Likewise, the Store Model hides an absurdity: how do we know what we do not know we do not know? If the Central Executive is conscious, then we must consciously ignore information we have not even noticed yet...."

"These are then fed forward and previous experience, new information, genetic heritage, cultural tradition, and analysis/synthesis led to an "Orientation" which also feeds backwards to Observation."

It is the use of that quite-ambiguous pentagram within Boyd's ORIENT phase that leads to so much weakness in Boyd's conceptualization. While I have postulated a 'Mental Constructs' and 'Conditional Constructs' which nonetheless, in combination, approach a Boydian concept of the ORIENT phase, I have sought to separate the concrete, physical aspects of the loop from the more abstract processes by considering a loop-within-a-loop. Things such as 'genetic heritage' also feed into the abstract process through 'observation' -- it's just that much genetic information remains consistent and persistent while feeding into the Concrete ORIENT phase, which may seem to lead to a more or less stable orientation (which is why Boyd put genetic heritage where he put it. However, genetic heritage can be altered, as all physical concrete things can be altered, and this would lead to a changed orientation.)

"These are then fed forward and previous experience, new information, genetic heritage, cultural tradition, and analysis/synthesis led to an "Orientation" which also feeds backwards to Observation."

I suppose Boyd's concept, because it was formed from his fighter pilot experience, did not need to consider so much how genetic information enters into the loop: during a dogfight, that information was not likely to change, was already long-set. So his conceptualization is a specialized case and less useful for understanding anything but the fire-or-die type of situation requiring immediate responses to new information.

Posted by: Curtis Gale Weeks | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Curtis,

Thanks for your great comment.

It's not that I don't like the implications of the OODA loop, so much as I don't see it generating numerical implications. I don't see how a line of objective research can come of it, and I think that is what is holding it back. I see that we need to be able to agree on measures -- whether for Gapness [1], Resilience [2], or anything else -- if we want a scientific investigation into a thing. It doesn't have to be perfect, but if we can roughly measure even something as complex as the economy with GDP, we should be able to devise something approximate for cognition that's centered on the OODA loop.

"I have sought to separate the concrete, physical aspects of the loop from the more abstract processes by considering a loop-within-a-loop"

I've flip-flopped on the concrete/abstract divide.[3] Jean Piaget, who came up with those cognitive classes, deserves a lot of credit for creating a model that usefully predicts what children will generally do as they develop. His theoretical ideas have come under withering attack, though, and a lot of what he considered to be "concrete" thinking seems to be the result of unfamiliarity with a problem combined with a short-attention span.

"I suppose Boyd's concept, because it was formed from his fighter pilot experience, did not need to consider so much how genetic information enters into the loop"

By the time Boyd developed and published the sophisticated OODA loop he had long-passed his dog-fighting days. His reading was very broad, and I think it would be a mistake to try to limit OODA's applicability based on our reconstructed "author's intent."

"during a dogfight, that information was not likely to change, was already long-set. "

True, but genetic factors may not so much change domain-general ideas so much as provide you with a reflex or module that evokes a behavior once a situation presents itself. Chase and avoidance abilities would be very adaptive skills, so we should expect to see genetic components to these behaviors.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/05/08/redefining-the-gap-1-prologue.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/09/01/be-resilient-part-i-how-to-measure-resilience.html
[3] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/01/18/extraordinary-minds-by-howard-gardner-notes-for-chapters-1.html#comments

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, September 02, 2006

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