Part II


Papers nos 4 and 5 present a conversational model of Ego's internal regulation of coding and symbol processing by simulating the reverse processes in Alter. Presented at a cybernetics meeting in 1973 this model emerged from my study in the sixties of the situation-oriented semantics developed by Arne Næss, and from my parallel work on object-oriented computer simulations of interpersonal communication. That made me realize that a shared language and a common code would not suffice for intersubjective understanding, not even external corrective feedback from Alter would do. Somehow, the interlocutors must wittingly or unwittingly resort to internal simulation circuits: Egos' encoding of what is (to be) said is regulated by predictory simulation of Alter's decoding; and Ego's decoding of what has been heard is regulated by postdictory simulation of Alter's encoding. This is akin to, and probably supported by the underlying altercentric capacity of the preverbal mind to mirror Alter's act by virtual participation which I came to identify and specify twenty years later (as reflected in Part IV), and point in the same direction as suggestions made by Rizzolatti and Arbib (1998) in their article on 'Language within our grasp' with reference to the discovery of "mirror neurons". The model implies that the listener monitors her own listening by mirroring the partner's speaking, and that the speaker monitors her own speaking by anticipatory mirroring of processes in the listener. In the mental simulation version of current theory-of-mind terms (cf. for example Harris 1991 in Whiten (ed.) 1991), the model amounts to saying that the verbal child or adult uses his model or imaginary capacity to simulate the other's mind in conversation.
Papers nos 6 and 7 extend the idea of other-oriented self-regulation and simulation of mind to the issue of being dominated by the model power of another mind, ruling out any complementary or rival perspectives, including one's own. Essay no. 6 is an extract from the original paper on the model power thesis (Bråten 1973c). It relates to what Bourdieu (1977) came to term 'symbolic power', albeit with this difference: while symbolic power is cancelled only by cancelling its material basis, model power may be cancelled by symbolic and dialogical modes (essay no.7).