[xmca] FW: The functional method of double stimulation - and some photographs

From: Paula Towsey <paulat who-is-at johnwtowsey.co.za>
Date: Tue May 29 2007 - 02:23:43 PDT

Dear Ana


Thank you for your suggestion that I forward this email to the group. The
blocks I used for my cross-sectional study were made by Stoelting Co. (USA),
according to the specs. provided by Jacob Kasanin and Eugenia Hanfmann


My research exercise, 'In Search of Vygotsky's Blocks: exploring cev, bik,
mur, and lag in South Africa', was conducted for my M. Ed. (Psychology in
Education) by course work and research report at Wits University.


-----Original Message-----
From: Paula Towsey [mailto:paulat@johnwtowsey.co.za]
Sent: 28 May 2007 04:47 PM
To: 'ana@zmajcenter.org'
Subject: The functional method of double stimulation - and some photographs


Dear Ana


To introduce myself: my name is Paula Towsey and I followed, with a great
deal of interest, some of your conversation about the method of double
stimulation - Vygotsky's Blocks - on the XMCA in March. I conducted
research with this method last year but wasn't able to join in with your
conversation because I wasn't on the XMCA mailing list in March. I am now -
but am writing to you separately because the topic is no longer current on
XMCA. I do hope that by writing to you directly I'm not breaking any XMCA


In reading between the lines, Ana, it seems to me that the pathway you
followed with the method of approach with the blocks at the University of
Belgrade was more directly linked - for historical and geographical reasons,
perhaps - in source to Sakharov's approach. The sources I was most easily
able to find flowed mainly through Hanfmann and Kasanin via Kozulin's
translation of Thought and Language (1986): suffice it to say here (though I
can send you more) that I noticed a difference between Sakharov's 'script'
(1994, Van der Veer & Valsiner, Eds.) and H&K's (1937,42) in giving subjects
the option to find all the mur blocks and checking to see if they were
'correct' at this stage, or in allowing them to continue to sort the blocks
according to the given strategy (eg, colour, or shape, or oscillations
between the two!).


It also seems that it was a lot more difficult for me to be in search of
Vygotsky's Blocks - for historical, political and geographical reasons (I'm
in Sunny South Africa) - than it was for you and your lucky colleagues at
Belgrade, but the apparent elusiveness of the blocks added much intrigue and
speculation for me! In many respects it was a singular journey for me,
working things out, tracing the provenance and the implications for
analysis, because there was no one in South Africa that I could find with
expertise or knowledge about the blocks. And so, there was nobody to talk


For a light-hearted entree, I've attached four photographs from my
cross-sectional study of 60 subjects.


The 3-yr-old photograph depicts a three-year-old subject's 'house', which
she unhesitatingly described as belonging to the Big Bad Wolf (!). He made
his re-appearance quite a number of times during her session!


The S810M photograph depicts this eight-year-old subject's charmingly
exaggerated placement of the cev, bik, mur, and lag glasses, by remembering
where the groups of blocks had been on the board. Lovely!


In the S1505F photograph, the subject had noted that by stacking the blocks
the way she had yielded different sizes - small, medium, and large. What
she had been looking for, though, was a pattern of two stacked blocks of the
same diameter, coupled with two which were not. She said that this pattern
worked for the squares and the trapezoids, but not with the circles, the
triangles or the irregular shapes. The 15-year-olds kept me on my toes!


In the last photograph, this adult subject (SX09M) said "I've got an idea.
The common thing between these shapes is that the triangles come in four
different sizes" (this despite there being five triangles). He explored
this further, sorted the blocks correctly, and then explained: "How I
deduced this categorisation is that the common thing in the triangles is
that they are the ones which seem to differentiate on the height and the
size. And so there's this in the circular ones as well - they also have
that characteristic." He had then extrapolated this principle to the other
blocks and solved the problem - statistically and mathematically - by
analysing the characteristics of groups of blocks to establish where the
areas of commonality lay, which would form the basis for sorting the blocks.


Ana, I did check out your Wiki, but I am sure you have made your additions
to it by now and that there is a new one. Please could you let me know
where I could find it, or if I just need to type in 'doubstim' into a search
engine? Also, do you think Martin would be interested in seeing my results?
Would you be? I'd be happy to send you any of my work or answer any
questions that you (or Martin, or any of the interested XMCAs) might have -
just let me know!


Thank you - and I do hope you have the time to drop me a line soon.


Very sincerely




xmca mailing list

S810M_23_minutes_showing_where_the_blocks_were.JPG 3-yr-olds_The_House_of_the_Big_Bad_Wolf_S301F.JPG S1505F_nearly_nine_minutes_-_pattern_of_size_by_stacking_them.JPG SX09M_15_minutes_-_sorted.JPG
Received on Tue May 29 03:25 PDT 2007

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