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Re: [xmca] Operations, mental images and emotions (!)
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Operations, mental images and emotions (!)
- From: mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:17:02 -0700
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Michael -- Whatever sort of collective, distributed properties one
associated with "an activity" surely they would constitute some form of
social intelligece, vis a vis the individual acting in the world. To the
extent that this activity level, social-level cognition is consitutive of
cognition in proximal setting, it would constitute a metacognitive element
in all human thought.
If that is so (maybe a fantasy?) the question becomes how that
already-there activity/societal level of
the environment is appropriated/internalized as a tool of thought...... It
is that "metacognitive," "reflexive"
turn that is so widely advertised to cure all human intellectual ills.
On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 6:17 AM, Glassman, Michael <email@example.com>wrote:
> Hi Manfred,
> So I'm trying to get this right. Are you saying there needs to be a
> metacognitive component to action, or perhaps activity. I guess what is
> throwing me is that the cake experience is so close to the marshmallow
> experiment that metacognitive researchers often discuss. Or does this mean
> at the least there is a metacognitive component to activity?
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com] on behalf
> of Holodynski, Manfred [firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:40 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: AW: [xmca] Operations, mental images and emotions (!)
> Ups, Martin,
> this is where worlds collide :-) I'm arguing on the basis of developmental
> and psychological studies on infants and young children - and you are
> arguing from an adult and a sociological perspective - and you are arguing
> with Marx to whom we can attribute only everyday concepts about the
> psychological development of young children.
> Dear Mike, dear Martin, and dear other discussants,
> When I use the term "mental image" I interpret it from a psychological
> perspective and I have concrete situations such as the following in mind:
> Every situation in which a person is actually situated has specific
> affordances what the person could do in this situation. Seeing a delicious
> cake may suggest or force the person to eat it if she is at least a bit
> hungry. These affordances are a product of the cultural meanings of the
> situational cues and the person's history of learning. These learned
> affordances "exist" for the person that the perception of the situational
> cues are connected with learned actions how to deal with these cues and
> with emotional markers which contain a specific action readiness how to
> proceed in this situations towards the cues. No mental images are necessary
> to guide the behavior of the person, the connection of perceived (!) cues
> and the emotional action readiness guide the person's behavior.
> The relevant question concerning the psychological usefulness of mental
> images is whether the person really eats the cake at once or whether she
> could inhibit this actual emotional action readiness and could imagine that
> it would be better to eat the cake at another time, e.g. in an hour when
> all family members will come together to eat cakes. When she is eating the
> cake now she will have no cake when all the others will eat cakes.
> Young children do not have the psychological capacity to imagine these
> consequences of their actual emotional action readiness and the consecutive
> behavior because they could not mentally leave the actual situation and
> imagine the future situation in which it is more appropriate to eat the
> On the other side it is possible for a child to inhibit the impulse of
> eating the cake at once but the underlying mechanism is not the
> anticipation of a future situation (a reflective, goal-driven level of
> regulation) but the elicitation of fear (an emotional level of regulation)
> when caregivers punish their children for eating the cake outside the
> allowed circumstances.
> So, the capacity of imagening another situational context as the actual
> perceivable one and to regulate the action not in line with the affordances
> of the actual (!) situation but of the affordances of an imagined (!)
> situation is a genuine human capacity that emerges during preschool age.
> This capacity needs signs (!) in order to actively create this mental
> image. Speech signs in the form of private and - at an advanced level -
> inner speech are one of the most effective psychological tools to create
> such mental images. And private speech emerges at around the third year of
> If a person has already a lot of experiences with this kind of goal-driven
> regulation this process of imagening a future situation can also become an
> operation, e.g. the overlearned rule is: I only eat cakes together with my
> families, so my behavior is connected to situational cues; in the actual
> situation I am alone that means, I do not eat cakes and this connection is
> already overlearned, therefore I do not eat the cake.
> Complicating the discussion a bit more: There are a lot of empirical and
> conceptual hints that adults are capable of four different levels of
> regulation. Putting it in a nutshell:
> - an emotional level (the emotional action readiness is the psychological
> - habitual level (the overlearned connections between perception and
> behavior are the psychological means)
> - volitional level (the imagined goal and self-instructions are the
> psychological mean)
> - reflective level (the imagined goal and self-instructions concerning the
> regulation of own elicited emotional action readiness that force the person
> in another direction than the imagined goal: not eating the cake now...)
> Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
> Institut für Psychologie in Bildung und Erziehung
> Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
> Fliednerstr. 21
> D-48149 Münster
> +49-(0)-251-83-34310 (Sekretariat)
> +49-(0)-251-83-34314 (Fax)
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Im
> Auftrag von Martin Packer
> Gesendet: Mittwoch, 10. April 2013 20:03
> An: <email@example.com>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Betreff: Re: [xmca] Operations
> Our discussion of whether or not infants can participate in an 'activity'
> (or 'project') seems to have centered around the question of whether an
> infant has the capability to "form a goal and then take appropriate
> premeditated action to realise that goal" (Andy), to form a "mental image"
> (Michael, though I think he was arguing against this), to have "an inner
> image of the future situation" (Manfred), to have a "psychic image" or a
> "conscious goal" (Leontiev).
> I think this is a misleading way of framing the issue, for several
> reasons. Some of them I've already mentioned, or at least hinted at. Here
> is another:
> What Marx actually wrote, in the Grundrise (at least as the English
> translation has it) was this: "consumption ideally posits the object of
> production as an internal image, as a need, as drive and as purpose. It
> creates the objects of production in a still subjective form. No production
> without a need. But first consumption reproduces the need" (p. 92).
> This is in the context of a discussion of the teleological character of
> productive activity. Marx's central point is that the goal of production is
> always created by consumption (because reproduction is always necessary).
> In this passage he is describing the manners in which consumption can
> "posit" the object that is to be produced, and consequently the ways in
> which the goal of productive activity is defined.
> I read this as indicating that, for Marx, "internal image" is only *one*
> way in which consumption can posit the object that is to be produced.
> Consumption (that is, for example, the hungry person) can *also* posit that
> object as a need, or as a drive, or as a purpose. These seem to me to be
> qualitatively quite distinct, from each other and from a "mental image".
> The question really ought to be, can an infant form a need, a drive, or a
> On Apr 9, 2013, at 3:27 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Thank you Manfred. I have the same understanding of
> > operation/conditions action/goals as you write about. It was a
> > mistaken typo on my part in the orginal note that Andy kindly
> > corrected, but in the flow of messages its hard discern.
> > So starting with your clear statement my question becomes: how does it
> > come about that operations proceed actions in early infancy and in
> > what sense(s) is that true and why?
> > mike
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