Re: [xmca] Double stimulation task -- wiki

From: Martin Packer (
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 09:30:36 PST

Thanks, Ana, for the great wiki. I think it was me who locked the page -

So do I have this right? The blocks have shape, color, height and width.
These are their intrinsic attributes, most salient perceptually. But these
attributes turn out to be irrelevant to the categories which the nonsense
words define. The blocks also have relational attributes, large/small and
tall/short, which become apparent if one engages in comparison (A block is
'small' only in comparison with another which is 'big.') and judgment (of
similarity or difference). Furthermore, identification of these attributes
requires consideration of the blocks as a whole (to decide what the possible
values are: big, small, nothing in between, etc.).

The four nonsense words define categories in terms of the conjunctions of
these two relational attribute. (LAG = large + tall, for example.) There is
no single attribute, either intrinsic or relational, which all and only the
members of such a category have in common. (It is not the case that all CEV,
for example, share a common and exclusive color, or a common and exclusive

So the task is intended to model the situation where a child interacts with
an adult who knows a concept - and uses a word - which the child does not
know. The adult concept does not correspond in any simple way with what is
directly perceivable.

This, from Ollman, seems to describe the underlying presumption nicely: In
dialectics "The assumption is that while the qualities we perceive with our
five senses actually exist as parts of nature, the conceptual distinctions
that tell us where one thing ends and the next one begins both in space and
across time are social and mental constructs."
So in order to come to make the same conceptual distinctions as the adult,
the child needs to move beyond what is immediately given in the senses,
focus their attention, make relational judgments, abstract these from the
other attributes, combine them logically...

I assume that the nonsense categories, for Vygotsky, represent scientific
concepts? They are not family resemblances, for sure. Here's where I start
to have questions. If everyday concepts are generally complexes, i.e. family
resemblances or what Ryle called polymorphous concepts, how realistic is it
to set up this task with scientific concepts? I wonder how children would
perform if the nonsense words defined family resemblances. Or (on the other
hand) if they defined more logically complicated categories: LAG = large +
tall OR small + short. Has someone tried this?


On 3/7/07 9:57 AM, "Ana Marjanovic-Shane" <> wrote:

> Hi,
> I can see people are already looking at the photos of the blocks for
> double stimulation task.
> Here are some useful tips for using a wiki:
> 1. When you edit a page on a wiki, finish editing by saving the page
> (click on save button on the bottom) or your changes might
> disappear!!) Or if you clicked on the "edit" button just to see
> how it works, please also click on either "save" or "cancel" so
> that a page does not stay "locked".
> 2. If your addition is more than a comment on the content of a page
> -- please create a new page and make a link to it on the "Side
> bar" (edit "side bar")
> 3. Other useful tips can be found on the link named "Tour of PBWIKI"
> on the "Side bar"
> It is quite fun and maybe a good tool for sharing information on a
> single topic in one place. -- one can also add links to different
> postings on the XMCA!!)
> Ana
>> Hi:
>> I created a wiki with pictures of the blocks we made as graduate
>> students and used for studying effects of the double stimulation task
>> You are welcome to see it, at
>> I will soon create a another page with the details of the protocols we
>> used, but I don't have any preserved actual transcripts from that time.
>> I am giving you full access to add pages and comments, post more
>> pictures or pose questions.
>> I included Shirley's technical description of the blocks, and already
>> saw a small difference in labeling some and in the colors used...
>> Maybe we can make a collection of different sets here and different
>> protocols as well as some transcripts??
>> What do you think??
>> Ana

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