[xmca] Kurt Lewin's and Wolfgang Kohler's videos

From: Eugene Matusov (ematusov@UDel.Edu)
Date: Thu Mar 08 2007 - 19:12:12 PST

Dear friends—


For long time I was looking for a video made by Kurt Lewin in the 1920s
about toddlers who tried to sit on a stone but could not because the stone
was too attractive to them. Vygotsky described these videos. A German
colleague helped me to find the videos. Unfortunately, the quality of the
videos is not very good, but it is better than nothing. I’m sending you the
video files via email but you can see them on a slow German website below.
By the way, I would appreciate if somebody translates the narrations on the
videos to English (or Russian :-) from German. Also, enjoy Köhler’s videos
about his experiments with apes in 1914. I wonder if on the second video,
the ape who reached the banana with the help of another ape, shared the




Vygotsky wrote, “Lewin's demonstration of the great difficulty a small child
has in realizing that he must first turn his back to a stone in order to sit
on it illustrates the extent to which a very young child is bound in every
action by situational constrains. It is hard to imagine a greater contrast
to Lewin’s experiment showing the situational constraints on activity than
what we observe in play. It is here that the child learns to act in a
cognitive, rather than an externally visual, realm by relying on internal
tendencies and motives and not on incentives supplied by external things. A
study by Lewin on the motivating nature of things for a very young child
concludes that ‘things’ dictate to the child what he must do: a door demands
to be opened and closed, a staircase to be climbed, a bell to be rung. In
short, things have such an inherent motivating force with respect to a very
young child’s actions and so extensively to determine the child’s behavior
that Lewin arrived at the notion of creating a psychological topology: he
expressed mathematically the trajectory of the child’s movements in a field
according to the distribution of things with varying attracting or repelling
forces.” (Vygotsky, 1978, Mind in Society, p. 96)


What do you think?





Eugene Matusov, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education

School of Education

University of Delaware

Newark, DE 19716, USA


email: ematusov@udel.edu

fax: 1-(302)-831-4110

website: http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu

publications: http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu/vita/publications.htm








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