Re: [xmca] Aufforderungscharakter/Valence/Affordance/Lewin/Gibson

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Sun May 25 2008 - 13:30:34 PDT

Here is a contribution from Moscow from Boris Mescheryakov: My amateur
online translation. From a new dictionary of psych

АФФОРДАНС (affordance от afford – иметь или предоставлять возможность) – в
теории восприятия Дж. Гибсона, «приглашающее» (манящее) качество
воспринимаемых предметов и событий; один из компонентов предметности
восприятия. Значительно раньше К. Левин тоже разрабатывал идею о
повелительном (побудительном) характере вещей.

Affordance -from afford-- to possess or allow a possibility - in the theory
of J. Gibson, the invitational quality of (received) objects and events, one
of the the components of perception. Much earlier

K. Lewin also developed the idea of the imperative (motivating) character of

ВАЛЕНТНОСТЬ (valence, incentive, incentive value) – положительная или
отрицательная ценность, значимость объекта, события или действия для
субъекта, их мотивационная (побудительная) сила. Термин ввел К. Левин.

Valence- positive or negative value, significance of an object, event, or
action for the subject, their motivating strentgth, from Lewin.

В чем различие? Предмет может быть почти безвалентным, иметь нулевую
ценность, но при этом он может побуждать к действию, как, например, когды мы
видим нитку (соринку) на своей или чужой одежде, то очень хочется ее
сбросить (удалить). Или У. Найссер где-то писал о том, что полка в вагоне
поезда делается иногда из такого материала, который провоцирует не очень
воспитанных пассажиров испытытать ее на прочность. Косички у девочек
побуждают невоспитанных мальчиков их дергать. То есть есть вещи, которые
будучи сами по себе неважными для субъекта, тем не менее побуждают к
определенным действиям.
What is the difference? An object may be valenceless, have zero value, but
still it may impel action, as, for example, when we see a thread or a dust
mote on our own or someone's clothing, and want very much to remove it. Or,
somewhere Ulric Neisser wrote that the shelf in a train wagon is sometimes
made of a material which provokes not very well brought up passengers to
test its strength. Pigtails of girls motivate poorly brought up boys to pull
them. That is, there exist things, which seeming to be unimportant to the
subject in themselves, nevertheless motivate certain actions.

On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 12:06 PM, Paolo Petta <> wrote:

> Hello Michalis:
> many thanks for the explanation of the common roots of Aufforderung and
> Affordance:
> A slight commentary I would offer would be:
> 1) Aufforderung is more akin to request that invitation ("Einladung").
> 2) Affordance being a characteristic of a subject-environment
> relationship (rather than an absolute property of either object or
> subject), I would also see this interpretation/translation for
> quite fit/appropriate for "affordance":
> to underscore the relational characteristic, one could perhaps
> even use "call to sg." rather than "request to" (as e.g. a
> ball placed on the top of the rim of a bowl is "called" to roll down
> to the bottom).
> I would consider how such "calls" are then handled (e.g. weighted against
> each other, followed, ignored or resisted: whether one automatically takes
> an empty seat upon boarding a tramway..) as a separate matter.
> again: many thanks indeed: much appreciated!
> p
> On Sun, 25 May 2008, Michalis Kontopodis wrote:
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Aufforderungscharakter/Valence/Affordance/Lewin/Gibson
>> I can probably help here:
>> Aufforderung & Affordance include the word FORD which stems from the late
>> Old English forthian [to further, from forth].
>> However:
>> Auf-forderung means Invitation to do
>> and
>> Affordance means Being in a position to do
>> m.
>> On May 25, 2008, at 8:21 PM, Mike Cole wrote:
>> In the van der veer and valsiner edition of *Tool and Symbol* the
>>> editors
>>> use the term,
>>> Aufforderungscharakter to refer to the relation of objects in the world
>>> to
>>> needs. In a footnote
>>> they write that this terms is THEIR insertion in place of the Russian
>>> "literary translation" of
>>> the Russian "literary term" "kharakter povelevania".
>>> I am uncertain of the literal translations of povelevania or what they
>>> mean
>>> by a literary
>>> term, but I am struck by the appearance of the idea of affordance that
>>> appears to be in
>>> the German term.
>>> I have not encountered a discussion of the relationship of the ideas of
>>> Gibson and Lewin
>>> but could someoneS help with the translation issues here?? Is Lewin's
>>> notion
>>> translated
>>> as valence in most English translations, related to the notion of
>>> affordance
>>> in Gibson?
>>> mike
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> --
> Paolo Petta +43-1-5336112-12(Tel)
> Austrian Research Inst. for Artificial Intelligence +43-1-5336112-77(Fax)
> Freyung 6/6, A 1010 Vienna, Austria, Europe Paolo.Petta <@>
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Sun May 25 13:31 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jun 01 2008 - 00:30:04 PDT