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[Xmca-l] Re: Dynamics of Developmental Change

Mike and David,
This may be a diversion from what you are getting at regarding intersubjectivity, but I was web surfing on the "fallacy of decontextualized measurement”. I came up with the attached article in Mind, Culture and Activity by Bert van Oers. ( I believe it was originally published in 1998 then appeared on line in Mind, Culture and Activity in 2009.Interestingly the title is misspelled in the heading that precedes the article, changing decontextualization to detextualization. A Freudian slip?) van Oers is pushing back on Wertsch’s construal of decontextualization. What makes me think this article is one David might have been thinking of was the shoe measurement game documented in the article.

The article raises, for me, the issue of the relationship between learning and development at any age, in school or out. Many years ago, my dissertation on L2 learning focused on such learning strategies as vocabulary memorization, which I take to be a form of decontextualization and potentially useful for the use of L2 for real time communication. It seems to me that, if the application is successful, you are moving from learning to development. Even L1 development shows signs of metalinguistic awareness at an early age: the ability to segment and decontextualize the flow of speech. Babbling, which profiles the phonological potential of language, is apparently “wired in”: even profoundly deaf children do it, though babbling dies out in deaf children. Evidently there is controversy as to whether babbling in infants is continuous with the articulation later on of speech.

If this is not entirely off topic, I wonder if anyone wants to comment.


> On Sep 10, 2015, at 4:49 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> I am with you in my continuing, growing, wandering understanding of
> Vygotsky, David. Including what he had to say about social smiling. And the
> fact that you so skillfully bring in the psychology of art side of LSV to
> get us
> out from under the schoolmaster seems really important to me.
> I think that perhaps the Nso and other data of this kind, if we had good
> concurrent sociolinguistic documentation a la Ochs and Schieffelin, it
> might be possible to specify more "lines" of development that get rewoven
> during the 2-3month change. It ought to help pin down more reliably what
> level of the social environment we are referring to when we use the notion
> of social situation of development.
> As for primary intersubjectivity...... any evidence among Nso?
> mike
> On Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 3:15 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Mike, Larry:
>> Well, to tell you the truth, I did suspect that Mike was talking about
>> up-to-date literature: he knows an AWFUL lot more about it that I do. So
>> some of my misinterpretation was really just showing off my attempts at
>> intellectual history: the artistic/philosophical idea of the child,
>> followed by a mechancal/biologistic model, from which Vygotsky tries the
>> synthesis.
>> So I was really trying--once again--to show off how much Vygotsky knew--not
>> just compared to his contemporaries but even compared to what we know
>> today. I think it's a real demonstration of how powerful the theoretically
>> directed Soviet approach was (of course, it could be theoretically
>> misdirected too, as subsequent developments, particularly in genetics,
>> demonstrated).
>> Another way of looking at it, though, is to say that our own non-Soviet
>> empiricist muddle has been feeble in the extreme. I think that Mike is spot
>> on when he raises intersubjectivity as THE key issue of infant development.
>> In some ways, the development of secondary intersubjectivity is precisely
>> what Vygotsky means by specifically human psychological functions.
>> Vegetarians insist that the property of movement is what should make other
>> sentient beings off limits for consumption. Most of us, when we think about
>> it at all, would probably say that it is the property of language (as the
>> Red Queen remarks to Alice, it's rude to eat someone you have been
>> introduced to(. But we don't eat foreigners, even though we cannot
>> understand what they say, and anyway language itself has to be explained
>> somehow. So I suspect that for most of us it is actually  secondary
>> intersubjectivity that makes us inedible.
>> Alas, when I look at the "theory of mind" debates in first language
>> acquisition, I have to admit that until very recently, most of our
>> developmental psychologists would have considered infants rather as we find
>> them in Swift's Modest Proposal. What makes this really hard for me to
>> understand is that it seems to me that without some kind of theory of mind,
>> even primary intersubjectivity is not possible. Dogs clearly do have a
>> theory of mind, although it is equally clearly not a human one. How could
>> we ever have doubted that infants do?
>> (I suspect the answer has to do with another one of Mike's lifelong
>> obsessions--the fallacy of decontextualized measurement.)
>> David Kellogg
>> On Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 12:54 AM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Mike,
>>> I hope these reflections continue on line.
>>> The focus on primary intersubjectivity expressing the truth of
>> *reciprocal
>>> felt rejoinders* that are not determined through particular modes
>> (vision,
>>> hearing, bodily touch). This seems important to the notion of universal
>>> beliefs such as social smiling being reciprocal mutual processes or are
>>> particular phenomena.
>>> So the centrality of felt experience experienced within the power
>>> (amplification) of mutuality (reciprocal rejoinders) seems central to
>>> primary intersubjectivity.
>>> Larry
>>> I read this as suggesting it is n
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: "mike cole" <mcole@ucsd.edu>
>>> Sent: ‎2015-‎09-‎10 8:07 AM
>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Dynamics of Developmental Change
>>> Great history lesson, David. Thanks. Shakespeare and Schopenhaur. Wow!
>>> But I fear I misled you by my use of the word, contemporary. I was
>>> referring to 2015, not 1925 or 1885. Its been a while since I have
>> reviewed
>>> the literature on neonatal reflexes and their transformations, so I
>> checked
>>> a recent text (Bornstein and Lamb- *Developmental Science: An advanced
>>> textbook (2015)*. There is an interesting article there by Karen Adolph
>> and
>>> a colleague on sensory motor development (ch5) that has a good summary.
>>> Very interesting and so far as i can tell, perfectly compatible with
>>> emphasis on brain development in the transition to life on the outside
>> and
>>> some version of a story about the increasing role cortical structures
>>> following a stage-like reorganization at 2-3 months. Particularly
>>> intriguing are reflexes present at birth that disappear and then reappear
>>> as constituents of more complex forms of behavior.
>>> Sorry my attempt to advance the discussion was a misdirection. Better
>> luck
>>> next time. Perhaps we could discuss offline unless others want to pursue
>>> this issue.
>>> Might examination of the notion of primary intersubjectivity provide a
>> more
>>> useful avenue of investigation? Not sure.
>>> mike
>>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 2:45 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I assume that when Mike says "contemporary" he is talking about
>>> Vygotsky's
>>>> contemporaries. It's always very hard for me to resist the temptation
>> to
>>> do
>>>> "Wikipedia" footnotes about the founding fathers of infant
>>> psychology--they
>>>> are a very colorful bunch, and many of them heroic although quite
>> wrong.
>>>> Rudolf Virchow, for example, discovered leukemia and invented the
>>> autopsy.
>>>> But he was also a bit of a crank: he didn't believe that diseases were
>>>> caused by germs at all, and he insisted that all disease was cause by
>>>> social inequality (this sounded a lot truer in the nineteenth century
>>> when
>>>> TB was a leading cause of death). He had himself elected to parliament
>>> and
>>>> made himself so unpopular with Bismarck that he was challenged to a
>> duel.
>>>> Since he thought duelling was barbaric, he produced two raw pork
>>> sausages,
>>>> one of which was infected with trichinosis, and offered Bismarck a
>>> choice.
>>>> Bismarck declined.
>>>> Anyway, Virchow believed that infants are essentially "spinal"--all
>>>> functions are decided "reflex arcs" in the spinal cord and not in the
>>> brain
>>>> at all. Vygotsky thinks that only unimportant reflexes take place
>> there,
>>>> but he also thinks that there is a gradual movement of the crucial
>>>> "gap"--the bridging point of the reflex arc--from the pallidum to the
>>>> striatum to the cortex, and that this pretty much explains how children
>>> are
>>>> able to sit up, and eventually walk.
>>>> There are two key figures in mapping the cortex. One of them is
>>>> Flechsig--the fellow who was accused of "bewitching" a judge with
>>>> homosexual impulses and who Freud defended. The other was Foerster, who
>>> was
>>>> Lenin's personal surgeon during his last illness. Foerster wasn't a
>>>> neurosurgeon at all: like Virchow he was more interested in the
>>> contagious
>>>> diseases of the poor, but during he war the main contagion was
>> traumatic
>>>> bullet wounds, and, not being a surgeon, he had the brilliant idea of
>>> using
>>>> only local anaesthetics while he did brain surgery so that he could
>> talk
>>> to
>>>> patients as he was stimulating various parts of the cortex. This
>> allowed
>>>> him to produce a much more detailed map than Flechsig's, and that was
>>>> eventually got him a job in the Kremlin.
>>>> I think Vygotsky is reacting AGAINST a reaction. He actually starts
>> with
>>>> Shakespeare and Schopenhauer. They have tended to approach the problem
>> of
>>>> infancy as a matter of explaining why we weep when we enter the world
>> and
>>>> laugh when we leave. The reaction to this is to treat the infant as
>>>> essentially brainless, and Vygotsky is very interested in
>> re-establishing
>>>> the role of the brain, although I rather doubt the theory, apparently
>>> taken
>>>> over wholesale from Nazi psychologists like Kretschmer, that specific
>>>> structures like the pallidum, and the stratium, just hand their
>> functions
>>>> up to the cortex. It's clear to me that grammaticization takes place in
>>> the
>>>> cortex (my mother is suffering from stroke related dementia, and it's
>>> had a
>>>> catastrophic effect on her grammar). Hence Halliday (but I'm afraid I
>>> don't
>>>> have any pdfs--just my hardbound collected works--and since I got fired
>>>> it's pretty hard for me to scan stuff without getting caught).
>>>> David Kellogg
>>>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 9:06 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>>> We aim to please, David. Being concrete in this way helps me a lot.
>>>>> A few commentaries in italics in between your paragraphs.
>>>>> On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 2:37 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> It's astonishing to me how much of this is in Vygotsky's chapter on
>>>>> infancy
>>>>>> and also in his work on The Crisis at One.
>>>>>> a) Vygotsky vigorously denies that the newborn is a purely
>>> instinctive
>>>>>> being; he argues precisely the opposite, that the evidence is that
>>> the
>>>>>> newborn's instincts are extremely weak, and even those that exist
>> (to
>>>> do
>>>>>> with feeding and positioning) are not "spinal", "medullar", or even
>>>>> purely
>>>>>> "midbrain" in their mediation but instead linked to an undeveloped
>>>>> cortex.
>>>>> ​*I am actually not certain what you are referring to here. The
>>>>> contemporary literature as I read it allows for a very clear set of
>>>>> reflexes present at birth that are sufficiently widespread in the
>>> species
>>>>> to be used as tests for serious organic damage. It has long been
>> known
>>>> that
>>>>> smiling and sucking are observed in hydrocyphalic infants with no
>>>> cortex.*
>>>>> *The key issue it seems is how to understand the reorganization of
>> the
>>>>> infant's life world and biological consiitution which has, until
>> recent
>>>>> research of the sort in the social smiling case, has used qualitatve
>>>> change
>>>>> in the physiological nature of, and social consequences of, the
>>> beginning
>>>>> of what Vygotsky seems to be referring to by "receptive interest in
>> the
>>>>> world." Differentiation of mother's faces near birth in populations I
>>>> know
>>>>> about has been pretty clearly established, so receptive interest"
>> seems
>>>> to
>>>>> be there from the beginning. What is primary intersubjectivity, in
>>> LSV's
>>>>> terms? When does human perception become active (is it ever just
>>>>> receptive?), or is it a form of action from the beginning?*​
>>>>>> b) Vygotsky says that most writers on infancy consider that social
>>>>> smiling
>>>>>> is the THE key milestone which marks off the newborn period from
>>>> infancy.
>>>>>> Vygotsky says it isn't. Infancy begins with "receptive interest in
>>> the
>>>>>> world", and it is only reciprocated in later periods of infancy
>> (what
>>>>>> Halliday calls proto-conversation).
>>>>> ​*Perhaps Manfred or an xmca-er familiar with the Nso/German and
>> other
>>>>> cases​*
>>>>> *​when reciprocity begins, Their kids show other features of behavior
>>>> that
>>>>> are part of the ensemble that includes smiling, activity, and in the
>>>>> European cases what might be considered protoconversations. I do not
>>>> recall
>>>>> data on the study of the local language uses in infant-caretaker
>>>>> interaction for the Nso, but it sure is something we would want to
>>> know.*
>>>>>> c) In HDHMF, Vygotsky tries to work out a typology of the different
>>>> forms
>>>>>> of higher cultural behavior. He does this through the method Andy
>>> calls
>>>>>> immanent critique: he takes Thorndike's two level scheme and finds
>> it
>>>>>> doesn't explain intellect at all; he then adopts Buhler's three
>> level
>>>>>> scheme and finds that, 1) Buhler over-extends it to cover both
>> humans
>>>> and
>>>>>> animals and both children and adults, and 2) it doesn't explain
>>>> volition
>>>>> at
>>>>>> all, since intellect too is a form of adaptation. In the infancy
>>>> chapter,
>>>>>> Vygotsky argues that the roots of ALL of the forms of behavior
>>>> (instinct,
>>>>>> habit, intellect and volition) are right there in infancy--in the
>>> form
>>>> of
>>>>>> affect.
>>>>> ​*Perhaps here is where the concept of primary intersubjectivity
>> could
>>> be
>>>>> helpful because it is all about affect.*​
>>>>>> Halliday too argues against the "blank slate": he points out that
>>> each
>>>> of
>>>>>> the different grammatical forms associated with what appears in
>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>> as
>>>>>> ​
>>>>>> crises and stable age periods has a "proto-" period ( which in my
>>>> scheme
>>>>>> ​
>>>>>> corresponds to the crisis) and a "proper" period (which
>>>>>> ​c​
>>>>>> orresponds to the
>>>>>> ​
>>>>>> stable period).
>>>>>>                              CRISIS                  STABLE PERIOD
>>>>>> newborn                 protoconversation
>>>>>> infancy
>> conversation
>>>>> proper
>>>>>> one                        protolanguage
>>>>>> early childhood                                      language
>> proper
>>>>>> crisis at three         protonarrative/dialog
>>>>>> preschool                                              narrative
>> and
>>>>>> dialogue proper
>>>>>> crisis at seven       protodiscourse
>>>>>>                            (academic wording)
>>>>>> school age                                            discourse
>>> proper
>>>>>> crisis at 13             prototurn taking
>>>>>>                           (grammatical metaphor,
>>>>>>                             variation, register,
>>>>>>                             social dialect)
>>>>>> puberty
>> turn-taking
>>>>>> proper
>> ​----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> *This is Halliday, David? And you wish to use it and line it up with
>>>> LSV?*
>>>>> *If so,*
>>>>> *1.  a suggestion concerning the case of the change from newborn to
>>>> infancy
>>>>> that is the topic of the shift I recently sent around. You might want
>>> to
>>>>> put newborn as a stage before, or within, infancy. Protoconversations
>>> in
>>>>> Hallidays sense start after The "3 month shift", right? (If their
>>> culture
>>>>> is so organized that reciprocal smiling is a valued from of joint
>>>> mediated,
>>>>> activity- to use my heavy jargon). *
>>>>> *2. What happens when we move outside of schooled environments? I
>>> assume
>>>>> they acquire discourse proper in some other fashion? I am uncertain
>>> about
>>>>> what it means to acquire turn-taking proper. *
>>>>> 3. *It has always struck me that the stages posited by Piaget and
>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>> corresponded so closely. I think one of the great benefits of all you
>>>> have
>>>>> been writing about is that it gets us to focus on the process of
>>> change.
>>>>> Piaget had a name for this process, but, disequilbrium. But he does
>> not
>>>>> single out the period of (relatively) rapid transition for special
>>>> notice.
>>>>> LSV does. And in a manner that seems to be au courant, even if it is
>>> in a
>>>>> different dialect.*
>>>>> ​
>>>>> ​Do you by chance have a pdf of the Halliday article?
>>>>> mike​
>>>>> Halliday, M.A.K. (1978) Meaning and the Construction of Reality. In
>>> Modes
>>>>>> of Perceiving and Processing Information (H.L. Pick and E. Saltzman
>>>> Eds),
>>>>>> Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 67-96, Also in the Collected
>>> Works
>>>> of
>>>>>> M.A.K. Halliday, Voll 4, pp. 113-143).
>>>>>> David Kellogg
>>>>>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 1:07 AM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Thank you, Mike -- and Martin and Sheila!
>>>>>>> Good material to think with and a nudge to look again at Barbara
>>>> Means'
>>>>>>> baby reports.
>>>>>>> Tangentially, you know those strollers for babies that are
>>> reversible
>>>>> --
>>>>>>> the reclining baby can be looking toward the person pushing the
>>>>> stroller
>>>>>> or
>>>>>>> with a switch the baby can be looking at the same world the
>> pusher
>>>>> sees?
>>>>>>> Maybe different affordances for proto-conversations within one
>>> wider
>>>>>>> culture (don't know of any studies) and possible mini-impacts on
>>>>>>> developments like smiling?
>>>>>>> Peg
>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> [mailto:
>>>>>>> xmca-l-bounces+peg.griffin=att.net@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf
>> Of
>>>> mike
>>>>>>> cole
>>>>>>> Sent: Monday, September 07, 2015 3:20 PM
>>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Dynamics of Developmental Change
>>>>>>> I have been trying to think of a way to more concretely engage
>>>> David's
>>>>>>> developmental domainsxstages table. One of David's stage margins
>> is
>>>> at
>>>>> 3
>>>>>>> months and there is ample reason for arguing for the existence a
>>>> stage
>>>>>>> shift in development at this time. (My wife and I wrote about it
>> in
>>>>> just
>>>>>>> this way in our textbook).
>>>>>>> However, there is also a lot of interesting, newer, evidence
>>> showing
>>>>> the
>>>>>>> cultural-historical contingency of the changes that underpinned
>> the
>>>>>>> developmental literature for several decades.
>>>>>>> I thought that perhaps this example, since it is pretty well
>> worked
>>>>> out,
>>>>>>> might help us get at the issues David raised. I believe this work
>>>> could
>>>>>>> usefully be related to notions of zopeds, but am not sure.
>>>>>>> This rather long fragment is taken from a recent article that
>>> Martin
>>>>> and
>>>>>> I
>>>>>>> wrote.
>>>>>>> mike
>>>>>>> (For this one, not only Boesch but Waddington are apt: The latter
>>>>> having
>>>>>>> written that every new level of development implies a new,
>>> relevant,
>>>>>>> context.)
>>>>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with
>>> an
>>>>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>>>>> --
>>>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>>> --
>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch

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