RE: [xmca] double-stimulation method

From: Paula Towsey <paulat who-is-at>
Date: Thu Oct 09 2008 - 04:38:35 PDT

I came across several studies dealing with adult cognition and 'Vygotsky's
complex framework', as you so aptly term it, Eric, when I was compiling my
literature survey. Of these three, I found Vaughan's and Tuomi's to be the
most fascinating.

The 1980 studies include a remarkable paper entitled "Saussure and Vygotsky
via Marx", where Genevieve Vaughan (1980/81) draws comparisons between the
langue and the parole of a linguistic system with that of an economic one.
She brings together meaning, money, labour, and culture, and provides an
insightful discourse of Vygotsky's framework on conceptual development which
covers the langue of four 'mutually exclusive signifiers' and the parole of
coming to understand what certain culturally significant and relevant
concepts mean. She also is of the opinion that two processes of
polarisation are required for concept formation, where the first is between
the sample as an equivalent and the other blocks as relative, and where the
second is between the relevant and the non-relevant characteristics of the
sample as well as those of the other blocks.

Vaughan, G., (1980/81), Saussure and Vygotsky via Marx. First published in
Ars Semeiotica 4:1 57-83. Amsterdam: C John Benjamins B.V. (My copy
downloaded 2006/02/21 11:25 AM.)

In the 1990s, several studies - Bacalarski (1996) and Tuomi (1998) - analyse
or adapt the method of double stimulation to computer environments.
Bacalarksi's tentative analysis looks at how novice users become more adept
at using and understanding computers and she uses Vygotsky's findings on the
paths to conceptual thinking for this analysis. She maintains that most
users, compared to experts, are at the pseudoconceptual level, and that time
and further developments are required before users achieve 'adulthood' as
computer-literate users. Tuomi's paper is about an adaptation of the method
of double stimulation in collaborative environments in the setting of a
large mobile telephone manufacturer, and concludes that Vygotsky's
theoretical framework provides better explanations for both individual and
collaborative learning in corporate enterprises than do other kinds of

Tuomi, I., (1998), Vygotsky in a TeamRoom: An exploratory study on
collective concept formation in electronic environments, Nokia Group,
Finland: Nokia Research Center.

Bacalarski, M., (1996), Vygotsky's Developmental Theories and the Adulthood
of Computer-mediated Communication: A Comparison and an Illumination,
Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 34:1 57-63. Armonk, NY: M.
E. Sharpe.

Let me know if you need more info to track these down, okay?

Bye for now

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: 08 October 2008 09:03 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] double-stimulation method

Hello Steve, welcome to the discussion. My best answer to that question
would be to look at Sylvia Scribner's work study research that is available
on the LCHS website. I believe you will find it imbedded in the LCHC
newsletter. It is fascinating stuff. Of course the brilliant
cross-cultural research of Dr. Michael Cole could also illicit quite a
boatload of info. The rub is that neither Scribner or Cole used Vygotsky's
complex framework for summarizing their work. Perhaps that makes it a



                      Steve Gabosch

                      <stevegabosch@me To: "eXtended Mind,
Culture, Activity" <>
                      .com> cc:

                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca]
double-stimulation method




                      10/08/2008 01:24


                      Please respond

                      to "eXtended

                      Mind, Culture,




Eric, Paula, others,

Vygotsky's idea of complexive thinking in adults greatly interests
me. What has been done so far with this in theory and research?

- Steve

On Oct 8, 2008, at 11:06 AM, wrote:

> Hello Paula:
> This is the aspect of your post that I would like to focus on:
> 4. providing a snapshot of a 'complex'
> Yes, they - the blocks - do. What is sometimes a bit difficult for
> me to
> impart to colleagues who haven't worked with the blocks is that
> reading
> about them, and then conducting an exercise with them, are very (very)
> different experiences. I suspect this to be true of most research
> instruments - the thing about the blocks, though, is that the
> solution is
> deceptively simple - especially when you have found out what it is by
> reading about it. In fact, this element - trying to keep the actual
> solution a secret - got me into trouble in one of my first
> submissions to a
> major publication - precisely because I was hoping there would be some
> readers out there who wouldn't want to be told the whodunit - but
> would
> prefer to work it out for themselves.
> But, to return to the 'snapshot', as you can see from my comments in
> point
> number three, a snapshot of complexes is gained - sometimes there are
> combinations of them and what makes lots of the analysis really
> challenging
> is working out what is developmental, what is complexive in adults,
> and
> what
> is idiosyncratic in everyone. Does this make sense, Eric?
> Once again the idea of complexive thinking provides a structure that
> is
> flexible. Problem solving at any age can bounce from syncretic to
> diffuse
> to statistical to matching to chains and finally to conceptual. The
> measure of what constitutes conceptual thinking, in my humble
> opinion, lies
> with the word being the unit of analysis. The beauty of Vygotsky's
> complexes is that he states them as methods of achieving activities
> and not
> as stages of development that build upon each other. A person at
> any age
> may illicit any of the complexes by themselves or in unison with
> another
> complex. I believe what needs to be sorted out is what cultural
> structures
> illicit what complexes and what cultural and historical methods best
> contribute to conceptual thinking. David Kellogg was correct when he
> stated that the Japanese powerhouse of elementary education should
> certainly be studied in depth to hopefully answer these questions.
> eric
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