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Re: [xmca] MARKED activity within a Dynamic Systems Developmental Model

Hi Mike and Martin

Thanks for responding.

Mike, I will keep the terms "inscribed" and "culturally mediated" in mind
when reflecting on marked activity.  I'm struggling with how to elaborate a
coherent developmental narrative that I am able to use in my conversations
with others.  In this sense I am trying to participate in a language "game"
or "dance".  I work as a counsellor in elementary school settings and
attempt to position myself or take a stance as a developmental story-teller
in conversation with others who speak from a position of behavioural
narratives. With Jerome Bruner I believe the developmental narratives we
engage in have profound implications for our cultural practices of social
equality (or inequality) and practices of recognizing or negating the
other.  CO-constructing discursive or narrative "explanations" of why we act
the way we do seems to be at the center of my my project to act morally or
ethically or with a "conscience" in order to construct possible worlds.

In my quest to come up with folk psychology explanations or narratives that
can be co-constructed and used to transform the practices within public
school settings [on a moment to moment microgenetic time scale] I am
searching for developmental models [as narratives] that can create "possible
worlds with our actual minds" (Bruner)  Now in order to take this particular
developmental stance or position within school structures I need to become a
better story-teller as I converse with others in my day to day activity.

Martin, attempting to become a different kind of person and at the same time
participate in developing possible worlds I've come to this moment in time
when I'm trying to understand marked activity as a particular subset of the
multicausal pathways explained in dynamic systems theory [as a narrative ].

 Martin you asked if I can say more about why I consider posture to be
marked? You mentioned that standing the infant prevents the bodily memory of
reaching to A from producing the A-B error.  I understand this changing the
infant's posture as a marked activity. The intersubjective changing of the
infants posture  is one particular instance of the phenomena I am
highlighting as reflecting marking activity.

I picked this example because it highlights "bodily memory" as a particular
causal pathway [one among multiple causes] and a precursor to language
memory.  The intersubjective process of the adult intentionally changing the
infants posture is why I considered it as marked activity. INTERSUBJECTIVITY
is central to Fonagy's notion of "marked" as a term coined to explain
intersubjective developmental processes.

 In the article I posted Smith and Thelen draw our attention to multiple
causes or processes of  development that coordinate organized patterns of
behavior. When reading about bodily memory I was struck by how their
explanation parallels how Fonagy uses he term "marked" to explain a
particular subset of intersubjectively inscribed behaviors that focus on the
infants affective attunement [where the parent or caregiver responds in very
specific ways to the infants affective actions] Marked responses don't
MIRROR,  copy, or imitate the infants affective actions.  In fact, Fonagy
suggests mirroring behavior is actually disruptive to development and causes
agitation and alarm in the infant. Marked responses by the parent CONTAIN
the infants affective experience.

Mike, this process of affective attunement or marking is clearly culturally
mediated as what the parent sees [perspective] and therefore marks depends
on folk psychology.  If the parent sees the infants affect as an expression
of  the soul or spirit or alternatively as expressing innate drives these
culturally mediated narratives alter the form of marking [as affective

Fonagy takes a position that the quality of marked attunement is decisive
for the forms of "reflective function" that develop in the infant as a
result of the intersubjective dance between parent and infant.  This is a
particular naarative of development and is an extension of Bowlby's
attachment theory. [but rejects Bowlby's notion of attachment as "templates"
that DETERMINE the future]

Developmental systems theory suggests bodily memory [embodied] and narrative
memory are CONSTRAINTS on how we anticipate our future moves and are a
subset of particular causal mechanisms.  Narratives to explain our affective
responses develop from MARKED recognition of the affective responses of the
infant that are ATTUNED [empathic is a term often used].  IF marked
attunement is a fundamental process as we develop folk psycholgy
explanations of affect and its "regulation" or "mastery" as a particular
intersubjective subset of the multiplicity of causes [tools and signs] then
dynamic systems theory may be a promising narrative to articulate to advance
our folk psychology notions to explain behavior and alter the kinds of
worlds and selves WE form.

Final comment on dynamic systems theory.  One fundamental concept of the
model is  multicausality. Multiple causes organize the field or system.  The
other fundamental concept of the model is  "time as nested"  After reading
Martin's history of Lewin's field theory its left me cautious to use the
term "nested."  Is seeing "time" as nested qualitatively distinct from
seeing "spaces or places" as nested?


On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 2:24 PM, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

> Larry,
> Can you say more about why you consider posture to be marked? On a (very)
> quick read through the article, the suggesting seems to be that standing the
> infant prevents the bodily memory of reaching to A from producing the A-B
> error. (A variety of other changes have the same effect.) What makes this a
> ZPD, in your reading?
> As for the nested character of time... I have to read further (and perhaps
> in a standing posture). :)
> Martin
> On Apr 6, 2011, at 9:58 AM, Larry Purss wrote:
> > Smith and Thelan's article [attached] highlights some empirical evidence
> for
> > the centrality of MARKED activity for development.  Refer especially to
> page
> > 346 where 10 month old infants do the A not B task and the activity that
> > becomes MARKED is a shift in posture from a sitting to a standing
> position.
> > This marked shift in posture allows the infant to be in a ZPD that allows
> > the infant to be successful on a task that is thought of as being a later
> > developing capacity.
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