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Marc Johnson

PSY312-lec4 May 15, 2013 *most important theoretical camp: Piaget (stages of development); next: IPT (complementary to Piaget) – which heavily influenced development of artificial cognition; third theoretical camp = social-cultural-historic (heavily influenced + started by Lev Vygotsky) -Vygotsky’s ideas weren’t really “embraced” until the 1970s Lev S. Vygotsky *Piaget’s focus = the individual as an amateur scientist trying to figure out on their own what was going on around them; he focused on change in the individual level *Vygotsky’s ideas: (clearly = environment!) how individual was influenced by what other people around them were doing; change in cognitive development as influenced by social interactions; interested in how culture influences person’s development - most important component of culture: language - language will not develop unless there’s exposure to it - Culture is the prime determinant of cognitive development o Vygotsky influenced educational system – open classrooms very popular in 1970s (no walls; children could freely mix with each other and the teacher); thought was that open classrooms enhanced education o Vygotsky’s “Zone of proximal development” – in order to develop people had to be interacting with each other o He was suggesting that cultural-social interaction is required for development to occur o Socialization was paramount in cognitive development (perhaps was product of his time and place – he was born 1897, died at 1934 – born in Russian Empire, and died in Soviet Union = movement from class-based society to classless society, major social upheaval – movement towards socialism - communism) o His work went mostly unnoticed, was in line with what most communists would have proposed – but his research was largely rejected – b/c he was an outsider (he was Jewish) - Learning leads cognitive development The social formation of the mind - Vygotsky believed that individual development could not be understood without reference to the social and cultural context within which such development is embedded Mind evolution is continuous - Unlike Piaget or Bruner, Vygotsky focused on the mechanism of the development, excluding distinguishable developmental stages (main mechanisms = language, zone of proximal development – mechanism was called “scaffolding”) o Scaffold = outline by which u can build something Vygotsky’s theoretical assumptions: - He rejected idea that a single abstract principle, such as equilibration, can explain cognitive development o Vygotsky was very familiar with Piaget’s work; the opposite was not true (*essay question – wat would happen if piaget + vygotsky collaborated together? Piaget’s work would be more individually based) o Donald Hebb - Person to suggest cognitive development is the result of brain change - He offered an alternative to Piaget’s contructivism o Piaget: mind models the external world Human beings make sense of their world by means of their mental structures o Vygotsky: the external world models the mind Knowledge is internalization of social activity Mediation: - Means that human beings purposefully interpose tools between them and their environment, in order to modify it and obtain certain benefits. Example: farmers plough the earth to acquire better crops - Is a central concept in Vygotsky’s view of cognitive development. It offers a complementary perspective to the behaviorist view o He states that by using activity mediators, the human being is able to modify the environment, and this is her way of interacting with the nature - 2 phenomena marked the mediated relationship of humans with their environment: o The use of tools within social organized activity o The use of language as a cultural form of mediation - Mediation --> intelligence --> higher mental processes o How ppl convert social relations into psychological functions?  They use different types of language (signs) as mediators between their minds and their environment Higher Mental Processes: Symbolic mediation - When a child tries to grasp an object, and parents interpret this gesture as a pointing out to the object, they give her the object. She internalizes the gesture as a way of acquiring the object. After repeating this behavior with other objects, the mental representation of this b
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