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Memory and the Child Werner vs. Vygotsky.

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Presentation on theme: "Memory and the Child Werner vs. Vygotsky."— Presentation transcript:

1 Memory and the Child Werner vs. Vygotsky

2 The Theorists

3 Heinz Werner (1890-1964) Born in Vienna, Austria in 1890
Bright and studious Loved music and planned to be composer and music historian Class incident – changed major to psychology and philosophy Gestalt philosophy Came to America in 1933 1947 – Professor at Clark University Heinz Werner was born in 1890, in Vienna, Austria.  He was bright and studious, with a strong love for music, and when he entered the University of Vienna, he planned to be a composer and music historian.  However, one day Werner accidentally went to the wrong lecture hall and ended up in a philosophy class.  Not wanting to embarrass himself by leaving in the middle of class, he stayed, and he enjoyed it so much that he decided to change his major to philosophy and psychology.(A87)  In 1917, Werner joined the Psychological Institute at Hamburg, where he became involved in the new Gestalt psychology.  This psychology held that when people perceive things, the perception is of the whole form, or gestalt--not the particulars that make up that whole.  This thinking would have a strong influence upon Werner's thinking and later work.(A88) In 1933, Werner had to leave Hamburg because of his Jewish identity, and he eventually went to America.  There he worked as a research psychologist and in low teaching positions until, in 1947, he became a professor of psychology and education at Clark University and finally found a "true intellectual home."(A89)  Biographical information from: Crain, William. Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. Fifth Ed. New Jersey: Pearson: Prentice Hall, 2005.

4 Werner’s Key Terms Microgenetic mobility Eidetic imagery
The “pure memory image” of something, as if the image in one’s mind is actually the percept itself. Physiognomic perception The perception of an object from an emotional viewpoint, as the child is affected by what he sees. It is the attribution of expressive features to any object, even inanimate. Synesthesia The combination of more than one sense in perceiving an object. This makes a rich, vivacious perception. Geometric-technical perception The tendency to use objective and measurable properties in perception. This is a completely abstract, objective approach to perception. Microgenetic mobility The ability of some adults to revert from geometric-technical to physiognomic perception.

5 Heinz Werner – His Theory
Discontiuous Development Orthogenic Principle Organic whole Differentiation Hierarchical integration Self-object differentiation Physiognomic Perception – younger children Geometric-technical perception – older children/adults Werner was a developmentalist who believed that development is discontinuous, involving changes in structure, as according to the Orthogenic Principle.  Just as an embryo begins as an organic whole, with no separate parts functioning apart from the whole, children first perceive the world in wholes and as a part of themselves.  The next stage is differentiation, by which children begin to make distinctions between different things and begin to perceive things apart from themselves, just as the different parts of a fetus begin to have their own functions.  For example, a child will move from making large circular movements when they draw, to differentiating between different kinds of lines, like straight or wiggly.  Finally hierarchical integration is reached; just as the different parts of a fetus become organized and fall under the control of the central nervous system, children begin to organize and plan for goals.  In this stage, a child can bring together the different types of lines in order to create a picture and reach his goal.(A90) Werner focused strongly on the aspect of differentiation, particularly self-object differentiation.  According to Werner, young children perceive the world as a part of themselves, basing their perceptions upon how they themselves are affected by those perceptions: "The younger the child, the less purely objective and self-subsistent things become, and the more highly conditioned in their significance by emotional and motor reactions."(B65)  For example, a child could pick up a piece of wood and believe it to be a horse--not because the child perceived characteristics in that piece of wood that would make it a horse or supplied in his imagination the objective qualities it lacked in order to be horse, but because the wood had the significance of "horse" due to the child's own mental reaction to it as a horse. (B65)  Along with this lack of self-object differentiation comes the physiognomic perception characteristic of young children.  According to Werner, a child perceives objects as having emotions and expressive qualities, as if those objects were animate.  Yet, this comes from the child's own reaction to the object, and how that object emotionally affects the child.  The child has not yet realized that objects have their own objective qualities, separate from the child's own thoughts and feelings.  Because of this attribution of emotion and expression to the percept (what is being perceived), young children's perception is rich and detailed.  This, combined with young children's natural eidetic imagery, causes the child's memory to be rich and extensive, as they can see to a certain extent the image in their mind just as they have perceived it. (B ) However, older children use geometric-technical perception, which is “the tendency to use objective and measurable properties in perception.”(C) When older children perceive things, they perceive them in an abstract, objective way, in which the percept is separate from the rich emotion of the child himself. Also, older children organize the elements of the percept, relating each object to other objects and to the whole. This involves the higher functions of hierarchical thinking, which younger children do not yet fully possess. This geometrical-technical perception actually causes better memory than mere physiognomic perception, according to Werner: “Faintness of sensuous attribute and a fragmentary character, which from the standpoint of concrete experience represent an inadequacy, are actually positive rather than negative signs of the new structure of imagery dictated by utility in abstract schemata.”(B152) Yet, Werner believed that people should and often do retain some physiognomic qualities in their perception, and this ability to revert from geometric-technical perception to the more primitive physiognomic perception is called microgenetic mobility. Werner saw this ability as very important to making adults’ perception richer and fuller. (A92) Werner Nature Nurture

6 Lev Vygotsky ( ) Born and raised in Byelorussia Republic Exceptionally bright child Graduated from Moscow University Teaching Stunning psychology presentation Research and development of theory Works not published until much later Lev Vygotsky was a Russian Jew who lived only thirty-eight years from 1896 to He was born and Grew up in Byelorussia Republic, in an area called the Pale where the Jews were ___________ Exceptionally bright child, having the ability to read very rapidly and remember very well He was very involved in theater, poetry, and literary critique at Moscow University, from which he graduated in 1917 He then taught language,literature,logic, psychology, aesthetics, art history, and theater at different places for 7 years. As with Werner, there was a turning point in his life, when he gave a stunning presentation defending the role of consciousness in psychology at the Second Psychoneurological Conference in Leningrad in He then had the opportunity to join the Institute of Psychology of Moscow. There he and two colleagues, Alexander Luria and Aleksei Leontiev formed what was called the “troika,” and for the next ten years they conducted research and developed Vygotsky’s “new psychology,” or his social-historical theory of development. [1] [1] Dixon-Krauss. Vygotsky in the Classroom: Mediated Literacy Instruction and Assessment .New York: Longman Publishers USA, p.2-3 Biographical information from: Dixon-Krauss, Lisbeth. Vygotsky in the Classroom: Mediated Literacy Instruction and Assessment. New York: Longman Publishers USA, pp.2-3

7 Vygotsky’s Key Terms Natural mental behaviors
the elementary, biological abilities of the brain. This and other “lower…mental behaviors,” according to Vygotsky, are shared with some animals. Cultural mental behaviors the culturally developed, higher mental actions that are unique to humans. These behaviors are more complex and are self-directed . Signs - psychological tools – “artificial, or self-generated, stimuli.”. Objects, behaviors, or other stimuli which people use to augment their natural mental capacities. They give people control over their mental behaviors. Examples: language, reminders. When signs are used, behavior is said to be “mediated behavior.” Internalization The progressive transfer from external social activity mediated by signs to internal control. Semiotic mediation The process by which, through the use of signs, natural mental behaviors are developed into higher, cultural, mental behaviors Natural mental behaviors: Examples: elementary perception, memory, attention Cultural mental behaviors: Examples: logical memory, selctive attentioun, decision making, comprehension of language Aquired through learning and teaching Deliberate, mediated, internalized (Tools of the Mind by Elena Bodrova) Definitions from Vygotsky, Mind in Society, Dixon-Krauss, Vygotsky in the Classroom: Mediated Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Bodrova, Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education., and Crain textbook.

8 Lev Vygotsky – His Theory
Sociohistorical theory of development There are two lines of development: “the elementary processes, which are of biological origin…and the higher psychological functions, of sociocultural origin…The history of child behavior is born from the interweaving of these two lines.” - Mind in Society Nature Nurture Vygotsky A. Leontiev’s study on mediated memory Younger children – little or no use of signs School-age children – use of external signs Adults – internalized use of signs

9 Werner and Vygotsky’s views on memory
“As one would expect, the capacity for retention during childhood has been found to increase with age… We know at least one of the principal causal factors: viz., the growing capacity of the child to organize material to be retained.” Vygotsky “In the elementary form something is remembered; in the higher form humans remember something.”

10 Guiding Questions Is it really true that older children, whom Vygotsky would say have culturally acquired better memory skills, but who no longer have the richness of perception and eidetic imagery that Werner says younger children possess, will remember more than the younger children?   Will a structured, logical approach to memory hinder the natural ability of the younger children while assisting the older?

11 Hypothesis The kindergartners will do better overall
The kindergartners’ scores will not improve when they are asked to remember. The third graders’ scores will improve when they are asked to remember

12 Procedure 5 Kindergartners and 5 Third Graders 2 Scenes Farm Scene
Discussion of objects and details Not told beforehand to try to remember Asked how they remembered Beach Scene Told beforehand to try to remember To further explore the applications of Werner and Vygotsky’s theories of child development, a study was conducted, with four, hour-long observation/experimental sessions involving a total of 10 children. The observations were conducted at Holy Family of Nazareth, a private Catholic school in Irving, Texas. They were done at various times of the day, and included a ten to twelve minute interview with each of five children. Two sessions were conducted several days apart with the a group of five kindergarten students, one involving a recall task concerning a farm scene and the other involving a recall task concerning a beach scene. Two similar sessions were conducted with a group of five third graders. The setting for both sessions with the kindergarten children was the foyer outside of their classroom, with another classroom door near it, a large eating area with tables and chairs nearby, and doors leading to the school’s hallways. This situation involved some distractions because of groups of children that would pass through on their way to somewhere else, stopping to use the water fountains, as well as the sounds and traffic of the two kindergarten classroom doors near where the researchers were seated The setting for the first third grade session was an empty classroom where students were taken from outdoor recess and the setting for the second session with third graders was an outdoor walkway outside their classroom. This was the noisiest and most distraction-prone area. There was much noise and activity around the area, from the repeated, very loud pealing of the school bell close by, the sounds from open classroom doors nearby, and the passing by of students, one of whom stopped to talk briefly to a third-grader who was being interviewed The children were taken one at a time to sit with the two researchers in front of a tall felt board/chalk board. When they came, the board would be turned to the empty chalk board side, and then, when the preliminary information had been gathered and the researchers had introduced themselves and the study, it would be turned around to the felt board side where a felt scene had been prepared. The picture for the first session was a farm scene and that for the second was a beach scene Susanna Vinson talked with the children while Kristina Fulgham observed and took notes. Susanna would say, “We’re going to look at a picture together,” turn the board around, and say, “One by one, let’s look at these things and talk about them.” This they would proceed to do, following a very specific script, in which Susanna would point to items, ask questions about them such as, “What is this?” – “What color is it?” – “What is the boy wearing?” and “What color are his clothes?” After they had completed talking through the script, she would give the child another minute or so to “look at everything in the picture.” After a pause, she would ask if he had looked at everything, and then turn the board around. Then she would ask the child to tell her something that he remembered from the picture. For each thing, she would ask what color it was, and if it was appropriate, how many of the object there were. For the people in the picture, she would ask what color their hair was, what they were wearing, and what color their clothes were. The child would tell her things that he remembered or respond to further questions until there was a pause, and she would ask, “What else do you remember?” until the child said that he did not remember any more. After another minute of time to think, Susanna would ask some final questions, the main one of which was, “Can you tell me how you remembered all those things?” as well as others not in the script that the researchers asked for curiosity’s sake or to better understand what the child was saying. The third graders were asked more follow-up questions than the kindergarteners, both because the researchers had thought of more questions they wanted to ask and because the third graders were better able to respond to the questions. The difference between the first session and the second session was that the second time involved a beach scene, and the children were told at the beginning that they should “try really hard to remember the things, the colors, and what the people were wearing” because afterwards they were going to be asked to tell as much as they could remember. They were also prompted to “try really hard to remember” during the discussion of the picture.

13 The Scenes # 2: Beach Scene # 1: Farm Scene
This is what the scenes looked like. They are different, but were carefully constructed to have the same number of items so that the scores the children received would be comparable. (Farm: Items in the farm scene included: a red barn, an old farmer with a tan straw hat, a red shirt, white undershirt, blue overalls, and brown shoes, a blond boy with a red, white, and blue T-shirt, blue shorts, white socks, and white shoes, a white, brown, and black dog, a black-and-white cow, a white lamb, a white duck, a brown horse, a brown “baby horse,” two reddish brown chickens, a yellow-and-white cow and a gray donkey eating from a manger, a Chinese girl with black hair, wearing a white shirt with pink and blue markings and pink trimmings, pink overalls, pink-and-white socks, and white shoes, a white house with a brown roof and an open garage with a pile of wood inside, the top of a tree showing behind the house, two peach-and-tan nests in the tree, and five orange baby birds in the two nests (three in one and two in the other). Beach: The beach scene included: a red, blue, and green pail, two pink shells, two palm trees, one with dark green and one with light green leaves, a brown coconut in the palm tree, three bushes, two dark and one light green, pink and white flowers, a boy with black hair, wearing a lei and purple “shorts,” a blue bucket, the blue ocean, the peachy-tan sand (or beach), a green-and-yellow fish, a brown sailboat with a yellow, red, and blue sail, a girl with black hair, holding a green ball and wearing a pink-and-white striped shirt, blue shorts, blue-and-white socks, and pink shoes, a girl with brown hair wearing a pink dress, a yellow sun, and two rainbow-colored beach balls.)

14 Scoring Object remembered correctly: +1 point
Detail remembered correctly: +1 point Incorrect object or detail: -1 point Kristina then scored the children’s answers according to the scoring criteria developed, and the children’s scores, comments, and general behavior in the session were compared and analyzed. The scoring consisted of points gained for things correctly remembered, and points lost for incorrect details.  For instance, if a child remembered there was a cow and said that it was white (though in reality it was yellow), the child would receive a point for the cow and would lose a point for saying it was white.  Thus, for those two details, the child would receive a total of 0 points.  In order to make the highest possible scores for both scenes as close as possible, so that the results would be accurate, the same amount of objects were placed in each scene.  Also, amount of details and characteristics were kept as close as possible in number.  At one point, it became apparent that there were more colors in the beach scene than in the farm scene, because there were beach balls and a boat that had many different colors.  So, when Kristina was scoring, she decided to award three points if a child said "rainbow-colored" for those objects; if the child actually listed the colors, then if the child listed at least three correct colors, he would receive no more than three points.  If a child listed less than three accurate colors, then he would receive the corresponding number of points for the colors he remembered accurately.  A separate score was also kept for the number of objects the children remembered which were not discussed.

15 The Result

16 Overall

17 The Scores – Kindergarten and Third

18 How the Kindergartners Remembered
Sam “I watch TV a lot.” “TV again. ‘Cause I can remember stuff on it.” Tracy Because I think in my brain, and I think quietly.” “Because I thinked, and I thinked really hard. And tried to remember.” Ryan “That was easy, because I looked, and my brain was telling me.” “I was looking very carefully, and my ears were turned on , and my brain was clicked on.” Sara “I picture them in my mind.” “I tried to remember. I pictured them in my mind.” Lauren “Because I looked at it really good.” “’Cause I looked at the picture a long time, and I looked at it really good.”

19 How the Third Graders Remembered
Timmy “I looked at them, then tried to remember them. I just tried to remember.” “By looking at them really hard and trying to memorize them. Like look at it two times, and then after you’re done, you can close your eyes and try to think of it.” Joe “By memorizing it. ‘Cause the color they are and the animal they are. I pictured them in my head.” “I pictured them in my head. And I remembered them, in my memory.” Elizabeth “By seeing the pictures, and not forgetting what they were.” “By putting them into my head and by looking at the pictures for a minute, and by taking a picture of them.” Marisa “I just pictured them in my mind.” “Just by memorizing them in my head. I just see them in my head and keep thinking about them.” Maria “By looking at the background of the farm. Like looking at a farm with animals and seeing some of the animals in this scene.”

20 RIGHT! Conclusions WRONG! I. K over 3rd overall:
II. K wouldn’t improve: RIGHT! III. 3rd would improve:

21 Limitations Distractions Kindergartners and third graders too close in age Should have encouraged the children to give more details on their own, when discussing the picture the first time

22 Other Questions How much of a difference does it make when things to be remembered are discussed, and not just seen? What about the other senses? Which played a more significant role in memory: Werner’s development, or Vygotsky’s social conditioning? Or a mixture of both?

23 Links: Werner overview: Vygotsky overview:


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