Wolves in Sheep's Clothing and Other Vygotskian Constructs

  • Towsey P
  • Macdonald C
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In 2007 a South African study examined new concept formation from early childhood to adulthood (N = 60, 3 to 76 years old) using the Vygotsky/Sakharov Blocks procedure (also known as the functional method of double stimulation for the study of concept formation) to establish whether contemporary adults and children produced the same or similar patterns as those described by Lev Vygotsky. The study found correspondence with the processes of concept formation identified by Vygotsky and his colleagues in the 1920s and 1930s. A developmental trend consistent with Vygotsky's writings on the ontogenesis of concept formation was reflected in a positive correlation between the age of the participants and their modes of thinking. The greatest increase in this developmental trend occurred between the 11-year-old and 15-year-old participants: This finding verified Vygotsky's assertion that true conceptual thinking only becomes possible in adolescence. The functional equivalence of pseudoconcepts in role and structure led Vygotsky to call them wolves in sheep's clothing, and it would appear that many a shepherd of today is unsuspecting of such lupine behaviour. Findings on pseudoconcepts are presented in detail and illustrated with photographs depicting selected elements from the study's microgenetic analyses of these elusive yet important Vygotskian constructs. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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  • Paula M. Towsey

  • Carol A. Macdonald

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