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I'm reading The Logic of Alice (Clear Thinking in Wonderland) and came across something interesting related to the many time Alice changes size in the story in a section called "Errors of Scale in Childhood." I thought it was going to refer to conservation/Piaget but instead it's talking about how children 18 to 30 months "sometimes fail to use information about object size and make serious attempts to perform impossible actions on those objects." Meaning a small child may try to put on doll shoes or sit in a chair that's too tiny for them. One of the suggestions is that children are just learning colors/texture/visual input. So they are organizing themselves to recognize a high heeled shoe is a converse shoe is a boot shoe what goes on your feets (and is not a t-shirt that goes over your head) --- so that once they recognize a doll shoe is a shoe by the part of their brain that recognizes visual clues for classification another part of their brain responsible for motor control hops in to try to do with it what you do with shoes, ie put them on your feet. As we get older the different parts of the brain work together, but little kids or some adults with specific types of brain disorders have problems. The author is a neuroscientist. Apparently this is a fairly recent line of scientific inquiry, so the author was impressed that long ago Carroll seemed to recognize this issue with children and sympathize enough with their frustrations in dealing with this issue to include it in the story.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
My mother found out during her teaching days that if you take a bowl of water and pour it into a glass--so that the top of the water is now higher than when it was in the bowl--small kids will insists that the glass has more water, even if they've seen you make the pour.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
Yes! Your mother's description sounds like the concept of "conservation" to me - which is what I was expecting him to be talking about when I first began that paragraph. When we were studying it in the teacher education program they usually used the example of taking a short, fat glass and a tall, skinny glass - pour the water from the short to the tall glass and the child will say the tall glass has more water even though they see it's the same water going from one glass to another. (They also use play-dough as an example - roll out a short, fat "worm" then roll out a long, skinny "worm" and they will say one has more play-dough.)

So when the author went into another direction I hadn't heard of before I got quite excited. :D :D

The human mind and its development is so amazing.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
By the way, I'm going to be doing a biographical presentation on Charles Dodgson at the local Mensa gathering next month (prob on Feb. 12 afternoon) if you'd like to come.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
Outstanding!! I would love to hear you speak.

The 12th is a Saturday. Do you have an idea of the time? I am in the Saturday choir at church so would need to be there by 4pm.
Jan. 3rd, 2011 11:19 am (UTC)
Haven't been assigned a time yet--I'll let you know soon as I do.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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