Очередная критика Выготского? Пресс релиз: this study has proven said Vygotsky theory wrong

В пресс-релизе исследования «Human children and wild great apes share their tool use cognition» утверждается, что удалось опровергнуть теорию Выготского. Причина данного утверждения  кроется в интерпретация теории Выготского и отчасти в низком качестве перевода на английский язык, которое мы обсудили здесь. Английские ученые предполагают, что Выготский  отрицал роль спонтанного поведения детей. Однако и сами работы Выготского, и исследования его архива, показывают, что «Выготский не отрицает и спонтанного развития, спонтанной активности ребенка, которая встречается с внешними воздействиями». В любом случае, примечательно, что Выготский остается крайне актульным автором, вокруг имени которого организуются научные дискуссии

Полный текст пресс-релиза исследования:


Human children and wild great apes share their tool use cognition

Young children will spontaneously invent tool behaviours to solve novel problems, without the help of adults, much as non-human great apes have been observed to do. The findings, from the University of Birmingham, are contrary to the popular belief that basic tool use in humans requires social learning.

Lev Vygotsky, one of psychology’s most influential representatives, claimed that humans only learn how to use tools by learning from others, including parents, and that children’s spontaneous tool use is “practically zero”. However, this study has proven said theory wrong.

The findings, publishing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, are the first to investigate children’s tool-use abilities with great ape tasks.

The researchers based the tasks on tool behaviours observed in wild chimpanzees and orangutans, and mirrored them for 50 children aged between 2.5-3-years-old.

The findings also suggest that the cognitive abilities underlying these tool behaviours are shared by both humans and their closest living relatives.

The team found that in 11 of the 12 tasks children spontaneously invented the correct tool behaviour. They also found that those behaviours which occur frequently in wild great apes were also invented more frequently by the children, which indicates a large overlap in the physical cognition abilities of humans and great apes.

Eva Reindl, PhD student at the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology, said, “We chose great ape tasks for three reasons: Firstly, they are unfamiliar to children. This ensures that children will have to invent the correct behaviour instead of using socially acquired, previous knowledge. Second, they are ecologically relevant and third, they allow us to make species comparisons with regard to the cognitive abilities involved.”

In one of the twelve tasks, children needed to use a stick as a lever to retrieve pom poms from a small box. Similarly, great apes use twigs to remove kernels from nuts or seeds from stingy fruits. The tasks could only be solved by using a tool, but children were not told that.

Dr Claudio Tennie, Birmingham Fellow, explained, “The idea was to provide children with the raw material necessary to solve the task. We told children the goal of the task, for example to get the pom poms out of the box, but we never mentioned using the tool to them. We would then investigate whether children spontaneously came up with the correct tool behaviour on their own.”

Miss Reindl noted, “While it is true that more sophisticated forms of human tool use indeed require social learning, we have identified a range of basic tool behaviours which seem not to. Using great ape tasks, we could show that these roots of human tool culture are shared by great apes, including humans, and potentially also their last common ancestor.”

In the future, the researchers will try to extend their findings by presenting children and great apes with tool tasks that are completely novel to any of these species, e.g. tasks based on tool behaviours observed in non-primate animals but not shown spontaneously by children or great apes.

Notes to editors

For interview requests or for more information, please contact Luke Harrison, Media Relations Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)121 414 5134.

For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165


Важное дополнение и комментарий внизу:





  • Таким образом наиболее критичным оказался пресс-релиз. В самом отчете об исследовании http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/283/1825/20152402 не содержится фразы об опровержении теории Выготского. Впрочем данный факт еще более доказывает, что опровержение теории Выготского — это крайне значимое научное и PR событие. От себя добавлю, что пресс-релиз является официальным, опубликованным на сайте университета

    Ссылка на текст отчета в Pdf http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/283/1825/20152402.full.pdf

  • Вот, пожалуй, самая интересная часть этого исследования

    4. Discussion

    Our study found that the majority (at least 11 out of 12) of the investigated wild great ape tool-use behaviours are individually re-inventable by human children and that there is a close relationship between the difficulty level of these behaviours and individual discovery rates for both humans and great apes. Unlike a previous study—i.e. Herrmann et al. [19], whose tasks were biased towards the human case—we validated our tasks ecologically by basing them on great ape tool behaviours as described in the wild. Thus, our study presents phylogenetically more appropriate tasks for the study of the physical cognition of our last common ancestor.

    Children showed spontaneous tool use in the majority of our tasks, suggesting that nearly all of the studied behaviours lie within the realm of what humans can invent without observing the solution or having it demonstrated. The large overlap between the behaviours that can be invented spontaneously by great apes and human children suggests that young children’s physical cognition skills are at least on the same level as those of great apes. These findings do not rule out the possibility that there might be physical cognition tasks in which young children outperform great apes. However, in combination with the study by Herrmann et al. [19]—who presented great apes and 2-year-old human children with tasks based on human behaviours and who found no difference in the performance of great apes and children—the results of this study suggest that ontogenetically, humans do not seem to differ from great apes with regard to their baseline set of physical cognition abilities. From a phylogenetic perspective, humans’ basic tool-use abilities do not appear to have become degraded by our species’ long reliance on social learning and teaching. However, to eventually answer the question whether the physical cognition abilities of great apes (including humans) are comparable or whether humans possess enhanced physical cognition skills, future studies will need to present humans and great apes with tool tasks completely novel for both (e.g. tasks based on tool behaviours observed in other, non-primate species and which are not already known to be exhibited by great apes or children).

    Going back to our results, we also found that children were more likely to solve tasks based on great ape behaviours which occur with high frequency in the wild compared with more low-frequency tasks, and this effect did not change with age. Thus, it seems that tool tasks in the low-frequency group possess features that make successful tool use more difficult for both humans and great apes, i.e. which make them more challenging for the evolved cognition of these species. A possible reason for the enhanced difficulty of low-frequency tool tasks might be that, whereas high-frequency behaviours mainly require the tool user to perceive and select the correct affordances, low-frequency behaviours may possess additional cognitive or non-cognitive demands. For example, some of the high-frequency behaviours may only require the insertion and subsequent retrieval of a stick into a hole (see, for example, termite-fish/tree-hole tool-use, fluid dip). In contrast, low-frequency tasks might pose additional demands on, for example planning (e.g. perforate, consisting of two steps: first breaking the barrier with the stick and then turning the box upside down to retrieve the sticker; similarly, chimpanzees need to first break the entrance to the termite mound with a stick and then use a different stick to retrieve the insects); fine-motor skills (e.g. in seed extraction/nut extract, the target objects have to be retrieved dextrously); physical strength (e.g. in ground puncture or nuthammer) or working memory (e.g. in nuthammer, tool users need to attend to several objects simultaneously). However, identifying the specific reasons for the difficulty of low-frequency behaviours will be the target of future studies.

    Whereas low- and high-frequency tasks differed with regard to children’s success rates, we found no effect of frequency on correct tool use. In both low- and high-frequency tasks, children were equally likely to show the correct tool behaviour, and did so in more than two-thirds of the trials. This finding underlines young children’s proneness to use tools in meaningful ways to try to solve even novel problems. However, whether children’s disposition to use tools is also followed by task success seems to depend on task type: in high-frequency tasks, both children’s tool use and success rates were relatively high. In contrast, in low-frequency tasks, even though children were equally likely to use the tools correctly, tool use was less likely to result in success. This finding highlights that correct tool use does not necessarily imply task success. Other cognitive and/or non-cognitive demands have to be met so that correct tool use can be ‘translated’ into success. This ‘translation process’ seems to be more demanding for the low- compared to the high-frequency tasks (see above for a speculation about possible underlying reasons).

    We also found that older children were more likely to solve the GATTeB tasks than younger children. This suggests a development between 2 and 3.5 years of age of capacities allowing children to more successfully meet the demands of the studied tool tasks. Future work will need to identify these capacities; potential candidates may be improvements in fine-motor skills, visual attention, working memory, physical strength and planning. However, we did not find an interaction between age and frequency. That is, even though the older children in our sample might have possessed better planning and fine-motor skills than younger children, this did not suffice to help the older children overcome the demands of the low-frequency tasks. Thus, we conclude that the frequency effect is stable across the studied age range.

    It might be argued that our tasks were only based on wild tool cultures of two of the four currently living genera of great apes. However, wild gorillas and bonobos exhibit only very low levels of tool use in the wild and thus failed to provide the wild input for our tasks. Nonetheless, these genera readily use tools in captivity—i.e. when a need arises to do so [32,33]. Thus, while they did not contribute to our validated list of tasks, they are no exception from the line of widespread tool use across the great apes.

    Our findings support the notion that the last common ancestor of humans and great apes—living approximately 14 Ma—was already capable of the tool-use behaviours studied here (and that they also found the low-frequency tasks more difficult to invent). These behaviours thus represent a phylogenetic basic state of human tool use—and they would not have required sophisticated cultural transmission mechanisms such as imitation and teaching. This situation matches very closely the current state of affairs of great ape tool cultures, which represent ‘latent solutions’ [27]: i.e. the range of tools inventable by individual great apes.

    Our study gives a first insight into the ontogenetic and phylogenetic roots of human tool culture by identifying a range of ecologically relevant tool-use behaviours which human children—tested on tasks validated by great ape tool behaviours—can invent on their own. In conjunction with previous research [19], in which great apes solved tasks validated by modern human behaviour, we conclude—contra recent claims [34]—that in the tool-use domain humans are not born special.

  • Ключевая фраза — the results of this study suggest that ontogenetically, humans do not seem to differ from great apes with regard to their baseline set of physical cognition abilities — Результаты этого исследования позволяют предположить, что онтогенетически люди, кажется, не отличаются от высших приматов в отношении их базового набора физических познавательных способностей. Гуманитарии, конечно, будут не очень довольны

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