Emergent Forms: Origins and Early Development of Human Action and Perception

Paperback | July 1, 1994

byEugene C. Goldfield

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While it is often assumed that behavioral development must be based upon both physical law and the biological principles of morphogenesis and selection, forging a link between these phenomena has remained an elusive goal. Now in Emergent Forms, psychologist Eugene C. Goldfield offers anexciting new theoretical framework--based, in part, on the concept of self-organization--that promises to aid researchers in their quest to discover the underlying origins and processes of behavioral development. Addressing the question of how familiar human functional acts--such as eating, walking,manipulating objects, and smiling--emerge during infancy, Goldfield proposes that during perceptually guided spontaneous activity a variety of biodynamic devices for doing different kinds of work are assembled and adapted to specific tasks. Throughout, the theory is examined in the context ofdevelopment, and extended to atypical development and other domains, such as cognition and language. The author also addresses many long-standing issues in behavioral development, including the apparent disappearance of so-called primitive behaviors, the emergence of new skills, and the role of thecaregiver in skill acquisition. The author concludes his work by discussing how the implications of this research can be applied to understanding abnormal development in children who are motor impaired. Interdisciplinary in scope and accessible to a broad range of readers, Emergent Forms willfascinate students and researchers of ecological, developmental, evolutionary, and cognitive psychology.

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While it is often assumed that behavioral development must be based upon both physical law and the biological principles of morphogenesis and selection, forging a link between these phenomena has remained an elusive goal. Now in Emergent Forms, psychologist Eugene C. Goldfield offers anexciting new theoretical framework--based, in par...

Eugene C. Goldfield is at Children's Hospital.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.25 × 6.06 × 0.91 inPublished:July 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195095022

ISBN - 13:9780195095029

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Table of Contents

PART I: Ecological and Dynamical Foundations: The Ecological Approach of the Gibsons; Bernstein1. Fundamental Issues and Perspectives in the Development of Action1.1. Fundamental Issues: The Motor-Action Controversy1.2. Developmental Perspectives on the Nature of Action2. From Bernstein and von Holst to Dynamical Systems2.1. A Prelude to Round 22.2. Round 2: Modeling Behavior on Dynamical Systems3. Ecological Foundations3.1. Gibson: Ambient Array, Patterned Flow, and Perceptual System3.2. Action Systems3.3. Habitats for Action Systems3.4. Dynamics and Information4. The Components of Action Systems: Subsystems and Their Interaction4.1. Identifying the Subsystems4.2. The Properties of the Subsystems4.3. The Nervous Subsystem4.4. Exploring the Relation Between the SubsystemsPART II: Self-Organization and Selection as the Basis for the Assembly of Action Systems5. Spontaneous Pattern Formation5.1. Bernstein Redux5.2. The Emergence of Patterns and Clocks5.3. Implications of Scale: The Work of D'Arcy Thompson5.4. Two Models of Morphogenesis5.5. Implications of These Two Models6. Selection and the Emergence of Specialized Functions6.1. Darwinian Theory6.2. Evolution and Ontogeny6.3. Energy Sharing as the Basis of Cooperativity6.4. The Environment and Selection6.5. Evolution of Modes6.6. Special Purpose Devices in Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Context6.7. Assembling and Decomposing Transient Boundaries6.8. Conclusions: Lessons from Evolution for Understanding the Ontogeny of Acting and Perceiving7. The Ontogeny of Action Systems: A Theory7.1. Outline of a Theory7.2. Proposition 1: Coordinative Structures With Attractor Dynamics Emerge from Spontaneous Activity7.3. Proposition 2: The body and Environment as Structured Surrounds7.4. Proposition 3: Regulation of Assembly at Multiple Time Scales7.5. Proposition 4: Exploratory Activity Reveals Stable Regions in Dynamic Geometries7.5. Proposition 5: Action Systems are Assembled from a Mosaic of Available ComponentsPART III: The Action Systems8. Basic Orienting8.1. Introduction8.2. Orienting as a Foundation8.3. Contrasting Perspectives of Orienting8.4. The Ontogeny of Basic Orienting: The Fetal Period8.5. The Transition from Fetal to Postnatal Life8.6. From Flexion and Extension Against Gravity to Controlled Action8.7. The Transition to Standing9. Appetition9.1. Issues9.2. The Oral Articulators9.3. Early Eating9.4. The Transition from Neonatal Oral Activity to Chewing9.5. The Transition to Independent Eating9.6. Independent Eating10. Locomotion10.1. Constraints on Locomotion10.2. Temporal Patterning and Constraints10.3. Constraints on Temporal Patterning10.4. The Human Intrauterine Environment10.5. Transition to Postnatal Environment10.6. Transition to Independent Mobility: Crawling10.7. Exploring the Dynamics of the body as a Consequence of the Changing Postural Matrix10.8. From Standing to First Steps10.9. The Affordances of Locomotion11. The Performatory Action System: Manual Activity11.1. Classifying the Functions of the Hand11.2. The Cooperation of Subsystems in Manual Activity11.3. Constraints on Manual Activity11.4. The Relation between Reaching and Grasping11.5. From Pre-reaching to Visually-guided Reaching11.6. A Dynamical Approach to Reach and Grasp11.7. Object Exploration, Age, and Affordances11.8. The Serial Order Problem12. The Expressive Action System12.1. Introduction12.2. Physiological Arousal and Critical Regions12.3. Transition from Endogenous to Social Smiles12.4. Crying12.5. From Early Behavioral States to Differentiated Emotions12.6. Perception-Action Coupling in the Expressive Action System12.7. Social Regulation12.8. The Functional Significance of Fear13. Directions13.1. Conclusions and Directions13.2. New Questions13.3. Clinical Directions13.4. Assessment13.5. A Taxonomy of Disorders of Action Systems: Beyond Symptoms

Editorial Reviews

"Emergent Forms proposes a new and unique perspective on the intruguing problem of the phylogenetic and ontogenetic origin and development of action systems." --Quarterly Review of Biology