One of many posts on my Readiness Assessment. As a reminder of the ground rules, this is a solo assessment, so while I’m allowed to think out loud on my blog, I can’t ask for or get (intellectual) help. Cookies and emotional support are, however, welcome.

Ok, more about affordances! (I know, I know, I'm tired, I'm braindumping -- I can see my own signal-to-noise ratio, and it's low. This isn't polished. But my goal here is to keep on moving, because there is signal here, and I'll be able to sort and see it later.)

Now we add in Gibson & Pick's book "Ecological Approach to Perceptual Learning and Development," which focuses more on infant development but nevertheless has cool things to say. This book's Gibson -- Eleanor J. -- was married to the first, and you gotta wonder what sort of long dinner-table conversations they had about these ideas over the years.

Q 16: There is a second reciprocal relation implied by the affordance concept: a perception-action reciprocity. Perception guides action in accord with the environmental supports or impediments presented, and action in turn yields information for further guidance, resulting in a continuous perception-action cycle.

Now we've got two forms of reciprocity -- the notion of reciprocal affordances between beings from Gibson-the-James, and the recpirocity of perception and action from Gibson-the-Eleanor. Eleanor is describing a feedback cycle -- as you act, you get more information on how to act -- but we can actually describe the being-being affordance reciprocity here as well. For instance, talking blues dance: "The lead guides the follow in accord with the pushes and pulls presented, and the follow in turn yields information for further guidance, resulting in a continuous lead-follow cycle."

There's something here I haven't quite unpacked about the connections between the two types of reciprocity and how they blend when you have two beings that afford these sorts of feedback cycles to each other in conversation, but there's something interesting here -- maybe it'll come out when I cast it in concrete examples of what RTR could look like in execution.

Q 180: It seems obvious that discovering the affordance of a tool is most easily learned from a demonstration by another person, permitting the potential user to imitate the action... What is learned from observation is not how to manipulate the tool, but what the tool might afford, for example, pulling in food with a rake when the food is beyond arm's length or leaving marks on a surface with a crayon.

N ^: Obvious ties with Bandura's theory of social learning here. Also, sometimes instead of a tool, it's another person -- so then we learn what our interactions with other people might afford, which is a much more deliciously complex thing, and part of the "learning to talk" process for new CoP members in a CogApp.

P 180-181: Describes an empirical study that serves an example of people learning affordances by watching -- a 1993 study by Nagell, Olquin, & Tomasello that compared 2-year-old humans to chimpanzees in terms of how they learned how to use a rake to pull a toy in when given either a full, partial, or no demonstration of the task. Children with no-demonstration groups had a 10% success rate; the other groups had a 25% success rate.

P 192: Describes an empirical study that serves an example of people learning the affordances of others -- a 1977 study by K. Bloom that showed infants shift their vocal patterns depending on how a potentially interacting adult responded.

I'm not sure if I need these bits, but I feel like I want to go down to empirical grounds, figure out what in the real world inspired these ideas, because I feel very... theoretical, very high-up on the stack of knowledge-building. I need to get down to the cement subfloor once in a while, just to know it's there and to know that I can access it anytime I want. I need that comfort.

Wow. Lindsey was right. This research thing, it really is an emotional process. All that discussion about how researcher cannot be separated from research (or writer from writing), how we can never really snip science out as this purely objective thing -- I'm feeling it acutely right now. POSITIVISM, I DENY THEE.