No need for this

September 25, 2012

A chimpanzee outfit would be unnecessary at this stage.

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Props

September 25, 2012

Tools and objects used in recent days: tripod, overhead projector, easel and the short handled drawing board described by Lashley in Schiller’s report of the drawing experiments conducted with Alpha when she was 18 years old (Schiller, 1951). The drawing board with a handle was necessary in order to withdraw the drawings before she destoyed them. Alpha’s role as human surrogate puts her in the postition of a prop. Given that she was constantly visible and available for scientific observation it is perhaps not surprising that Schiller reports:

‘If possible, she retires with her paper to a far side of the cage, turns her back to the observer, works for a time with complete preoccupatioin, and eventually tears up the paper. If caged with another animal that watches her drawing she shoulders the other aside or turns away to work in a corner’.

Schiller, P. H. (1951) Figural Preferences in the Drawings of a Chimpanzee. In Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. Vol. 44 No.2 April. pp.101-111.

For the past two days I have been writing and re-writing the full quote. Each writing of it obliterates the one below.

Alpha’s early months

September 25, 2012

In 1931, Alpha spent her first months cared for in the home of two of the staff at the Yale Anthropoid Experimentation Station, Carl and Marion Jacobsen. Each day she was taken for a time to the laboratories for various tests to be conducted and measurements to be taken. Her growth and physiological development was compared with that of human infants. The rest of the time she was able to explore the domestic environment of the Jacobsen’s household. It seems to have been a time of relative freedom:

‘At the residence in Orange Park the infant explored all parts of the house most thoroughly, climbed and crawled about the furniture, traced the designs in the rugs with her index fingers, played with rattles, bells, and balls, and examined the miscellany of small objects left within her reach. Outdoors she mouthed and grasped twigs and blades of grass, walked under shrubs, played with sticks, pine needles, and other objects which attracted her attention.’

Jacobsen, C. F., Jacobsen, M. M. & Yoshioka, J. G. (1932) Development of an infant chimpanzee during her first year. In Comparative Psychology Monographs. Vol. IX. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.

Closing presentation

September 24, 2012

A concluding presentation and discussion will take place this week:
Friday 28 Sept 2012 – 7pm

Exhibition open: 
Saturday 29 Sept 2012 – 11am to 3pm

Location: Meantime, Cheltenham http://www.meantime.org.uk

 

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Last night

September 21, 2012

Coat

September 21, 2012

Went back to the coat today. It’s still there.

Gesell on drawing

September 21, 2012

“Drawing should be systematically utilized as a developmental test, if for no other reason than the fact that it leaves its own objective record. The record frequently needs qualifying and interpretative comment, but to a considerable extent it tells its own story…It may be nothing more than a banging staccato or a faint fugitive scrawl but it belongs to the record.”

Gesell, A. (1930) The Mental Growth of the Pre-School Child. New York: Macmillan.

The Gesell tests

September 20, 2012

During her first year of infancy Alpha was tested using a set of diagnostic procedures devised by Dr Arnold Gesell, Professor of Child Hygiene and Director at the Yale Psycho-clinic at Yale University in the 1920s. The tests were designed to diagnose defective development in human infants. “An interpretation of developmental status in relation to chronological age and personal-social environment is the diagnostic basis for safeguarding the mental welfare of the pre-school child. Developmental diagnosis is essential to the mental hygiene of infancy” (Gesell, 1930: 8).


“…the hygiene of the pre-school child is gradually coming under systematic social control” (Gesell, 1930: 14).

Gesell’s ‘Syllabus of normative items’ included tests of motor control including: postural control, locomotion, prehension, drawing and hand control (M40 to M48). At 12 months many normal human infants showed the behaviour of scribbling spontaneously when presented with a drawing implement. By the age of 18 months the normal human child would imitate someone drawing and would be able to make a stroke. Abilities that developed later included:
M43 — Copies circle (24 to 48 months)
M44 — Copies diamond in ink (from 60 months)
M46 — Coördinated tracing (36 to 60 months)
M47 — Steadiness Fish test
M48 — Draws a man (48 to 60 months)

The report on Alpha’s first year, during which she was tested using the Gesell syllabus records her progress in M40 as follows:


Around the same time (1931-2) another infant chimpanzee, Gua, who had been adopted into the home of psychologist, W. N. Kellogg for the purpose of comparison with the Kelloggs’ own son Donald, was also given the Gesell tests and was successful in making marks ‘after a brief demonstration by the examiner’ (Morris, 1962: 17).

September 20, 2012

Found this old coat the undergrowth on the way to the station last time. I’m not sure if I can use it somehow but full of wood lice. Hang it from a tree and see if anything crawls out.

Second week

September 16, 2012

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