First International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2005 July 16-20

Summer Institute on
Mind, Brain and Education

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Fabio Sebastiano
Laboratory of Developmental Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Torino. ITALY

The project presented here is based on the assumption, that has became almost a tautology, according to which the living beings, and therefore also the human beings, are complex systems. However, assuming the paradigm of complexity did not yet lead to coherent interventions, which are really able to respect the specific characteristics of the same complexity. This lack is particularly evident in some applicative aspects of the theories of development. The present project, which is characterised by an interventional goal, is aimed to investigating the following aspects of the complex systems, and to analysing them at the light of the theories of developmental psychology:
• the large number of variables, which requires the need of adequate procedures and tools of elaboration (some examples might be found in the researches of Van Geert, Stattin and Thelen);
• procedures of knowledge of the system, that although probabilistic, are able to reach good enough results exhaustively;
• specific modalities of accomplishment of the relation between “observed” and “observing” system, since the conjunction between them represents the strongest elements of complexity;
• the modalities of selection of the information, in order to eliminate what is characterised as “noise”.
Within the psychological study of the development of human beings, the project has the goal to analyse the processes of feedback e feedforward and to define the possible optimal models of accomplishments of both processes, in order to gain adequate changes in the individuals.
The project is aimed to investigate the relation between on the one side feedback and feedforward, and on the other side change. More specifically, a peculiar category of developmental changes is taken into account, which is that generically defined as “learning”. A comparison will be also done of the existing application of feedback and feedforward to promote learning.
The project will be focused on different examples of learning, which are strongly influenced by the type and the frequency of feedback and feedforward: learning during childhood; learning at school; vocational training; the functional recovery of some motor capabilities, which were injured; the improving of individual performances.
In this project the data, mostly at an observational level, will be also collected from individuals belonging of different age groups and within different contexts. The analysis of the data would allow to identify the presence of common models and also to evaluate the interventions of feedback e feedforward that are more likely to result in increasing of capacities or of the complexity of the performances.
Assuming the interpretative models of the dynamic systems approach would allow to individuate both “the critical point” that indicates the change, both the phases of stabilisation of the new behaviour. Within the whole project, the variable of time is central. Therefore also the strategies to study change during time have to be included.