PCP, Constructions, Memory, Movements

James Mancuso (mancusoj@capital.net)
Wed, 20 Nov 1996 17:35:42 -0500

Harald Seelig wrote:

> Hi Jim Mancuso:

> I apologise for not having been concrete enough concerning the issue of
> our workinggroup. Our interest is not how a subject is going to
> construct the 'real' biomechanic parameters for anticipating or
> perceiving movements.
> Our main interest is on motor learning, skill acquisition.
> We want to find out how a subject helps itself with very personal
> constructs to categorize any given movement in order to have something
> like a catalogue of internal 'images' of something that could be
> described as 'expierenced comparison of personal impressions with
> physical needs'. For this it will use its own vocbulary as well as its
> own strategies. (Think of asking children to jump as high as they can or
> asking them to imagine to reach a box with cookies on a shelf in their
> parents kitchen)
> For any new movement a subject will have to learn, it will try to find
> any image that might correlate with the new task to prepare a
> 'new-movement-set-up'. We think, if a coach or the subject itself is able to explain a new task with categories/images that already exist in
> this 'catalogue' the subject should be able to benefit from former
> (learning)expierence.
> All this is not very new if you think of existing theories of motor
> learning (e.g. R.A.Schmidt's Schema-theory of motor learning). But what
> is left out in most of these models is that persons use their own
> vocabulary/constructs to elaborate experienced movements mentally.
> I hope this all gives a better idea of what we are working on.
> Thanks for being interested.

> Harald Seelig

Harald and other PCP Networkers:

Your point is very well taken. I am not up on the literature on
schema (I would say, "anticipatory constructions" and motor movements;
though it doesn't surpriser me to find that there is such literature.

Your point about needing to learn a new task on the basis of
existing constructs seems [to me] to be related to the thinking that has

grown from Vigotsky's kind of theorizing -- that having to do with the
"zone of proximal distance." Developing a new construction cannot take
place readily if the base of existing constructs is not already
This idea, so far as PCP is concerned, relates to the core ideas
one uses when speaking of MEMORY PROCESSES. What is stored for use by a
system of constructs. I have proposed that we should think of storage
in terms of TWO POLED CONSTRUCTS. Thus, each anticipatory construction
-- whether it be a motor movement by which we anticipate a valid body
position, position of a putative object in space, or our self as text
for another to process -- represents a NEW constructions. That is,
constructions should not be taken as the unit of storage.
I have come to believe that this is a central issue in working
with PCP.
What you seem [to me] to be saying is that the people who have
built motor movement theories around notions such as schema or
anticipatory constructions, have tried to pass on to the learner the
complete construction, without ascertaining whether or not the person
has available the interconnected hierarchy of constructs out of which
he/she can build the construction to be used in the situation.


Jim Mancuso