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A man touching a woman: Unpredictable outcomes. Predictable commentary on target article by A. Fogel, 1992

ContributorsMounoud, Pierre
Published inHuman Movement Science, vol. 11, no. 4, p. 489-496
Publication date1992

According to Fogel new behaviors appearing in the course of development are emergent outcomes of dynamic relationships between partners of the systems under consideration . From his point of view, new behaviors demonstrated by individuals cannot be explained by their history, but are only the emergent product of their actual exchanges. Contrary to this general statement, I consider human behavior as being fundamentally the product of phylogenetic and ontogenetic history. There are pre-existing skills, whose organization partially determines the construction of new skills and constitutes a necessary but not sufficient condition for their acquisition. From birth infants are able to identify certain configurations of perceptual features, eliciting coordinated actions and consequently giving rise to infants' movements in their interactions with the social and physical environment. Systemic approach of mother-child relationships has a long history and it seems questionable to write a target article with so few references to its past, as well as to the various origins of this approach (L. von Bertalanffy, G. Bateson, K. Lewin, G.H. Mead, etc). Moreover it is necessary to distinguish between non-specific and specific roles of the environment in relation to the structural and functional aspects of behavior. Lastly, Fogel rejects all 'prescriptive' theories in such an extreme way that his conception become rather caricatural.

  • Systemic approach
  • Mother-child relationship
  • New behavior as emergent outcomes
  • Phylogenetic and ontogenetic history
  • Partner's history
  • Pre-existing skills
  • Script
  • Schemas
  • Specific and non-specific role of the environment
NoteCommentary on A. Folgel: "Movement and communication in human infancy: The social dynamics of development ", Human Movement Science, 1992, vol. 11, p. 387–423. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0167-9457(92)90021-3 [consulté le 7 août 2012]
Citation (ISO format)
MOUNOUD, Pierre. A man touching a woman: Unpredictable outcomes. Predictable commentary on target article by A. Fogel, 1992. In: Human Movement Science, 1992, vol. 11, n° 4, p. 489–496. doi: 10.1016/0167-9457(92)90029-B
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