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This post is now located here: http://www.franklinsayre.com/?p=174
Written by fdsayre
November 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm
Posted in Hisoty of Science
Tagged with art, beautiful, history, images, psychology, science
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November 23, 2008 at 3:01 pm
The 1940 image ostensibly of “a baby climbing pedestals which he has pushed together to reach the lollipop hanging from the ceiling at Normal Child Development Study at Columbia University” is almost certainly posed. It would appear to mimic a famous study by the German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler. In that study, fruit was suspected from the ceiling of a cage. There were boxes scattered about the cage floor, and some chimps solved the problem of reaching the fruit by arranging the boxes on top of one another under the fruit. Decades later Robert Epstein and colleagues replicated the experiment, after a fashion, with pigeons, demonstrating the kinds of learning experiences that led to solution.
If you look closely at this 1940 image, you see what appears to be a white cloth behind the tallest pedestal. My guess is this is an experimenter’s lab coat. I suspect the child has been placed on the top pedestal, and the experimenter is there to catch him should he begin to fall. The idea that the child put the pedestals, some of which likely weighed more than he did, into place seems highly unlikely. I believe this photo shows, not an experiment, but a joke.
December 2, 2008 at 6:52 am
The one with the table on scales reminds me of a tilt table: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilt_table_test They are still in use today. I was supposed to have one, but I read up on it and decided that I didn’t think I could do it.
December 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm
Thanks for your comment and good job spotting the researcher behind the pedestals. I suspect your right about it being a set-up and am going to look for a comparison picture from the Kohler picture. I wonder who the little lad was?
December 3, 2008 at 12:13 pm
Just because you haven’t heard of the research, doesn’t make it a joke. Myrtle McGraw, in her famous co-twin studies with the infants Jimmy & Johnny (which got attention from Life magazine at the time, by the way), based her motor development research on Kohler’s chimp studies. One twin was, most certainly, trained to climb pedestals & much more, like dive from a diving board, roller skate, etc. It is all documented in McGraw’s amazing book, (1935). Growth: A study of Johnny and Jimmy. New York: Appleton-Century Co.
February 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm
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