This essay focuses on Soviet psychologist Alexander Luria. categorization-the way that they lumped items together using an abstract concept.
he effects of education on thinking was demonstrated by the Soviet psychologist Alexander Luria in his experiments with uneducated peasants 192 CHAPTER 5 FIGURE 5.11 Alexander Luria. Luria: Participant: DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIALIZATION in Uzbekistan in the early 1930s (see Figure 5.11). He was interested in their ability to engage in taxonomic categorization-the way that they lumped items together using an abstract concept. For example, he presented some of his participants with the following four objects and asked which of them did not belong: a hammer, a saw, a log, and a hatchet.
required people to abstract the common attributes or uses of the objects and to form a category-tools in this case. If you’ve already received an education, this task is straightforward. You may even have learned how to engage in such taxonomic categorization by watching Sesame Street and learning the song “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.” But in the absence of such education, people do not necessarily learn how to form such abstract categories. Luria was struck by how few of his uneducated participants could engage in taxonomic categorizations. Here are the exchanges between Luria and a couple of his participants.
of four objects (Luria, 1976): Which of these things could you call by one word? How’s that? If you call all three of them a “hammer,” that won’t be right either. Luria: But one fellow picked three things-the hammer, saw, and hatchet-and said they were alike. Participant: A saw, a hammer, and a hatchet all have to work together. But Luria: Participant: the log has to be here too! Why do you think he picked these three things and not the log? Probably he’s got a lot of firewood, but if we’ll be left without firewood, we won’t be able to do anything. Here’s another exchange with the same group of items. Luria: Participant: Luria: Participant:
Which one doesn’t belong? It’s the hammer that doesn’t fit! You can always work with a saw, but a hammer doesn’t always suit the job; there’s only a little you can do with it. Yet one fellow threw out the log. He said the hammer, saw, and hatchet were all alike in some way, but the log is different. If we’re getting No, if you get rid of the log, what good would the others be? Suppose I put a dog here instead of the log? If it was a mad dog, you could beat it with the hatchet and the hammer and it would die. .
Zemyla must be white, because the premises determine that this is so, It is not that people with little education are unable to reason logically; rather, their reasoning is anchored to information with which they have direct experience, and they reason logically about that information.