The Child and Symbol: a Psychological Model of the Sign-Symbol Activity Ontogeny Elena Sapogova Key words icon

The Child and Symbol: a Psychological Model of the Sign-Symbol Activity Ontogeny Elena Sapogova Key words

НазваниеThe Child and Symbol: a Psychological Model of the Sign-Symbol Activity Ontogeny Elena Sapogova Key words
Дата конвертации05.11.2012
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The Child and Symbol:

a Psychological Model of the Sign-Symbol Activity Ontogeny

Elena Sapogova

Key words: personality, subjectivity, sign-symbol activity, psychological semiotics, substitution, modelling, experimenting, imagination.


This article is devoted to the problems of rising subjectivity as an object of developing personality at the pre-school age. Sign-symbol activity is considered as a factor of personality's formation. The present research concerns step-by-step formation of subjectivity connected with a genesis of individual symbolic orientation and imagination. An attempt is made to represent the stages in the development of symbolic function as a series of patterns, forming a system.

The study of personality has always attracted attention of psychologists and philosophers. Quite often, however, instead of attempting on the deeper essence of personality traits, investigators place the emphasis on the developmental processes and newly-appearing traits, which change personality in the course of time, as if it were an already integrated entity. We believe that in the study of personality it is important to know the object of development: in

other words what develops and what changes.

In recent writings on the problem of man a new direction becomes more prominent, which defines an object of personality development in terms of subjectivity (V.Ivanov, I.Vatin, I.Kon, V.Slobodchikov and others). It essentially modifies the already existing scheme of the analysis. These investigators attempt on the search of a specially human in man; moulding of “man as the measure of all things” (Protagoras); unity of material and ideal in the nature of man; interrelation of human being and objective reality; interdependence of human and cosmic, universal.

So the problem of personality development stops being typically psychological or typically social, places itself into the set of global questions, such as changes in forms of life itself, the

appearance of conscientious individual, adapting being in forms of its vital activity and changing it in accordance with his essentially human needs and his own creative will. The development of human subjectivity is at the same time a formation of a new stage of being and obtaining a new quality of being. The human subjectivity is capable of transform the world. It joins the elements, moments, parts of being together and turns them into prerequisites, conditions and moments of human's own movement, his own, as I.Vatin names it, “for-oneself-being” (Vatin, 1984; p.49).

Following the conceptions expounded in the works by I.Vatin, A.Mozheijeva, T.Kuzmina, V.Mezhuijev, V.
Slobodchikov, we think, that in the social environment the child gradually forms a universal human quality  subjectivity. It can be defined as a specific integrative form of social existence, a means of assimilation the phenomena of being as facts of one's own vital activity. Subjectivity reveals itself as a form of existence of the social on the individual level, within the human being itself, not outside. According to I.Vatin, acquisition of such socially-conditioned individualized internal generality demonstrates itself in non-specialized ability to be everybody, in plasticity and a universal convertibility (ibid, p.50). Formation of subjectivity in man's genesis allows him to overcome his “thingly biological limits” and projects both, his own change and the change of the world, according to human lows. In the course of evolution the man acquires an ability for any forms of being and any directions in his individual development within the limits of possible forms of existence, transmitted to him by the preceding stages of historical development

of civilization. The main point of acquisition subjectivity is signalled by an appearing ability to build one's own self, to create one's own individual universe, and through that  to generate new

forms of being, new ontology.

Subjectivity is caused by a deep change in the human vital activity with the appearance of a possibility to turn one's vital activity into an object of practical transformation, when an individual comes to be the subject of his own transforming activity. It is only in human being that it becomes possible to treat oneself as the object of desired changes and at the same time as the subject, actively directing and putting these transformations into effect. This, by itself, is an act of creation. It, in a way, (though not absolutely) “withdraws” the subject from the hard determinism of the objective reality and forms the basis of human liberty. May be that is why many researches faced a necessity to look for connections, links between arising subjectivity and creative processes, imagination, fancy.

In his latest works V.Davydov treats as “personality only a subject, possessing a certain creative potential” (Davydov, 1988; p.23). Such traits of personality as creativity, plasticity, freedom of convertibility and others are becoming, according to many studies, generic traits of any

human being. Their absence erodes the very nature of human in man.

Sharing all these conceptions, we shall attempt in this article to analyse the complex interrelations, existing between the processes of subjectivity's genesis in human being and the development of imagination, creativity. To understand it better is possible with the help of analysis individual symbolism orientation, sign-symbol activity through which a child familiarizes himself with the social being, with the world of things and people.

We are influenced in our position here by P.Florensky. He wrote: “All my life I thought practically about one thing: about the relation of phenomenon to nomenon, about detecting of nomenon in phenomena, revealing it and the forms of which it is actually embodied  about the symbol''(Florensky, 1990; p.13). Following P.Florensky we consider this point one of the central

in understanding the essence of human in man.

We suggest that sign-symbol activity should be understood as a complex, systematic, multi-level, hierarchically organized entity. It enables an individual to model objective reality, to transform it in his consciousness, to structure it into idealized objects and operate them with

the help of numerous signs and symbols. Let us now trace the interrelations existing between individual symbolism orientation, subjectivity (as the central constituent of personality) and imagination, creativity.

Though it may be important, subjectivity arises not as interiorization of objects and their functions. Not even through interiorization of their social treatment resulting from a condensed experience of humanity. It first of all reveals itself through various sign systems in a direct contact with other people, through relations with already fully-fledged subjects  carriers of such experience. According to V.Slobodchikov, “in the process of growing up various forms of human co-occurrence come into being, diverse personal abilities appear. They enable him to draw into

various human communities with their forms of culture and leave them by self-individualizing and starting to create new forms, that is to become distinctive” (Slobodchikov, 1991; p.43).

The child is born to a certain cultural historic level of existing sociality, consciousness and forms of activity. Other individuals are for him not only an environment for individual development of his personality (which coexist together with many other conditions). They constitute an ontological basis for the appearance of human subjectivity, the basis for normal development and completeness of human life (Slobodchicov, 1986; p.17). Being indissolubly tied with the grown-up, the child forms with him a certain space of co-occurrence. By it his specifically human abilities are developed  the “functional organs” of subjectivity. Later they let the child treat his own vital activity reflexively. Co-occurrence, in Slobodchikov's opinion, that is an object of personality development. It is that which changes, is being changed, and the results in the appearance of a certain form of subjectivity. In the ontogeny the forms of co-occurrence become complicated, differentiated, improve, remaining both the same and different because of a contradiction in two internal processes  self-opposition and self-identification.

In the course of self-opposition of the child in the initial form of co-occurrence a transformation of connections into relations takes place. This is an indispensable condition of

developing subjectivity.

In the course of identification with the grown-up in co-occurrence the child gets acquainted with the cultural experience of humanity by restructuring the connections and generating new ones. The two opposite processes (self-opposition and self-identification) become a live

contradiction of the co-occurrence. “Through this double relation to  man an individual and man as genus  the child's crib becomes “the cradle of socialization”, and the baby lying in it ``starts to

consider himself as a human being”. That is the child starts forming its internal world as an individual world of a human being'' (Vatin, 1984; p.61). So a child becomes an individual inevitably and necessarily, because a grown-up personality stands nearly.

Acting in a psychological space of co-occurrence, the child within the capacity of his vital functions extracts the essence and interiorizes special objects  other people.

Human languages, sign systems, symbols carry an instrumental function in condition of the arising child's subjectivity. Like usual tools and instruments used by man to give the form to materials of the outward reality, sign systems are used to mould subjectivity into something discrete out of unsteady, unstable, polysemantic continuity of human life. According to K.Marx, subjectivity is a reflected synthesis of the possible forms of human existence in the world. That is why it originates in activity in realization of practical man-to-man relations, relations to the society, world, history, and in the final analysis, to himself.

The appearance of subjectivity in the context of sign-symbol activity may be associated, in our opinion, with several significant moments: breaking off the function (quality, property) from an object-carrier; turning it from a sign of another into the sign for oneself; absorption of material existence by the functional one; acquisition of material status by the functional existence; acquisition of its own objective value by the functional existence; a double determination of the independent functional existence by concrete and wider systems of “circulation”. In other words, separated from other individuals qualities and properties are withdrawn beyond the limits of their

direct carriers. They become in a certain way opposed to man, that is form a specific sign reality. Subjective existence of this sign reality absorbs its material existence in the process of penetrating

into its essence. According to I.Vatin “subjectivity seems to be torn from its objective basis, becomes “thesign of itself”, acquires an independent objectively socialized value. It becomes

self-sufficient in relation to itself” (Vatin, 1984; p.47).

The appearance of subjectivity renders a new quality to the whole existence, sets a human measurement to it. Possessing subjectivity man can elevate above any form of his vital functions. Making himself an object of his own transformation, the man acquires a universal flexible ability to become anything, to adapt to any forms of existence, created by the preceding generations. He becomes the measure of all things.

The mother's subjectivity becomes the first specific object to be interiorized for the child. The latter assimilates, recreates his mother's subjectivity, reproduces it in the forms of his own actions and then returns to the grown-up. Restructuring the forms of the adult's activity into the ways of his own existence, the child seems to offer the grown-up a model of interaction to serve them both. The grown-up collates it, “catches” up, reproduces it in his own terms and again ``holds'' it as a model for the child to acquire it. In this way the process of reciprocal double imitation is carried out, in which there appear the forms of behaviour, non-identical, non-isomorphic. We deal here with material exteriorization of the objectivized media of communication in such acts as echolalia in its various forms and symbolic actions as mimicking and poses.

Thus, between the child and the adult there exists from the very start a specific sign community, a kind of mutual sign association, which makes mutual understanding possible and allows to develop it further. It's interesting that the child's and the adult's sign systems overlap

only in part and function for this particular child and grown-up in a co-existence given act of co-occurrence. Only later, step by step the child acquires the code, which is used by the grown-up, until that he acts, not quite realizing himself an acting individual. For example, crying to make his mother return into a room, the child fulfils (though unconsciously) his semiotic function to be a sign for other people. The grown-up tends to personify his child's cry, interpreting the child's subjectivity and his “self-entity” (where it does not exist yet!). In accordance with the human experience he ascribes a certain meaning to a child's cry.

With the appearance of the first social reactions the semantic system of co-existence restructures: the infant is turning into an “addressee” who is personally addressed. The “person-situation” (M.Lisina) form of communication develops. The walking and talking stage indicates new developments in subjectivity. Walking which frees the infant's hands sets him into a four-dimensional space, where he finds an acting adult and begins him own acting. We observe the onset of infant's activity by which he discloses the qualities and functions of objects. Speech “liberates the child from his immersion into his co-existence and facilitates his

ability to comprehend his own “self” (Slobodchikov, 1986; p.20). With the help of the word --- a universal sign  subjectivity turns into its own object. Formed at 3, the child's “functional organs” of subjectivity are commented and assessed by the adult in the process of upbringing. So out of a great variety of actions the child reinforces a set of those “typically encouraged” actions which constitute the contents of his self-awareness. As V.Slobodchikov writes, both the child's speech and acts are adult-oriented. They create and consolidate multiple points of identification, points of

self-identification and self-authenticity. A certain \emp{``animation''} of child's vital activity takes place (ibid, p.21).

In communication the child develops first instrumental and quasi-instrumental (connected with play, symbolic) actions. The former include the child into the co-operation with the adult. The latter include the child into those forms adult's activity which are not accessible for the child practically, though possible in play and in symbols. Secondly, the child comes to know material things as a result of discovering their qualities and functions. He also becomes able to act in quasi-objective situations (speech, cognition, etc.), created by the child himself. These allow the child to act in the plane of ideal entities. The forms of activity, familiar to the child since preschool age (new forms of address, role and symbolic games, creative activity), stimulate a further development of subjectivity as a complete system. Comparing himself and his actions with “standard” forms of behaviour, the child modifies his self-vision and learns to control himself.

Thus, it is quite possible that already at his pre-school age, when subjectivity initiates, the child participates in 3~group of semiotic relations: (1) a grown-up or any other man as a sign for the child to decode actively; (2) the child himself as a sign for anybody else; (3) the child as a sign for himself. The latter we connect not only with self-awareness, but also with revealing of one's own opportunities and their exteriorization in the results of creative activity. Developing and studying oneself as a sign, revealing one's own qualities and functions for other people, turning oneself into a product of one's own activity, the human being strengthens himself, lengthens his existence, consolidates his subjectivity through creative acts of various kinds. The essence of personality development lies in the growing subjectivity. Subjectivity penetrates into the existence, spreads itself all over; individuals extrapolate it on the world of things and people. As F.Barron writes, “creative work is a general condition for the human's development, his rising complexity, originality, his unique dissimilation and difference from others” (Barron,1990; p.154).

In general opinion the processes of growing subjectivity are first found in the child of 3, when the child starts getting his own activity's subject and can consider himself an object of his

operating. The possibility of being a sign both for oneself and others, in our opinion, is directly connected with the development of imagination and other forms of sign-symbol activity.

Let us prove this thesis. In the “child-adult co-existence”, as we have already mentioned, there appears a certain sign space, which contains specific sign information to be grasped and learnt, in the process of actualization of the sign reality. At every step of the child's personality development the sign-symbol activity takes different forms. We presume, that the first phase is connected with acquiring of sign systems as means, tools of specifically human nature. Here we can refer to L.Vygotsky who mentioned the role of signs in the internal psychic processes and the necessity to learn them at an early age. P. Florensky distinguished between material tools (machines, instruments) and ideal tools of an interior plan (concept and symbols). The second phase begins with the use of the obtained means in the construction of models and their further utilization for extracting information about objects and phenomena of the outward reality. The third phase is connected with some creative acts. It allows the man himself to create both material things and sign systems, to operate the models, again extracting absolutely new information and thus creating the new ontology. We called these 3 phases substitution, modelling

and mental experimenting respectively.

It is possible to distinguish several steps in developing the sign-symbol orientation in the pre-school child. Each of the steps will be marked by new traits of a wider, more universal order than the sign-symbol function, and go out far beyond it.

At the zero stage there is practically no independent sign-symbol function to consider. The child tries to assimilate the sign-symbol means to realize his initial relations with the adult in

their joint activity. Only later that these means will fulfil the function of substitution. According to G.Glotova, “the semiotic activity of any level is directed on the formation of a specialized

language, some reflecting substratum, by which later new signs will be expressed. The signs reflected and expressed will on the one hand result in the changes and development of the substratum. On the other hand these new signs will be correlated with developing forms of activity. In fact, development is always like this: we acquire a new specialized language, than with

its help we learn something new again” (Glotova, 1990; p.125--126).

The form of such specific original language is imitation. By it the child responses to the adult's behaviour: a voice  to a voice, a smile  to a smile. It isn't a formal copying the adult's actions, of his “language”, but a performing in the child's own forms of activity the ways and means of the child-adult contact. Later they become symbols, signs, “words” of their co-occurrence. It is with their help that mutual understanding between the child and the adult is set.

Imitation “doubles” any existing form, makes it different, but the same in function, because as it realizes the doubled form on some other material, in some other bodily appearance. The doubled contents of the co-occurrence is “inter-individual”: it cannot be used by either of them separately, as it loses it sense, completely or partly. If a child is short of contacts with other people, his development is retarded: he has no initial word-keys to start reflecting reality on the human level.

Gradually this integrated non-differentiated imitation begins to break. This happens under the influence of specialized adult's acts directed on the child. Cry, shout and other sounds, expressing biological needs of the child, turn into listening and understanding the adult's speech addressed to him. Later infantile babbling appears and repetitions of sound combinations, than  prattling, “prattle speech”. Of course, the significance of these forms of speech is limited. In adult speech the words and things events are not clearly correlated. By 8-9 months the child begins using his vocal experimenting to attract and hold adult's attention. Let's note, that an initial function “adulta sign for the child” begins to actualize another function  “the child  a sign for the adult”. At the same period of time the vocal mimicry, if encouraged, develops into the first attempts of nominalization.

In the development of the object decoding activity at the zero stage we observe first non-specific movements. Later, by the end of the first year first manipulations with simple objects appear. Later still coping the actions with objects shown by the grown-up in their standard form. This moment is of great value, though these actions are poor in content and manipulations are numerous. For the grown-up objects possess some constant fixed meaning. The child should extract this meaning. However hard the child would try to carry out an action with an object, it won't reveal its essence. The child needs to be taught, that is why the adult would show the actions with things, disclosing the meanings of human objects to the child. In this way the child is drawn into the previous experience of humanity.

The peculiarity of the zero stage is in the fact, that the child's own actions with the things are poorly connected with their objective content, lying outside them. The child, co-existing in the same sign system with the grown-up, does not as yet use these signs for their proper purpose. The child is unable to understand the qualities and functions of the objects.

By the end of the zero stage (after the first year of life) an important contradiction appears. It is the necessity to associate signs, existing in one outer form, with some other, hidden in their

material form, objective content (speech sounds with their meanings, etc). This presupposes quite natural passage beyond the limits of the original form of co-occurrence and beyond the concrete actions with objects only in agreement with their “hingly” nature. Active talking with the use of poly-functional substitutes is observed. The child learns to express his thoughts and emotional experience in their standard (accepted by the society at the given period) sign system or at least approaching it. For the activity with objects this is a transfer of acquired actions into a wider class of actions. With the play coming into being, it gives new possibilities to use certain objects in the function of some others and to assume roles. The zero-stage is also the time when drawing develops after scribbles.

The first stage (1-3,6 years) is the time for acquisition and mastering (finishing touches!) of various sign systems. The sign systems (the language of music, of motions, speech, drawing, etc) are brought to some average level. At this stage of sign-symbol orientation development the child does not create or change anything in obtained sign systems and in the environment (the level of reproduction). In a certain sense, he remains rather a “consumer”. We presume that the child is now at the stage of acquisition and testing of substitution, without yet reflecting his substitutes and actions with them. The child learns sign-symbol reality as a special object, without as yet making it an instrument of his own cognitive activity or its change. Nevertheless, at an early age already this is a need to build a plan, ti outline a scheme of actions, forms of expression thoughts, etc. The necessity to treat sign systems actively as method of reflecting reality arises. In other words, a contradiction is growing between the level at which the signs are obtained and new tasks, new aims and interests to be solved with their help.

All this is closely connected with the appearance of the initial forms of imagination. The sign systems at one's disposal form the basis for constructing various patterns of objects, schemes of actions, etc. That is the new form in which the sign-symbol orientation passes to the second stage - the stage of modelling.

It's necessary to stress, that the way of developing the sign-symbol orientation lies not only through the widening and differentiation of interiorized sign systems, but rather through a change of the child's treatment of them. The child modifies his actions with the signs, treating them as tools, not as new opposing sign-symbol objectivity to be studied anew. At each stage the child's activity, his independent treatment of sign-tools grows. He uses them comprehendingly; his power

in operating them enlarges to a considerable extent.

The substitution stage enables the child to translate real phenomena and objects of reality into various sign-symbol languages. The modelling reveal the essential properties of things and phenomena, is further used as a method of cognition, as a method of obtaining information

about substituted objects, as a method of building the world conception. With them the child recreate an idealized objectivity to be operated and used. In this idealized objectivity everything the child knows and understands, takes its definite systemic place, conditioned by the logical and associative connections. In fact, at this stage the child passes from learning sign-symbol systems to

their “exploiting” at his will, to get new cognitive “profit”. So sign-symbol systems turn from a goal to a means, serving the child's needs.

In speech this results in a possibility to express a certain content (of thoughts, feelings, emotions) in a flexible, exact way. The child acquires a skill to put questions, to formulate a problem (“hypothesis”). He is now able to create verses (though with a share of naive “plagiarism”'!); to coin words; to guess the riddles; to grasp humour, metaphors, proverbs and sayings; to understand contexts. A development from manipulative play to role-play takes place, where quite expressed functional substitution is observed. Children begin to acknowledge the rules and orient to them. In their first attempts to modelling they assume roles and act according to the rules. Children's graphic activity is characterized by a change from schematic drawing patterns to the appearance of plot drawings, expressing children's emotions, feelings, moods, individual original images. They also attempt to render some artistic ideas, plans, plots. The same is found

in constructing, in models in clay in applique work and other forms of children's activity. An imprint of the child's personality, his individuality, his “self” may be clearly seen.

Play fulfils an exclusively important function in child's rising subjectivity. In fact, as soon as at the age of 2 the child begins to play, one can observe that all subjective traits, though fragmentary and elementary, are present. D.Elkonin, considering the role of pre-school play, writes that in play “the child learns meanings of objects, orienting to their social function”, which is, before anything, connected with involvement of object-substitutes into play (Elkonin, 1978; p.168). The same was also marked by J.Piaget, who thought symbolic play to be the peculiarity of the pre-school age and a variety of sign-symbolic activity of the child. The idea of substitution lies in the fact, “that one object is created from another. The former remains real only in the child's imagination, within the frame of the play, in an ideal form. In other words, the child enters the play, when he is capable of creating, though on the primitive, elementary level” (Vatin, 1984; p.57).

Modelling is the stage which appears at the pre-school age (4-5), continues at school and in adult age, especially if required by one's professional activity. This is the stage of the most significant transformation in sign-symbol activity of an individual. He learns to build adequate, complete, integral models of reality in accordance with his own notions of it, with his individual experience in cognition and communication. The child acquires the function of building idealized quasi-reality, which, being transformed, brings him some new information about reality. Operating his models, creating them, the child can “catch” something new in them (a facet, connection, property, quality). It is this, that in our opinion, makes it possible for him to develop qualitatively new level of sign-symbol orientationmental experimenting.

The sign-symbol activity develops at its any step both as internal and external. At the stage of modelling external line is represented by constructing, modelling in clay, play, drawing, etc. The internal line finds its expression in one's ability to plan something and release one's plan, keeping in mind the result to be obtained. All this requires imagination. And it develops as an important new trait of the pre-school age together with thinking, growing arbitrariness of the

psychic processes and other qualitative changes in the child's personality and activity.

Imagination develops as a universal human ability to see that, which really exists in the world, to see the diversity of things, their qualities and properties. It is due to imagination that common experience of humanity is correlated with separate facts of individual experience. Thanks to it the things , which are not acquired by abstract-logic thinking may be achieved by the power of imagination. An isolated fact may be unfolded in the internal plane of imagination to make visible its general, universal character. This is the position, advanced by E.Ilyenkov (1960) and followed by V.Davydov (1992).

Imagination has numerous functions. One of them is interpreted as a power to generate new entities (images, thoughts and further, on their basis,  objects and actions). Imagination restructures and transforms “the old”, which exist in reality, by finding some essential, earlier not observed, facts, links, relations.

The images, imagination operates, are flexible, dynamic, fluctuating, divergent, possess a certain modus of changeability. That is why an individual can “gather and scatter” properties of his images in accordance with his heuristic creative will. The mechanism of imagination in general is described by V.Davydov in the following way: one of the properties of an object is torn away from it and passed onto another image which in principle does not possess it. If the transferred property is significant for the image, a new image is created. And if, led by the creative image, an individual is able to embody it into a real object, a new thing appears. If the image cannot be realized as a material object, it remains a fantastic (as chimeras, centaurs).

The development of sign-symbol activity to the stage of modelling enables an individual to single out essential properties of one object and substitute the latter by another. This substitute starts to fulfil the functions of the original object in the individual's activity. It turns into a sign-symbol, as it embodies the properties of the original object. So the symbols are the carriers of the universal (the essential) of real things. As E.Ilyenkov puts it, “functional existence of a symbol is in its role as a means, tool of revealing the essence of other sensually percepted things, that is their

Universal” (Ilyenkov, 1984; p.178).

Signs and symbols allow to construct models  “abstractions of a certain kind, in which essential relations of objects are expressed in percepted and visualized connections and relations of sign components, a unity of the universal and the isolated (that is the abstract and concrete) in which the universal and essential is front-lined” (Davydov, 1992; p.24). All these considerations allow to describe imagination in terms of modelling. So it proves that imagination is closely connected with sign-symbol activity.

Imagination helps an individual to act not only according to traditional schemes, but also going beyond their limits, heuristically. The power of operating the models, of creating new model systems, of working out means of their creation, etc leads sign-symbol function to its third stage, which we called a stage of mental experimenting. The individual is now capable of the

anticipating reflection and creative acts. It is but natural, that in childhood we can speak only about pre-conditions of mental experimenting and its elements. Nevertheless, the sign-symbol orientation seems to initiate as a whole system in childhood, however uneven the development of its parts may be. For instance, by the senior pre-school age, the system may be allegorically represented as “yesterday-today-tomorrow”. Substitution is “yesterday” of the sign-symbol function, without which “today” (modelling), containing “tomorrow” (mental experimenting), is impossible.

At the stage of mental experimenting an individual obtains a wide freedom of operating the models, which he can transform in any imaginable directions. He can also analyze his models in their various structural connections, turning them away in his imagination from any logical regularities. The signs, symbols, models  cognitive tools  transform into heuristic instruments, by which this individual achieves feedback coercion on the environment, imposing his subjective, human logics, his human measure, and finding in this way the innermost connections in the world around.

Transferring properties of one image on another, the child's consciousness restructures the latter, makes it heterogeneous. This causes the search of new homogeneity. For this aim the singled-out property is given the status of a systemic one, “structure-generating”, able to organize the new entity out of the “old” parts in accordance with new systematizing trait. “Grasping” and keeping in one's consciousness the new entity, fitting the “destructured” systems to it, forms the basis of creative actions.

With developed sign-symbol orientation, imagination, thinking in its structure, creativity allows to extend oneself in the world, to reinforce and lengthen one's power. Anticipating reflection provides an integral, all-round cognition of the world and as E.Ilyenkov thought, allows to see the world “with the eyes of all other people” (Ilyenkov, 1964; p.60). The latter seems to be a pre-requisite of specifically human consciousness. So imagination may be considered an important constituent part of the personality genesis. No consciousness is possible without imagination. “Imagination itself “organizes” perception (that is sensuality). Altogether they form

the basis of creative activity of an individual, generate his personality” (Davydov, 1992; p.26).

This is supported by numerous investigations, which prove that since 3 the child can act independently: to pass “from a plan to putting it into life; from thought to a situation  not from a situation to a thought” (Elkonin, 1989; p.150). In fact, by the end of early childhood, the forms of child-adult co-occurrence disintegrate, and the child starts to separate himself and his actions from the grown-up and his actions. The child displays his own wishes and a tendency to independence (“the crisis of 3-year-olds”). Since this time the grown-up will be present in his role-playing only indirectly. It is of importance, that at the pre-school age. The child is involved into artistic activity, he learns to draw, to model, construct independently, begins to experiment with objects, subjugating their “thingness” to his subjectivity and in this way satisfying his heuristic needs. All these are forms of activity in which the child trains and masters his independence, his individuality, his subjectivity. According to V. Davydov, “the pre-school child forms a framework of his personality development level. By the end of this age children may become individuals, possessing personality” (Davydov, 1992; p.29).

P.Florensky wrote at his time, that ``mental creativity divides into the production of things the sense of which is not visual, and the production of meaning, reality of which is not obvious'' (Florensky, 1977; p.103). It may be supposed, that the production of new subjective entities is fact the creative act of individual seeing, one's “subjective glance”, which reflects not only its direction,

but something which deals with him personally. Widening of one's influence on the world, setting one's “self” in it, one's individuality that, in our opinion, is the highest personal realization of an individual. In its primitive forms it is within the capacity of a pre-schooler, as an individual, personality.


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