Chain Complex

The chain complex, in which each object is connected with the next according to some feature, but then the next object according to a different feature.


Chain complexes is a form of proto-concept which is associated with the child’s first attempt to use words to recognise objects:
“The child selects an object, or several objects, to match the model on the basis of some type of associative connection they have with it. The child then continues to select concrete objects to form a unified complex. However, his selection is guided by the features of objects selected in previous stages of this action, features that may not be found in the model itself. For example, the child may select several objects having corners or angles when a yellow triangle is presented as model. Then, at some point, a blue object is selected and we find that the child subsequently begins to select other blue objects that may be circles or semicircles. The child then moves on to a new feature and begins to select more circular objects” (LSVCW v. 1, p. 139).

The child is becoming adept in isolating features of objects from the perceptual field, but is unable to retain stable representations of them so that their generalisations resemble members of an extended family, and although sharing a family name, there is no one attribute uniting all the elements.

The chain complex marks an important stage in the development of complexive thinking.


Vygotsky, L. S. (1934). An Experimental Study of Concept Development, Chapter 5 of Thinking and Speech, in LSVCW, v. 1, pp. 121–166

-- AndyBlunden - 14 Nov 2013


Topic revision: r3 - 19 Nov 2013, AndyBlunden

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