Developmental psychology, philosophical and theoretical psychology
1896, Gomel, White Russia
1934, Moscow, Russia
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (Russian: Лев Семёнович Вы́готский or Выго́тский, born Лев Симхович Выгодский Lev Simkhovich Vygodsky, November 17 [O.S. November 5] 1896 – June 11, 1934) was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of a theory of human cultural and ...
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (Russian: Лев Семёнович Вы́готский or Выго́тский, born Лев Симхович Выгодский Lev Simkhovich Vygodsky, November 17 [O.S. November 5] 1896 – June 11, 1934) was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of a theory of human cultural and bio-social development commonly referred to as cultural-historical psychology, and leader of the Vygotsky Circle.
Vygotsky's main work was in developmental psychology, and he proposed a theory of the development of higher cognitive functions in children that saw reasoning as emerging through practical activity in a social environment. During the earlier period of his career he argued that the development of reasoning was mediated by signs and symbols, and therefore contingent on cultural practices and language as well as on universal cognitive processes.
Vygotsky also posited a concept of the Zone of Proximal Development, often understood to refer to the way in which the acquisition of new knowledge is dependent on previous learning, as well as the availability of instruction.
During his lifetime Vygotsky's theories were controversial within the Soviet Union. In the 1930s Vygotsky's ideas were introduced in the West where they remained virtually unknown until the 1970s when they became a central component of the development of new paradigms in developmental and educational psychology. While initially Vygotsky's theories were ignored in the West, they are today widely known, although scholars do not always agree with them, or agree about what he meant. The early 21st century has seen scholarly reevaluations of many of Vygotsky's central concepts and theories. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Vygotsky as the 83rd most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
editorial work, Voprosy Defektologii, Pediatriya, and Voprosy Psikhologii, Pedologii i Psikhotekhniki Vygotskii dealt with the development of consciousness in the course of evolution and in ontogeny. He considered the latter to be a qualitative change in the mind. Vygotskii emphasized the role of education in psychological development, insisting that instruction must keep ahead of development. He conducted some of the first studies on concept formation in schoolchildren. He developed a test that bears his name, designed to test concept formation by having the subject group blocks according to different properties of the blocks. In his bestknown work, Myst' i rech' (1934
English translation, Thought and Language, 1962), Vygotskii considered the determining factor of a child's psychological development to be social development, especially language development. During a child's mental development, mental functions not only grow but, in a complex system of interrelations, develop new mental functional systems. The main changeproducing factor is speech. The meaning of a word changes as a child grows up, which, in turn, brings about changes in the child's mental structure. Vygotskii also conducted psychopathological studies. He was one of the first psychologists to investigate conceptualization in schizophrenia. One of his main findings was that for schizophrenics it is difficult, if not impossible, to use and understand metaphoric or figurative language. This finding forms the basis of a number of psychiatric diagnostic tests. Vygotskii's work in pedology and defectology at the Institute of the Experimental Study of Mental Retardation in Moscow developed Soviet psychology in these areas and was used in applied situations of child care and training. Books written by Vygotskii include Pedagogicheskaya psikhologiya (1926), Pedologiya shkol'nogo vozrasta (1928), Etyudy po istorii povedeniya (1930, with A. R. Luria*), Pedologiya podrostka (1931), and Osnovy pedologii (1934). A complete bibliography of Vygotskii's works totals 186 items. Biographies: A. N. Leont'ev, In L. S. Vygotskii, The Psychology of Art, 1971, pp. v-xi
A. R. Luria, J. Genet. Psycho!., 1935, 46, 224-225 (also Character Pers., 1935, 3, 238-240)
Vop. Psikhol., 1967, 13(3), 179-184
PR, 3. lw
1929 The problem of the cultural development of the child. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 36, 415-34.
1976 Play and its role in the mental development of the child. In J. Bruner et al. (eds), Play - Its Role in Development and Evolution. Penguin (1st pub.
1977 The development of higher psychological functions. Soviet Psychology, 15, 60-73.
1978 Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge University Press.
1979 Consciousness as a probem in the psychology of behavior. Soviet Psychology, 17 (4), 3-35.
1981 The development of higher mental functions. In J. V. Wertsch (ed.), The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology. Sharpe.
1981 The development of higher forms of attention in childhood. In J. V. Wertsch (ed.), The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology. Sharpe.
1987 Collected Works, vol. l. Plenum.
1987 Diagnosis of the development and pedological clinical care of difficult children. Soviet Psychology, 26(1), 86-101 (lst pub. 1936).