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Series Editor: Professor George Butterworth, Department of

Psychology, University of Stirling.
Designed for a broad readership in the English-speaking world, this
major series represents the best of contemporary research and theory in
the cognitive, social abnormal and biological areas of development.





Infancy and Epistemology: A ~

Piaget's Theory
George Butterworth (ed.)
.._=-Social Cognition: Studies on the Development of Understand~
George Butterworth and Paul Light (eds.)
The Mental and Social Life r:.LBabies:How Parents Create Persons
Kenneth Kaye......
._Evolutio(J and Developmental Psychology George Butterrworth,
Julie Rutkowska and Michael Scaife (eds.)
The Child's Point of View: The Development of Cognition and
umguaguage M. V. Cox
Developmental Psychology in the Soviet Union
Jaan Valsiner



lAnguage and Representation:

\).Chris Sinha

Socia-Naturalistic Approach to


Psychology in the
Soviet Union

Department of Psychology
University of North California at Chapel Hill


First published in Great Britain in 1988 by

1 (i ShIp Street, Brighton, Sussex

List of Figures
List of Tables
Valsiner, Jaan
psychology in the Soviet
body and mind; 6).
I. Developmental
I. Title II .. Series


Introduction: Understanding of Development and its

Social-Historical Context
Soviet psychology: why is it of interest?
Science and society: a general outline of their shared history
Constraints on the understanding of development
Summary: the relevance, and difficulty of learning about
Soviet developmental psychology


The Historical Context: Some Aspects of the Past of

Russian Society
Soviet developmental psychology and its historical context
Russian society and empire before 1917
The influence of European natural sciences on Russian thought
Developmental ideas in Russian social thought
Conclusions: Russian cultural history and developmental ideas


Developmental Ideas and the History of Psychology in

Russian/Soviet Society


Evolutionary theory and Russian developmental psychology

Russian neurophysiology and issues of development
The nature of the social change in Soviet society in the 1920s
The history of Soviet psychology in the 1920s
The 'great break' in Soviet social sciences and its mechanism
Soviet society and science, 1930s-1950s
'Pavlovization' of Soviet psychology
Conclusions: ideas of development and the turmoils of history


1. S. Vygotsky and Contemporary Developmental



The cultural-historical beginnings of Vygorsky's role in

Soviet psychology
Vygorsky's Marxism, and the study of development
Criticism of psychology's experimental methodologies
The process of internalization
Vygotsky's ideas and Western psychology
Conclusions: VygOtsky and contemporary developmental




Psychology in the Soviet Union

Mikhail Basov and the Structural-dynamic

Perspective on Child Development
Basov's life and activities
Basov's theotetical system
Basov's dynamic structutalism
Methodological integration: retrospective unity of extro- and
Summary: Basov's relevance in developmental psychology


Studies on the Development of Children's Action,

Cognition, and Perception
The 'Kharkov school' and research on cognitive development
Piagetian studies and Soviet cognitive-developmental psychology
Moral cognition and personality developm~nt
Development of speech and its functions in psychological
Development of visual-motor actions and perception in infancy
A.M. Fonarev's research on infants' visual-orienting reaaions
Research on infants' eye movements by A. A. Mit'kin
and his colleagues
Summary: interdependence of action, cognition and perception


Social Organization of Child Development

Research on social interaction
Studies of interaction in infancy: M, I. Lisina and her laboratory
Social class and child development in Soviet psychology
Social formation of children's world views
Individuals in collectives: social groups, their environments,
and social development of children
Social class, child development, and its environment
Conclusions: lessons from Soviet research on social development



Conclusions: Development of Developmental

Psychology in the USSR
The modernizing funaion of historical analysis
The developmental nature of Soviet psychology
Heterogeneity of paradigms, and its social regulation
General conclusions: society and t'le science of r1evelopmem

Appendix A: A Programme for an Interview with Children
for the Study of their Social Knowledge


VIII Cultural Contexts of Child Development and

Psychological Research
The natsmen problem and psychological research in the 1920s
Paedological expeditions of 1929
'Cultural-historical' expeditions to Central Asia
Extinction of psychological research on natsmen child development
Re-emergence of comparative-cultural research in the 1970s


Cultural Heterogeneity of Developmental Psychology

in the Soviet Union
Why is psychology in the USSR seen as homogeneous?
Geographical heterogeneity of developmental psychology
in the USSR
Conclusion: developmental psychology in the USSR is
geo-culturally heterogeneous



cAchltes q]el ri



Zhukovskaia, Z. M. (1930). 'The study of active haptic manipulation by

. blmd children'. Voprosy izuchenia i vospitania lichnosti, 9, 1-2,86-90.
Zimmerman, C. C. (1968). Sorokin, the world's greatest sociologist.
Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Press.
Zinchenko, P.I. (1961). Involuntary remembering
zapominanie). Moscow: Izd. ANP RSFSR.
Zinchenko, P. I. (1983-84). The problem of involuntary memory'. Soviet
. psychology, 22, 2, 55-111 (Russian original, 1939).
Zmchenko, V.P., Van-Tzi Tsin, & Tararkanov, V.V. (1962). 'The
formation and development of perceptual actions'. Voprosi psihologii,
Zinchenko, V. P. & Vergiles, N. Yu. (1969). The formation of the visual
image. (Formirovanie zritel'nogo obraza). Moskva: Izdatel'sevo MGU.

APPENDIX A: A Programme for an

Interview with Children for the Study of
their Social Knowledge*

The first part

1. Physical causality
1. (a) Where does wind come from? (b) Why does it blow?
2. You have seen clouds moving in the sky. Why do they move?
How does it happen?
3. (a) Does rlleSun move or not? Why does it move? How does
it happen? (b) Does the moon move or not? Why does it
move? What makes it move? (c) Do the stars move or not?
Do the clouds move or not?
4. (about shadow): (a) Do you know what this is? (b) Why did
the shadow appear? (c) Can you make a shadow with a book?
How should one do it? Where will the shadow from the book
fall? Why?
5. (a) Why does this thing fall? What makes it fall? (b) Why
dOl1'tcolourful air ballons that are sold ~ the street fall? What
,holds them up, in the air? (c) Is an aeroplane heavy or light?
(d) Why does it not fall? (e) Why do the sun, the moon and
the stars not fall on to Earth? What olds them up?
II. Boundaries and f
res of life and being alive
(What is considered alive and not alive. What objects have .
consciousness and capability of feeling paiQL;~~+

1. Which objects are called 'living' and which 'not-living'?

2. Are the following living or not living: a stone, a stick, a tree, a
flower, a worm, a fly, water, clouds, the Moon, an aeroplane?
3. Can the following objects think: (same list as above)? Why?
4. Will the following objects feel pain, if one hits them: (same list
as above)? Why?
*Source: Basov (1931a), pp 747-50




5. What do you want: to live or to die? Why? For what ~e

do you want to live?
6. Do other people want to live arnot? Why do you think so?
For what purpose do they want to live?
7. Do animals want to live or not? Why do you think so? (If
answer is that they do): For what purpose do they rant to
live? Do they know, for what purpose they live? Why do you
think so?
8. Do plants live or not? Why do you think so? (If yes): Do they
want to live? For what purpose? Do they know for what
purpose they live? Why do you think so?
III. The origins of things existing
1. Where do people originate (come from)? Where did you come
from? Where did your father come from? Where did other
people come from?
2. Where did horses, birds, fish, flies ... come from?
3. Where did B.ra~~s
4. Where do eart -: stones come from? Where do iron and glass
come from?
5. Where do clouds originate? How did they appear in the sky?
>Where is the sky from? Where is the snow, rain from?
6. Where do rivers originate? Where did water come from?
Where did seas come from?
7. Where did the Sun originate? How did it appear in the sky?
Where did the Moon originate? Where did the stars originate?
Have they always been the wa _ they are today? Have the
following always been like today: people, animals, plants, the
Sun, the Moon, stars, or Earth? Was there a time when there
was nothing? (If yes): What was then?



The psychological and the physical

Can you think?
Think now about something.
What did you think about?
How do you think?
With the help of what do you think?
Can one think with closed mouth, ears, eyes?
Can you see your thoughts? Can you touch them with your
hands? Why can you not do it?
8. Can I see your thoughts?
9. How do you know what you are thinking about?

10. Have you dream~d in your sleep? How did you see it-as you
can see now, or in a different way?
11. Can one see with closed eyes, while not sleeping? Why?
12. What you dream about-can you touch it with your hands?
13. What is it that you dream about in your sleep?
14. Have you heard about the soul? Do you have a soul? ~hat_is it
like? Where is it?
15. Do the plants have souls? Where are they located?
16. And other objects?
17. (If the soul is said to exist): Does it die together with the
person (animal), or plant?
18. (If not), what happens to it after death? How does it survive
after death?
L.., ().t~
V. Religion
1. What is the sky? Has it always eXisted? How did It emerge?
2. Does God exist?,Why do you think so? (If yes: What is he like?
Where is he? What does he do? Does he work?) Is there
anything that is created by God? What exactly?
3. Should one pray to God? Why? Can God punish peop~e? For
what? How?
4. Do all people believe that God exists and pray to him? (If no:
Which people do you like better? Why?).
5. Does the devil exist? Why do you think so? If 'yes': What is he
like? Where is he? What does he do? Does he work? Is there
anything that is created by the devil? What exactly? Can the
devil punish people? How? For what? What should one do to
avoid punishment?

The second part


1. Does your father (mother) work? Do you work? How?
2. What does it mean 'to work'? Does the teacher work? Why do
~ you think so? Does an engineer wo.rk? An artist?
1'" ,(~
on iliul)? Why do you thall< so? Do children work?
'y:oJ~ When do they work and when do they not work? Do t~ey
\ n(
work when they are playing ball or checkers, or somethlOg
else? Why do \you think so?



). Why do people work? If all people had as much money as they

WJnt, could they live without working? Why do you think so?
-I. Do all people work? Who does not work? Why is it that some
work and others don't? (If the first question is answered 'all'):
Has it always been in our country that everybody works?
When was it different? Who did not work then? Why?
J. Do all people abroad (in other countries) work? Who does not
work? Why?
() Can everybody do the work th~ want to? Why do you think
so? Can an..xbodybe tau ht to do any work? Why do you think
When you grow_ up-how would you like to live: with work
\working) or without work, doing nothing? If you had enough
money to last for your whole life, would you want to work?
Why? What would you do then?

8. Whom would you like to be most-rich

Bourgeois, worker, or peasant? Why?

or poor? Why?

Ill. Class struggle

1. Do the workers and bourgeoisi~ )jJ~!}~~~~ony? Why? How
do workers and peasants get%~ong with each other-are they
in harmony or not? Why? How do peasants and the
bourgeoisie live-in harmony or not? Why?
2. Do you know what a revolution is? What .b.eppe~ during a
revolution? What revolutions do you know? What happened
in our country during the February Revolution? What
happened during the October Revolution? Why did the
February Revolution happen? Who made it? Why did the
October Revolution take place? Who made it? Who won in
tbat revolution? Why did the[t;win? ""~~\,,,-~J'~'"
3. In other countries, abroOOO:ar'tptc5ple happy or not that tht.,
October Revolution occurred in our country? Is everybody glar
(or not) equally about it? Who is glad? Who is not glad? Why?
Can a similar revolution take place there, like the one we had?
Why do you think so? If that happens-will
people in our
USSR be happy or not? Why?
4. Are you glad that the October Revolution took place in our
country? Why? When do you think it is better-now, or before
the Revolution? Why? Would you like a new revolution to take
place? Why?
5. What do you think: are revolution and war the same thing or
not? What is the difference? Did our country have a war long
ago? With whom did we fight? Who won? Who was defeated?
What did the winners and losers gam?-w'hy do wars occur?
Can we have another war? Why? With whom will we then
fight? Do the workers of other countries want to fight with us?
Why? And the bourgeoisie? Why? And peasants? Why? Can it
be, that people will never have wars with one another? (If
'not': Why do you think so?; if 'yes': When will that happen?
What must be done to achieve that?).

II. Class society

~.;"l9' ~
I. Who are called 'bourgeoisie', 'worker', 'peas.ant'? What do they
.2 Who are you: bourgeoisie, worker, or l?easant? And your
father? Your mother? Why do you think so?
1. Which of the groups (bourgeoisie, workers, peasants) do the
teachers belong to? Artists? Militiamen? Red Army soldiers?
Why do you think so (in every case)?
Who is called rich, poor?
') Why are some people rich and others poor? Are there rich and
poor in every country all the time? Why do you think so? Can
all people be equally rich? (If 'no': Why do you think so?; if
'yes': When does that happen? What must be done to achieve
6. Is the bourgeoisie the same as the rich, or not? Bourgeoisie,
workers, peasants-which
of these are richer, who poorer?
Can J bourgeois be poor? Why? Can workers be rich? In what
way? Can peasants be rich? Why can they be so? Is a rich
worker a bourgeois, or not? Or a rich peasant? Why do you
think so?
7. Can it be that there are no bourgeoisie, workers, and peasants,
and all people will be alike? (If 'not': Why do you think so?; if
'yes': When will that happen? What must be done to achieve

IV. Political parties

1. Do you know what a party is? Which parties do you know?
How do parties emerge? For what are they formed?
2. Which parties do you know in the USSR? Who is called a





communist? For what purpose did the communists organize

their party? Can everybody be a communist? Who benefits
from communists-the
bourgeoisie, workers, or peasants?
Whom do they harm? Areall workers communists? Why?
And peasants? Why? And bourgeoisie? Why? Do the
communists accept any kind of a person into their party? (If
'no': Who are not accepted? Why?).
Are there communist parties abroad? What do foreign
communists want? Are there other parties too? What do they
want? Do the communists live in harmony with other parties?
Why? And our communists with foreign ones-are they in
harmony or not? Why? Do our communists meet foreign
ones? Why do they meet? What is Komintern?
Can a communist in all cases act as he wishes? But if the party
orders him to act in the opposite way, what should he do?
Why? If a communist acts as he wishes and not according to
the wish of the party, what should happen? Why?
What is the leader of the party called? Why do parties have
leaders? Which leaders of communist parties do you know?
Why did they become leaders? Who was the first and the
highest leader of the communist party during the Revolution?
Who is now? If the communists had no Lenin, could the
Revolution have taken place?
Do you want to be a communist? Why? And a Komsomol? A
Pioneer? Why? (If already a member: Are you satisfied with
being a member of the organization? What are you satisfied
with, and with what are you dissatisfied?).

V. The nationality question

1. What nationalities do you know?
2. Which nationality you consider the best? Why do you think
so? And which ,nationality is the next best? Why? And the
next? And which nationality is the least good? Why do you
think so? What other nationality is not good? Why?
3. Are all nationalities in the USSR equal, or are some against
others? (If unequal: Which nationality is pushing others aside?
Why? Who are being pushed aside? Why do you think so?).
Was it the same before the Revolution as it is now? How was
it then? Why?
4. Do all nationalities have their bourgeoisie, workers, and

peasants? The Russians have their workers and bourgeoisie.

the French and the Germans have them too-so tell us whom
do Russian workers like more: Russian bourgeoisie or GermJn
or French workers? Why do you think so? Whom do German
or French workers like best-their own bourgeoisie or Russian
workers? Why?
5. To which nationality do you belong? To which would you like
to belong? Why?
VI. The state
1. Why do militiamen stand in the streets? Who set them out
there? If somebody rides in a streetcar and jumps off when it is
moving, a militiaman charges him I rouble-why does he do
that? Who permitted him to take money from people) Can
one not listen to him and not give him money? What will he
do then? Why? Will he be right, or not? Why?
2. What do the Red Army soldiers do? How did they become
soldiers? For what purpose does the Red Army exist? Who
organized it? Who gives money for it? Do all people become
soldiers? If one does not want to be a soldier, can he not go to
serve in the Red Army, or not? Why? Could the Army not
exist? Why (If 'yes' then: When will that happen? What must
be done for that?).
3. Do you know what the court is? What is done in court? For
what reasons are people tried? Who made up courts? Why) Is
it possible to live without courts? What is a prison? Who, and
for what, is sent to prison?
4. Do you know what laws are? Who makes laws? For what) Do
all people have to follow laws? Can one not follow them)
5. What are the Soviets? What is done in the Soviets? How are
Soviets made up? Who works in the Soviets? Have the Soviets
always existed? If 'no' then: When were they not present and
why? Are there Soviets like ours in other countries? If 'no,
Why not? Will there be some time? When?
6. What is the name of our country? Who directs our country/
Whom do you know in our government? Why do they direct
everything, and others follow them? Can one not follow an
order from the government? Why?
7. Who has more power in our government: the bourgeoisie. the

workers, or peasants? Why do you think so? In other countries,

abroad, is it the same as in ours or different? Why?


Morality and law

1. Have you ever been punished? Who did it? For

Were they right to punish you? Why? Do other
punished? Who do? For what? How? Is it right
punished? Why? Are adults punished? Who are?
that right? Why?

what? How?
children get
that they get
For what? Is

2. May one lie? Why do you think so? Should one always tell the
truth? If your comrade in class did something
wrong (e.g.,
spoiled a thing), would you tell your teacher about it? Why? (If
'no' then: But what if the teacher asks you who did it-what
will you say then? Why?)
3. May one take flnother's things without permission
May one take communal
(public) property
without permission? Why? But if another person has many of such things
and he has no need for those, may one take (steal) them
without permission?
Why? If one person has much bread and
the other none at all and is starving-may
he steal bread from
the first? Is it good to do so or not? Why? During the
revolution the workers took faccories from the bourgeoisiedid they act properly doing so? Why?
4. May one kill people? Why? Is it prohibited to kill any people?
(If not all: Who can be killed? Who may kill them?). May you
kill a person? (If 'no': But if you were a soldier in war, could you
kill or not? Would you act properly if you killed a person
during war? Why?). Can the court order the killing of a
person? (If 'no': Why?; if 'yes': When can it do so? Is that
good, or not? Why?)
5. Are people always put to prison for bad deeds? Can one be
sent to prison for a good deed? (If 'yes': Who can? For what
good deed?). Are communists these days sent to prison or not?
Why? Is it well done that they are not imprisoned? But before
the Revolution, under the czar, were they sent to prison or
not? Why? Was it well done that they were imprisoned?
'not well done' then: Who did it then in such a bad way? Why
were they not sent to prison?). In our country, communists are
not now imprisoned,
but how is it in other countries? Why?
Do they act in a good way abroad? Why do you think so?

activity 53
theory of (Leontiev) 216-22
involuntary, 150
voluntary, 150
conditional-genetic 130
into elements
'differential' 174-6
'real' 174-6
and synthesis 178
into units (minimal gestalts)
130, 173-9
aromorphosis 47
behaviourism 85-6
integration with cognitive/affective study, 169, 179,
overcoming of 88-9
Bekhterev's 'principles'
of continuous change 57-8
differentiation 59
of evolution 58-9
of historical sequence 59
'biogenetic law', the (Haeckel)
drawings 53, 197,321
in early Soviet Union 68-71
homeless 69-70, 260-1
play :48-9, 169, 180, 199,
religiosity 256-9

understanding of social
phenomena, 254, 260-4,
cognition 207-8
'actional' (Basov) 172
and action 146-7,208-12,
cultural dependence of 293, 298,
formation of 212-16
world views 253-4, 264-6
and interaction 248-51
moral 223-6
Piagetian studies 222-3
definition 270-1
organization of 275-7
reflexological approaches to,
complexity 130, 182-3
consciousness 106-7, 109-10,
degeneration 47
active construction of 132, 137,
concept of 14, 115-16
conditional nature of 132
constraints in understanding of
logical 13-15
encification 15-16
homogenization 16-17
dialectical thinking about 17-18,