Approach to mental development in domestic psychology - Psychology

Approach to mental development in domestic psychology

The father of domestic age psychology, LS Vygotsky, sees the source of the child's mental development in the ideal forms of being an adult, given by the surrounding social environment. According to Vygotsky, human development occurs through the interaction of real and ideal forms in the form of assimilation of the latter.

Along with determinism from above (from society), mental development has two more features that determine its uniqueness: unreformed process and the ability of the subject of development to influence his result.

Vygotsky divided all known types of development into two types:

1) preformed development. This type includes, for example, the development of a plant from grain, when already in its very bud all the properties of the future plant are contained and all the stages and metamorphoses that it has to go through are preset;

2) undeveloped development, to which the development of the Galaxy, Earth, society and child belongs. It proceeds through the growth and resolution of internal contradictions, i.e. is determined by the course of development itself, and not by the inherent genetic program.

According to Vygotsky, the child's mental development is characterized by the following features:

• unreformed, unaccounted for the course of development;

• the source of development is outside the body (determinism from society);

• the subject of development is able to influence his progress and result;

• the presence of sensitive periods for the development of each side of the child's psyche.

Mental development and activities. The concept of Elbenin DB . Agreeing with LS Vygotsky that the child's mental development is the mastery of the ideal forms of adult existence existing in a social environment, Elkonin emphasized that such development (or appropriation) occurs only in the process of the child's active activity. Activities in this case is understood in accordance with the theory of AN Leontiev and is able to generate not only cognitive structures, as in Piaget, but also the motives that shape the personality of the child. Thus, it is the child's activity that leads him to his mental development.

D. B. El'konin introduced the notion of the leading activity, specific for each age period. Empirical observations convinced him that all activities of the child can be conditionally divided into two types:

1) activity in the "child-adult" system, in which the motivationally-demanding sphere of the child's personality is formed;

2) activity in the system "child - a public object", when a child learns ways of dealing with cultural objects while developing his operational and technical capabilities.

According to DB Elkonin, during the child's development, then one or the other type of activity plays a leading role, i.e. there is an alternation of leading types of activity.


In the concept of Elkonin DB, the place and crises are given as turning points, where there is the greatest discrepancy in the level of development of the various aspects of the child's personality (need and operational). The most dramatic changes and more pronounced crises occur where the development of the person's motivational and demand side lags behind the development of its operational capabilities (for example, crises at 3 years and 11 years). It is in these cases that the social position of the child, his position in society and the attitude of society towards him should be changed more sharply.

The next step in the development of the national approach to mental development was made by DB El'konin's son - BD Elkonin. Recognizing, after Vygotsky's source of the child's mental development, the ideal forms of being an adult, BD Elkonin notes that the ideal form is never given as an entity, it is always given as a problem.

According to Vygotsky, the ideal form as an element of culture is fixed in linguistic meanings. However, "for linguistic meanings, socially developed methods (operations) of action are hidden, in the process of which people change and cognize the objective reality" (LN Leontiev). Therefore, says Boris Elkonin, frozen meaning can not be a source of mental development, for development is possible only with the disclosure of what is behind the meaning, that is, ideal human action. The ideal form is that in essence can not , but can only come true - open and appear. The discovery of the ideal form, its meeting with the form of the real is the event (or act) development. Such a meeting of real and ideal forms is possible only with the presence of an adult mediator. At the same time, the event is not an extension of any causal or the beginning of target determinations, it is not a consequence and consequence of anything. The ideal form is not due to a combination of circumstances, but in spite of it. In this sense, the event is a special transitional form of life. The problem of mediation is determined by unrelatedness, incompatibility of two positions, and the task is to find something that can bind and mutually interchange them.

The role of an adult in the mental development of a child BD Elkonin is seen primarily as the role of an intermediary in the interplay of real and ideal forms, in the disclosure of the image of a perfect action.

Mastering one's behavior by means of cultural ideal forms is the emergence of the subject of behavior. This process is not gradual, evolutionary. Here, too, there is a break in gradualness, going beyond the limits of existing being to another, ideal. The emergence of the subject of behavior occurs at the point of encounter of the real and ideal forms, in their conflict.

Continuity of ideas in the domestic cultural and historical school of mental development date a new push and experimental research of the child's mental development. Particularly fruitful was the study of KN Polivanov's crises of mental development (see § 27.3).

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