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The social genesis of higher mental functions

If, therefore, a sign organization is the most important distinguishing feature of all higher mental functions, then it is natural that the first question facing the theory of higher functions is the question of the origin of this type of organization.

While traditional psychology looked for the origin of symbolic activity in the series of “discoveries” or other intellectual operations of a child, in the processes of formation of ordinary conditional connections, seeing in them only the product of invention or a complicated form of habit, we are led by the whole course of our research to highlight independent history of iconic processes that form a special line in the general history of the child's mental development.

In this story, they find their subordinate place and the diverse forms of skills associated with the full functioning of any sign system, and the complex thinking processes necessary for the rational use of these skills. But both those and others not only cannot give an exhaustive explanation of the origin of higher functions, but they themselves receive an explanation only in a wider connection with those processes, of which they constitute the official part. The process of the origin of operations associated with the use of signs, not only can not be derived from the formation of habits or inventions, but in general is a category that cannot be inferred while remaining within the limits of individual psychology. By its very nature, it is part of the history of the social formation of the personality of the child, and it is only within this whole that the laws governing it can be revealed. Human behavior is a product of the development of a wider system than just the system of its individual functions, namely the system of social connections and relations, collective forms of behavior and social cooperation.

The social nature of any higher mental function has so far escaped the attention of researchers, who never imagined the development of logical memory or arbitrary activity as part of a child’s social formation, because in its biological beginning and at the end of mental development this function acts as an individual function; and only genetic analysis reveals the path that connects the starting and ending points.
The analysis shows that any higher mental function used to be a peculiar form of psychological cooperation and only later turned into an individual way of behavior, transferring the structure that, during transfer, retains all the main features of the symbolic structure, changing only its own situation.

Thus, the sign initially appears in the child’s behavior as a means of social connection, as an interpsychic function; then becoming a means of mastering his own behavior, he only transfers the social relation to the subject inside the personality. The most important and fundamental of the genetic laws to which the study of higher mental functions leads us, says that any symbolic activity of a child was once a social form of cooperation and preserves the social mode of functioning to the highest points of its development. The history of higher mental functions is revealed here as the history of the transformation of the means of social behavior into the means of individual psychological organization.
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The social genesis of higher mental functions

  1. Genesis of higher mental functions
    The third plan of our research is closest to the historical method of considering higher forms of behavior adopted by us. Analysis and structure of higher mental processes lead us close to clarifying the basic question of the entire history of a child’s cultural development, to clarifying the genesis of higher forms of behavior, that is, the origin and development of those mental forms that make up
  2. The problem of the development of higher mental functions
    The history of the development of higher mental functions is a completely unexplored area of ​​psychology. Despite the tremendous importance of studying the processes of development of higher mental functions for the correct understanding and understanding of all aspects of the child’s personality, the limits of this area have not been clearly outlined, methodologically or
  3. The origin and development of higher mental functions
    The foundation of modern domestic age psychology is the formulated by L.S. Vygotsky (1896-1934) fundamental ideas and the system of basic concepts. In the 1920–1930s he developed the foundations of the cultural - historical theory of the development of the psyche. Although Vygotsky did not have time to create a complete theory, but a general understanding of mental development in childhood, contained in the writings of a scientist,
  4. Method of studying higher mental functions
    The technique of the modern psychological experiment is closely tied to the general fundamental questions of psychological theory and, in the final analysis, has always been only a reflection of how the most important problems of psychology were solved. That is why the criticism of the basic views on the nature and development of mental processes inevitably should lead to a revision of the main points,
  5. Basic rules for the development of higher mental functions
    The general provisions underlying the historical theory of higher mental functions developed by us allow us to draw some conclusions related to the most important rules that govern the development process we are interested in. 1. The history of the development of each of the higher mental functions is not a direct continuation and further improvement of the corresponding elementary function, but
  6. The problem of the sign in the formation of higher mental functions
    The collected materials lead us to psychological positions, the significance of which goes far beyond the limits of analyzing a narrow and specific group of phenomena, which until now has been the main subject of our study. The functional, structural, and genetic patterns that are found in the study of evidence are, upon closer examination, of more general patterns and
  7. The problem of development and decay of higher mental functions
    The problem of higher mental functions is the central problem of all human psychology. In modern psychology, even the basic theoretical principles on which human psychology must be built as a system are still insufficiently highlighted, and the development of the problem of higher mental functions should be central to solving this problem. In modern foreign psychology
  8. The structure of higher mental functions
    The concept of psychological analysis that we sought to develop in the previous chapter leads us to a new understanding of the mental process as a whole and its nature. The most significant change that has occurred recently in psychology is to replace the analytical approach to the mental process with a holistic, or structural, approach. Most influential
  9. Analysis of Higher Mental Functions
    We have already said that the first and main form of our research is the analysis of higher forms of behavior; but the situation in modern psychology is such that, before approaching the analysis of problems, we face the problem of analysis itself. In modern psychology, as a result of a crisis affecting its very foundation, we are changing its methodological foundations before our very eyes. In this regard, in
  10. Arbitrary structure of higher mental functions
    Subjecting further analysis to the mental operation of practical intelligence associated with the use of tools, we see that the temporary field created for action through speech extends not only backwards but also forward. Anticipating the subsequent moments of the operation in symbolic form allows for the inclusion of special incentives in a cash operation, the task of which is to
    Sensory development. At the early school age, the child continued to master sensory standards, painted, learned to perceive not only illustrative educational material, but also reproductions of paintings, and sometimes came on a tour of the museum. Organized and accompanied by the explanations of the teacher or guide, the display of works of art was intended to involve children in the perception of art. However it was
  12. The function of signs in the development of higher mental processes
    We examined a segment of a child’s complex behavior and concluded that in a situation involving the use of a tool, the behavior of a small child is fundamentally different from that of a humanoid monkey. We could say that in many respects it is characterized by the opposite structure and that instead of the complete dependence of the operation with the instruments on the structure of the visual field (
  15. The history of the development of higher mental functions
    The history of the development of higher mental
  16. Thesis for the degree

    Candidate of Medical Sciences. The state of higher mental functions in chronic intoxication with inorganic phosphorus compounds, 1999
    Introduction Chapter I. Review of the literature. Chapter II Materials, methods and scope of research. Chapter III. Assessment of the nervous system in chronic patients. intoxication with inorganic phosphorus compounds. Chapter IV The results of neuropsychological studies in chronic intoxication with inorganic phosphorus compounds. Conclusion Findings. Practical recommendations. List
    Methods for the study of higher cortical functions are described in detail in the relevant courses (psychology, childhood psychopathology). We will only point out that in the study of the neuro-logical status, gnosis, praxis, speech, memory, thinking are investigated. The necessary information about the mental state of children is obtained during the observation of their mimicry, manner of play, behavior in the new environment, etc.
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