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The social genesis of higher mental functions

If, therefore, the sign organization is the most important distinguishing feature of all higher mental functions, then it is natural that the first question that arises before 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 the child, then in the processes of the formation of ordinary conditional connections, seeing in them only a product of the invention or a complicated form of habit, we brought the whole course of our research to the need to highlight an independent history of sign processes that form a special line in the overall history of the child’s mental development.

In this story, various forms of skills associated with the full functioning of any system of signs and their complex thinking processes, necessary for the wise use of these skills, find their subordinate place. But both of them can not only give an exhaustive explanation of the origin of higher functions, but they themselves get an explanation only in a wider connection with those processes, the service part of which they make up. The process of the origin of operations associated with the use of signs, not only cannot be derived from the formation of habits or inventions, but in general is a category that cannot be derived, remaining within the framework of individual psychology. By its very nature, it is part of the history of the social formation of a child’s personality, and only the laws governing it can be revealed only as part of this whole. 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 ties and relations, collective forms of behavior and social cooperation.

The social nature of any higher psychic function has so far eluded the attention of researchers, who had never thought of imagining the development of logical memory or voluntary activity as part of the 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 start and end 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 mode of behavior, transferring into the child’s psychological system the structure that, when transferred, retains all the basic features of the symbolic structure, changing only basically its situation.

Thus, the sign initially appears in the behavior of the child as a means of social communication, as an interpsychical function; becoming then a means of mastering his own behavior, he only transfers the social attitude to the subject inside the personality. The most important and fundamental of the genetic laws that the study of higher mental functions leads us to is that all symbolic activity of the child was once a social form of cooperation and preserves the social mode of functioning along the entire development path to its highest points. 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 an individual psychological organization.
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The social genesis of higher mental functions

  1. The genesis of higher mental functions
    The third plan of our study is closest to the historical method we have adopted of considering higher forms of behavior. The analysis and structure of higher mental processes lead us closely to elucidating the basic issue of the entire history of the cultural development of the child, to elucidating the genesis of higher forms of behavior, i.e., the origin and development of those mental forms that make up the subject
  2. The problem of the development of higher mental functions
    The history of the development of higher mental functions represents a completely unexplored area of ​​psychology. Despite the great importance of studying the processes of development of higher mental functions for the correct understanding and understanding of decisively all aspects of the child’s personality, the boundaries of this area have not yet been clearly outlined, nor have the methodological realization of the main problems or
  3. The origin and development of higher mental functions
    The foundation of modern Russian developmental psychology is formulated by L.S. Vygotsky (1896-1934) fundamental ideas and a system of basic concepts. In the 1920-1930s. he developed the foundations of a cultural - historical theory of the development of the psyche. Although Vygotsky did not manage to create a complete theory, the general understanding of mental development in childhood, contained in the writings of a scientist,
  4. The technique of studying higher mental functions
    The methodology of the modern psychological experiment is closely connected with general questions of principle in psychological theory and always was ultimately only a reflection of how the most important problems of psychology were solved. That is why criticism of the basic views on the essence and development of mental processes inevitably should entail a revision of the main provisions,
  5. The basic rules for the development of higher mental functions
    The general principles underlying the historical theory of higher mental functions that we are developing allow us to draw some conclusions related to the most important rules that govern the development process of interest to us. 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 analysis of a narrow and specific group of phenomena, which until now has been the main subject of our study. Functional, structural and genetic patterns that are found in the study of evidence, are upon closer examination of patterns of a more general order and
  7. The problem of the development and decay of higher mental functions
    The problem of higher mental functions is a central problem of the whole psychology of man. In modern psychology, even the basic theoretical principles on which human psychology should be built as a system have not yet been sufficiently identified, 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 strove 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 in psychology recently is the replacement of 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 are faced with the problem of analysis itself. In modern psychology, as a result of the crisis affecting its very foundation, we are witnessing a change in its methodological foundations. In this regard, in
  10. Arbitrary structure of higher mental functions
    Subjecting further analysis to the mental operation of practical intelligence related to the use of tools, we see that the time field created for action using speech extends not only backward, but also forward. Anticipation of subsequent moments of the operation in a symbolic form allows you to include special incentives in the cash operation, the task of which is to ensure that
    Sensory development. At primary school age, the child continued to master sensory standards, drew, learned to perceive not only illustrative educational material, but also reproductions of paintings, and sometimes came on an excursion to the museum. Organized and accompanied by the explanations of the teacher or the guide, the display of works of art was intended to introduce children to the perception of art. However it was
  12. The function of signs in the development of higher mental processes
    We examined a segment of the child’s complex behavior and came to the conclusion that in the situation associated with the use of tools, the behavior of a small child is significant, fundamentally different from the behavior 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 guns 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. Literature review. Chapter II Materials, methods and scope of research. Chapter III. Assessment of the state 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
    Research methods for higher cortical functions are described in detail in the corresponding courses (psychology, psychopathology of childhood). We will only indicate that in the study of neurological status, gnosis, praxis, speech, memory, thinking are examined. The necessary information about the mental state of children is obtained while observing their facial expressions, manner of playing, behavior in a new environment, etc.
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