Kharkov School of Psychology

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Kharkov School of Psychology (Харьковская психологическая школа) is a tradition of developmental psychological research conducted in the paradigm of Lev Vygotsky's "sociocultural theory of mind" and Leontiev's psychological activity theory.

Kharkov group: Leont'ev and the beginning of the school

The school was founded by its leader Alexei Leont'ev who moved from Moscow to Kharkov, the capital of the Soviet Ukraine at that time. The core of the group was formed by Leont'ev and his Moscow colleagues, Zaporozhets and Bozhovich, along with a group of such local researchers as Gal'perin, Asnin, P. Zinchenko, Lukov, Khomenko, Kontsevaya, Rozenblyum, etc. The group conducted a wide range of psychological studies on concept formation in children, voluntary and involuntary memory, development of visual-operational thinking, voluntary behaviour, and reasoning, the role of orientation in thought and activity, etc. that laid the foundation for the psychological theory of activity.

P. I. Zinchenko and the Kharkov school of developmental psychology

In the postwar period, the scientific work of the school developed under informal leadership of Pyotr Zinchenko in the field of the psychology of memory. The major achievement of the school is the systematic analysis of the phenomenon of involuntary memory from the standpoint of the activity approach in psychology. Soviet studies of involuntary memory carried out by the representatives of the Kharkov school influenced psychological research both nationally and worldwide (e.g., memory research by A. Brown, Murphy, Meacham, Sophian, Hagen, etc.).

The information processing or engineering psychology approach to memory and cognition was developed in the research by Zinchenko, Bocharova, Nevel'skii, Repkina. On the other hand, research on the role of involuntary memory in education and memory in thinking and personality development was conducted by Sereda, Ivanova, and associates.

Another major area of research is the theory and practice of developmental teaching (or the system of El'konin-Davydov) associated with such representatives of the Kharkov school as Repkin, Bodanskii, Dusavitskii.

Selected publications of the school

  • See publications in special editions of --
    • Soviet psychology, 1979-1980, 18 (2) (early period, 1930-40s: Zaporozhets, Asnin, Khomenko, Lukov, Bozhovich, Zinchenko, Gal'perin),
    • Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 1994, 32 (2) (postwar period, (1950-90s: Sereda, Ivanova), and
    • Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 2003, 41 (5) (developmental teaching in Kharkov, 1960-1990s: Repkin, Dusavitskii) as well as --

Prewar period (1932-1940s)

  • Asnin, V. I. (1941/1979-1980). The development of visual-operational thinking in children. Soviet psychology, 18(2), 23-36.
  • Asnin, V. I. (1941/1981). The conditions of reliability of a psychological experiment. Soviet Psychology, 1981, 19(2), 80-9
  • Leontiev, A. N. & Asnin, V. I. (1932-1933/2005). Transference of Action as a Function of Intellect: A Study of the Intellectual Activity of the Child Using a Variable Problem Box. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 43(4), July–August 2005, pp. 29–33.
  • Leont'ev, A. N. (1935/1983). Ovladenie uchschimisya nauchnymi ponyatiyami kak problema psikhologii (Овладение учащимися научными понятиями как проблема педагогичекой психологии) (in Russian).
  • Leont'ev, A. N. (1947/1978). Psixologicheskie voprosy soznatel'nosti ucheniya [Psychological issues of the consciousness of learning]. -- In English in Activity, Consciousness, and Personality, 1978.
  • Lukov, G. D. (1937). Ob osoznanii rebenkom rechl v protsesse igry |To child's realization of language in the course of play]. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Leningrad.
  • Zaporozhets, A. V. (1939/1986). Rol' elementov praktiki i rechi v razvitii myshleniya u detej (Роль элементов практики и речи в развитии мышления у детей) (in Russian).
  • Zaporozhets, A. V. (1941/2002). Thought and activity in children. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 40(4), 18-29.
  • Zaporozhets, A. V., & Lukov, U. D. (sic! - correct: Lukov, G. D.) (1941/2002). The Development of Reasoning in Young Children. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 40(4), 30-46.
  • Zinchenko, P. I. (1939/1983-84). The problem of involuntary memory. Soviet Psychology XXII, 55-111.

Postwar and modern period (1950s-2000s)

  • Asnin, V. I. (1956). O nauchnoj rabote kollektiva psixologov Khar'kovskogo gosudarstvenno pedagogicheskogo instituta. Voprosy psikhologii, 1956, #3, с. 113-114
  • Zinchenko, P. I. (1961). Neproizvol'noe zapominanie [Involuntary memory] (in Russian). Moscow: APN RSFSR. -- Chapter 4 (pp. 172-207) is published in English as --
  • Zinchenko, P. I. (1981). Involuntary memory. In J.V. Wertsch (ed.) The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology (pp. 300–340). Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, Inc.
  • Bocharova, S. P. (1978). Problemy psikhologii pamyati v trudakh P. I. Zinchenko [Problems of the psychology of memory in the works of P. I. Zinchenko]. Voprosy psikhologii, 1978, #5. -- In English in Soviet Psychology, 1979, Summer, 17(4), 104-113.
  • Sereda, G. K. (1984). O znachenii nauchnogo vklada P. I. Zinchenko v razvitie psikhologii pamyati [The significace of P. I. Zinchenko's contribution to the development of the psychology of memory (On his 80th birthday)]. Voprosy psikhologii, 1984, #6. -- In English in Soviet Psychology, 1994, 32(2), 23-32
  • Ivanova, E. F. & Nevoyennaya E.A. (1998). The historical evolution of mnemonic processes. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 36 (3), May-June, 1998, p.60-77.
  • Ivanova, E. F. (2000). The development of voluntary behaviour in preschoolers. Repetition of Z. M. Manuilenko's experiments. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 38 (2), March-April, 2000, p.7-21.

Influences on memory research in the West

  • Meacham, J. A. (1972). The development of memory abilities in the individual and society. Human Development, 15, 205-228. Reprinted in J. G. Seamon (Ed.), Recent contributions in memory and cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. Pp. 415-430.
  • Meacham, J.A. (1977). Soviet investigations of memory development. In R.V. Kail & J.W. Hagen (Eds.), Perspective on the Development of Memory and Cognition (Vol. 9, pp. 273–295). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Murphy, M. D., & Brown, A. L. (1975). Incidental learning in preschool children as a function of level of cognitive analysis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 19 (3), 509-523.
  • Sophian, C., & Hagen, J. W. (1978). Involuntary memory and the development of retrieval skills in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 26, 458-471.
  • Brown, A.L. (1979). Theories of memory and the problems of development: Activity, growth, and knowledge. In L.S. Cermak & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of Processing in Human Memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Naus, M. J. & Halasz, F. (1979). Developmental perspectives on cognitive processing and semantic memory structure. In L.S. Cermak & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of Processing in Human Memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Hagen, J. W. (1979). Development and models of memory: comments on the papers by Brown and Naus and Halasz. In L.S. Cermak & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Levels of Processing in Human Memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

External sources

  • Cole, M. (1980). Introduction: The Kharkov school of developmental psychology. In Soviet psychology, 18, 2.
  • Cole, M. (1994). Introduction. In Soviet psychology, 32, 2.
  • Leont'ev, A. N. (1986). Problema deyatel'nosti v istorii sovetskoj psixologii (Проблема деятельности в истории советской психологии) [The problem of activity in the history of Soviet psychology]. In Voprosy psikhologii, 1986, #4 (in Russian)
  • Kharkiv State University Department of psychology website [1].