January 20, 2014

Mind In Society: The Development Of Higher Psychological Processes

5 out of 5 stars


Title: Mind In Society; The Development Of Higher Psychological Processes

Size: 159 pages (Octavo)

Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 14, 1980)

ISBN: (10) 0674576292 , (13) 978-0674576292

At a Glance

The Book

The book is concerned with human behaviour and what makes humans unique. This is discussed through three fundamental questions: (1) what is the relationshio betwenn humans and their environment? (2) what activities create this relationship and what are the psychological consequensex of these activities? (3) how is using tools related to speech development?

Book Construction

The book has 8 chapters; the first four chapters introduce ‘Tools and Symbol’ the fifth summarizes the major theoretical and methodological point. Together the first five chapters are entitled ‘Basic Theory and Data’, the following three chapters discuss the ‘Educational Implications’.

The Author

Lev S. Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) was a Soviet Belarusian psychologist, the founder of a theory of human cultural and biosocial development commonly referred to as cultural-historical psychology, and leader of the Vygotsky Circle.

Vygotsky was educated as a lawyer and a philologist, he became a pioneer of developmental psychology. Vygotsky is known for his Cultural-historical psychology and Zone of proximal development.

The Editors

Edited by Michael Cole and his co-workers

Michael Cole is Professor of Communication and Psychology and Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at the University of California, San Diego.

What I Took from the Book

There is quite a lot to take from this book, here are a few thoughts that I found quite interesting

On Using Tools

Vygotsky argues that the minds cannot be understood in isolation from the surrounding society. Man is the only animal who uses tools to modify his environment (inner and outer). From the simplest device imaginable to the complexities of symbolic language, society offers technology to people that can be used to shape processes of the mind.

On Talking to Tour Self

Talking to oneself as an activity is not irrelevant. Because the tranfomation from though to speech helps focus on the problem. This is why talking to one’s self can be seen as a ‘cognitive tool‘. Vygotsky proved this point with his research on how children solved problems.

On The Development of Perception or How Speech is Pivotal in Perception Development

By means of words, the child is able to perceive the world not only by vision but also through speech. As such, speech becomes an essential part of the child’s cognitive development.

Editorial Reviews

This selection of Vygotsky's important writings (most were previously unavailable in English) offers the Western reader a new appreciation of the seminal contributions of one of Russia's most influential psychologists.

Psychology Today

Vygotsky was a genius. After more than a half a century in science I am unable to name another person who even approaches his incredible analytic ability and foresight. All of my work has been no more than the working out of the psychological theory which he constructed.

A. R. Luria

This little book is an intellectual excitement; it abounds with all manner of ideas, insights, and novel formulations.

Kevin Connolly Nature

This is a landmark book, compulsory reading for students of developmental and adult cognition… Mind in Society should stimulate an awakened interest in Vygotsky as a contemporary force rather than a figure of historical interest.

Ann L. Brown Contemporary Psychology

One Final Note

Vygotsky readers might be tempted to view his ideas as historical relics, especially when viewed in the historical context of someone who was contemporary to Ivan Pavlov and John Watson of the stimulus-response theory of behaviour as well as Kohler and Lewin of the Gestalt psychology movement. But in fact, Vygotsky’s contributions offer great insights in contemporary psychology and education theory while still being interesting from an intellectual historical point of view.

This Book is extremely rewarding reading that will shake your understanding of how your brain works.

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