The scientific school of S.L.Rubinstein

About the scientific school of S.L.Rubinstein
Sergey Leonidovich Rubinstein
On philosophy and the philosopher (Chapter 1)
On philosophy and the philosopher (Chapter 2)
Being and consciousness
On thinking and ways to research it.
Thinking process and laws of analysis, synthesis and generalization
Fundamentals of psychology

About the scientific school of S.L.Rubinstein

The founder of school an eminent psychologist and philosopher of our country Sergey Leonidovich Rubinstein (1889-1960), the first corresponding member of AS USSR (1943) among soviet psychologists.

The main life points of S.L.Rubinstein

He studied in Germany (1909-1913) in the universities of Freiberg, Berlin and Marburg. In 1913 he defended thesis for a Doctors degree Eine Studie zum Problem der Method. From 1919 the senior lecturer, from 1921 the professor of the department of philosophy and psychology in Novorossiysk university (in Odessa). From 1922 to 1930 he was the director of Odessa Scientific library. From 1930 to 1942 the head of the department of psychology in A.I.Gertzen Leningrad state pedagogical institute.

For his work The principles of general psychology (1940) S.L.Rubinstein was awarded Stalin Prize (1942).

In 1942 Rubinstein organized psychological department in M.V.Lomonosov MSU and headed it up to 1949. From 1942 to 1945 he was also the director of the Institute of psychology APS RSFSR.

The beginning of academic psychology must be dated from 1945 when Sergey Leonidovich Rubinstein organized and headed the Section of psychology in the Institute of philosophy AS USSR. He headed this section up to 1949 and then from 1956 to 1960.

S.L.Rubinstein is the founder of activity approach in psychology and pedagogy (1922) which he called as the principle of creative spontaneous activity (1922) and then the principle of unity of consciousness and activity (the term activity approach appeared after S.L.Rubinsteins death).

The principle of unity of consciousness and activity means that consciousness is included into the context of vital personality relations with objective world. It is activity that forms the basis of these relations. By means of this activity a person by changing the world is changed himself.  

The works

  • ( ), 1922. ( , 1986, 4) - The principle of creative spontaneous activity (to philosophical principles of contemporary pedagogy), 1922. (It was published in the journal The questions of psychology, 1986, 4).
  • , 1934. - The problems of psychology in the works of Carl Marx, 1934.
  • , 1935. - The principles of psychology, 1935.
  • , 1940. - The principles of general psychology, 1940.
  • , 1957. - Social being and consciousness, 1957.
  • ( , 1973, 1976) - Man and the world (published in The problems of general psychology, 1973, 1976).
  • . ., 1958. - On thinking and ways of its investigation, 1958
  • . ., 1959 - The principles and ways of development of psychology, 1959.
  • , / . . ., 1960. - The process of thinking and appropriateness of analysis, synthesis and general conclusion/ edited by Rubinstein, 1960.

The disciples

  • Abulkhanova (Slavskaya) Ksenia Alexandrovna (born 1932)
  • Brushlinskiy Andrey Vladimirovich (1933-2002)
  • Bogoyavlenskaya Diana Borisovna (born 1932)
  • Budilova Elena Alexandrovna (1909-1991)

Sergey Leonidovich Rubinstein

Sergei Rubinstein, a world-famous psychologist and philosopher, discovered fundamentally new and highly promising trends in the development of psychological science and philosophy. It was he who originated the most profoundly developed philosophical-psychological activity theory in the 20th century. Proposed by him in the 1910s-20s, this subjective activity concept is to this day being further developed by some of his disciples and followers. He authored USSR's first original ontology and philosophical anthropology on the basis of which he developed in a fundamentally new way the theories of person, freedom, subject and object, the subjective, the ideal and the objective, the psychic and the physiological.

On the basis of his holistic concept, Sergei Rubinstein created innovative psychological theories of personality, thinking as an activity and as a process, emotions, memory, speech, etc. All of this he did in the light of the general philosophical principle of determinism; external causes act via internal conditions that constitute the foundation of development.

He was the first Russian psychologist to receive the State Prize (in 1942) and was elected to the Academy of Sciences (in 1943 as a corresponding member); in 1942 he founded the faculty (and later the department) of psychology at Moscow State University; in 1945 he created the first psychology laboratory at the Academy of Sciences (Psychology Sector at the Philosophy Institute). Rubinstein also authored the first, and so far Russia's only, monographic psychology course book for universities ("Fundamentals of General Psychology", 1940, 1946, 1989, 1998).

In 1948-53, he was officially denounced as the first and foremost cosmopolitan (anti-patriot) in psychology and stripped of all his positions. It was only after Stalin's death that his rights were gradually restored. In 1956, Rubinstein was reappointed chairman of the Psychology Sector at the Philosophy Institute. Yet he was never permitted to chair the psychology faculty and department at Moscow State University again.

Sergei Rubinstein left a school of disciples and followers who continue to develop his theories.

On philosophy and the philosopher (Chapter 1)

The philosopher's significance and originality are manifested when his thought enters the world, and being responds to it by revealing its new, heretofore concealed, traits of utmost significance...

The philosopher causes the strings of his essence to vibrate. Resonating, they cause the symphony of being to produce its purest sounds. His philosophizing does not mean that he intuits being subjectively only as he sees it, not how it really is. This means that when he intuits being, being manifests itself more fully... and the philosopher sees it in all of its true perfection.

Cognition is not a reflection on, or a copy of, being, but only its creative perception. Cognition of being is something new which reveals what is hidden...

Some philosophers have more individuality but lack the capability for objectivation..., others possess objectivation and a scientific approach, but they have shut out the problems of life, the pulse of the big heart the pulse of life, which is why they lack individuality. Only combination of the one and the other can produce realization of the genuine and the great. Such cognition must embody all experiences, all secrets, all aspirations of the big heart, absorbing the entire charge of its spiritual energy and thus enabling the philosopher to accomplish objectivation.

The philosopher's originality. Hildebrandt writes that, despite all the materialists, the world is not an amorphous mass. Instead, the endless plasticity of its organization responds to each demand with a certain function.

Merely with his existence in the world a world that does not stand still but is in a state of constant evolution and a tension weighing on itself the philosopher elicits the very secrets and what is most important in being. The significance of the philosopher is in that being in its attitude, its reaction to the philosopher reveals for the first time its typical, not random, aspects. Each new factor introduced into being forces being to determine its attitude toward this factor... Despite all the materialists, the entire world is not a homogenous mass, but a plastic organism.

I want to perceive the very truth, I want to perceive the very goodness, I want to see God himself God himself and not some go-between, a go-between who, while stepping in to connect me with Him, in fact separates us, me from Him. I seek the truth and goodness, and not their apparition, reflection through another person. I want to perceive the very truth, the very goodness, God himself, which is why I must perceive them on my own. It is my calling, the calling of my life, my soul, my fate, and nobody else can do this for me. I will not tolerate any go-betweens. I must find God himself, and that is why I must find Him on my own.

The heavier the burden of wisdom the greater should be the force of thought in order to lift it. A child at the age of questions when the inquisitive mind wakes up and tries to fathom the phenomena of a yet undiscovered world speaks more clearly and obviously about the fact that man is truly a thinker, than do many a scientist. Still, wisdom is wonderful only where its not merely a powerless old man's reflection from the outside an outsider's perspective on life in a suspended state, a life that passes him by. Wisdom is wonderful only when it is passion and action, only when it is life itself.

You will never see me as a self-seeker. I do not intend to chase happiness or success. Let happiness chase me if it wishes to, I do not pursue it. No! You cannot perceive happiness shallowly as joy and wellbeing of success. Life itself should be happiness, or rather jubilant happiness, because it is the aspiration and achievement, because it is a struggle for a great objective, for the right cause, and the victory in this struggle.

I am prepared for an austere and lonely life. In fact, such life will not be austere or lonely for me. For I do not live in Dulbulti or Moscow, but in the Universe in its spaces, distances, and prospects of the entire Universe, with the force and completeness of its abiding, eternal and majestic life. It is spacious and bright for my soul.

You always feel especially good in life when you find yourself in an absolutely strange place like I did today. When you are in Dubulti or Mayori, you are merely in Dubulti or Mayori. Even when you are in Moscow, you are still only in Moscow. But when you are in an unknown place, on an unknown path running along an unknown bank you are somewhere in the Universe, and you live and breathe a boundless life.

Yet the Universe without man is emptiness! Only unity with mankind makes you man.

To really understand man and interpersonal relations in order to perfect them is the most humane and wonderful of all goals. Man must constantly remember that with his entire life and each deed he is drawing an image of himself in the hearts of people. Had he remembered this, he would have lived differently. But you must not forget:

Love for an abstract mankind that is above and beyond living people who surround you is the worst enemy of truly living humanly love for people, the best disguise for heartlessness and indifference to them.

We must love mankind in the people with whom we share life. In them we must love mankind the way it is and the way it will be, the way it is becoming and the way we have to make it.

"God" is a subject elevated and deified by people and at the same time an object of such love taken to perfection. Malice of all sorts always stems from impotence, from one's own insignificance, and nothing else. Malice among people stems from impotence, from a certain internal inferiority and weakness. Curing them requires empowering such people with real inner power the ability to do good to people. Having a noble soul requires having strength. Strength of the spirit produces both courage and nobility of the soul. When you feel really strong within, you feel so much more tenderness toward people. The more power and external force a person has, the more destructive is the absence of an internal strength, a spiritual strength of the soul that makes a person noble (notably, it is mainly spiritual strength of the soul, not merely and not so much intellectual strength).

Love is the ultimate. Instead of philosophizing, we must love and do the deeds of love that is what we must do. Yes, love is the ultimate, but love is also a feeling. And any feeling is intensity, as though an embrace in which we are also enfolded. This intensity is like a charge that will discharge in action, in life, and it will discharge with what it had been charged with. Yet what we enfold in the intensity of our feeling and what we must include into it this is a question love does not answer, even though it contains the answer. Each our step and deed in the tense atmosphere of life is a discharge of potentiated forces, each act of life is a judgment about the nature of being and the truth of God. In acting and living, each person in passing records in the book of the world his own confession and his own religion.

I seem to be a scholar whose main occupation is scholarly work. But truth be told, I always think and feel this: to live honorably, to live so that, looking at you, the person next to you would have an easier and better life this is something incomparably better and greater than writing scholarly books. What really matters is not erudition and not even intelligence, but wisdom and thought applied to life, a thought that constantly works on life, penetrating and perceiving it, a thought that knows and teaches how to live right.

Asceticism is wonderful, much like is love and passion. Yet asceticism is wonderful when the soul is not mortified and dried up, but blazing and ardent. Asceticism is wonderful when it is passion. Asceticism is a fervency protecting a love of something endlessly great and precious from loves that are petty and small. Only he who is ablaze with love can be truly an ascetic. Asceticism is the virtue of the enamored.

The question of man's capabilities, when asked for real, is not merely a question of man's suitability for one profession or other, or for any professions. The question of man's capabilities is immeasurably broader. The question of man's capabilities is immeasurably deeper. The question as to what man is capable of is a question about man himself, his nature, his abilities, his future a question of who he is and who he can become. Man is capable not only of making machines and milking cows, man is capable not only of grasping the mysteries of other techniques or writing scholarly books. Man, the way he is and the way he will be, the way he is becoming, is the crown and ornament of the Universe. Man is capable of living such a simple albeit majestic life, such a truly wonderful human life as to make all life around him bright and filled with joy.

On philosophy and the philosopher (Chapter 2)

In the nature's lap, a primeval peace descended on my soul and with it came clarity of wisdom.

Peace in my soul is not a feeling of someone who retired, left life and its fruits; it is but the end of perturbation of feelings and conservation of strength for new undertakings, for a courageous and truthful life. It is time: time has come for wisdom and for work. It is time to chalk up the results. May this time be not a time of vegetation and recumbence for me, but a time of utmost exertion needed to complete my works. It is time to muster all thoughts and all strength and dedicate them to the completion and justification of my life. I cannot live my life just for the sake of living, and I cannot leave this life with just about anything. For a person, only completion of life is real and not death. The point is that after death you cannot change anything or make up for lost time: life is a responsibility! To live with this understanding of life and death means to live in eternity and perceive your friends from the perspective of eternity. Completion of life...

After these two treatises with I must complete on thinking and on general problems of gnoseology I must as soon as possible so that the main thing does not end up uncompleted, yet without rushing, so it comes out mature write, without fail, a book not a scholarly book, but a book that is simple, humane and understandable to everyone the book of my heart about man, about life, about human relations, a book about human happiness, a book what is incomparably more important about the great inner motions. A true person is a transformer of life, a thinker, and a musician not one or the other, not one before the other or a third, but all of these things taken together, one within another. A true thinker is largely a man of one supreme thought.

I listened to Carmen, enjoying with all fibers of my soul the passionate music of Bizet, and thinking, thinking passionately.

Yes, may she live so vehement, wayward, merciless as long as she is genuine, true, even if hurting my own heart; strong and generous, it does not love itself, but the beauty and fascination of life. One and the same force of life, force of genuine passion, beyond compare in its feeling of love, Carmen is like a similarly passionate, irrefutable surge of my thought. There is nothing more wonderful in life, and it is truly wonderful in only one thing the fact that in an unbridled flight life carries the indelible stamp of this genuineness. Of late, I have the thought of my impending end clear before my eyes. There is only one result my life has become filled with great and wonderful concealed pathetics. There are two wonderful periods in life when one is the most person one can be the first is the bloom of early youth; the second is the period of completion of life with its concealed pathetics.

The forms of evil are ever changing, but the evil remains; the ways to cripple humans change, but the crippling remains. In struggling against the injustice of their time, each generation believes that the next generation will live in the promised land; in reality, every next generation faces injustices of its own even if they are lesser in scope, they instead tend to be more subtle. They have to be rooted out. I would like, if I dare, to dedicate this book to two genuine persons who have been my unchangeable source of courage and strength in difficult moments of life Spinoza and Beethoven. It was born in a difficult time as a fruit of courage and strength inspired by their example.

Man is "the echo and mirror of the Universe". Yet the Universe is not only things, not only bodies, even if astronomical; the Universe is not only the star-lit sky above my head; it is also the people around me: I am the echo and mirror of mankind! It is in the continuous interaction with other people, in which my entire life passes, that my and their consciousness is formed. My consciousness is a form of their existence, much like their consciousness is a form of my existence. Love in the depth of its spiritual depths is the need to exist fundamentally for others, to pass into another form of one's existence, to feel how another person becomes a form of our existence. This is when I have again broken through everything imposed on me by the whimsical and vain course of life, and into my native expanses of philosophical thought. And this happiness, this completing, final period of my life has returned me again completely to the ardent, passionate thoughts of my youth.

Departing from life, I must part with the world in the good way I must leave something good for people as a parting gift. Death is always significant. It is something irreversible. You cannot change or correct anything. It is something final, something altogether serious. People normally see death as evidence of the frailty of life: for me it primarily speaks of its significance... Life is associated with all capabilities of a person, all aspirations, and pursuit of accomplishment. With the end of life everything ends. When life is over, nothing is left. Life is equally significant and irreversible as death. It is also for real. Lived once, it will never repeat again. What a scene it was! At the center is a dead man with a puffy, waxy face as if life had never touched it. He is surrounded by similarly hideous old bodies moribund flesh that is ready for death, for decay. In them you cannot see a reflection of life, spirit, feeling; even sorrow can hardly break through these obese bodies. Among all this carrion is this young lady, a girl, almost a child. What force and genuineness of grief, sorrow, and feeling! Her tears, her perhaps short-lived sorrow evoked in me more compassion than the fading life of the person she was mourning. I felt like approaching her, stroking her bowed head, kissing her tiny fist with which she wiped tears flowing from her eyes. Instead of mourning the dead, we must protect from grief, guard and cherish the tender saplings of new life.

I would like to die blessing life. I am 66 years old. It is high time I became filled with compassion for the old, shared in their worries and interests; but I still have my face turned toward youth, and its sorrows still affect me more than feebleness of the old. How unfathomably great is the inexhaustible living force in the human soul of mine! The tremulous, passionate, restless heart of mine you are still lighting up time and again, beating and quivering. Seemingly, you will never experience indifference, prudence, and cold calm. You and dead flesh are incompatible either you or it. As long as you live, you must burn, quiver, dream, light up, and suffer.

My duty is clear. It brooks no delay. Procrastination would be a crime. To complete my life, I must create three books before I finish and leave. My first work is already nearing completion. Today I make a solemn pledge: to devote all blood of my heart, all flame of my life, all strength of my spirit to completing the third, final book my favorite, about truth, about good, about ethics, about man. It carries the essence and justification of my life. Over the year that is drawing to a close I have created a book that, maybe, to some extent will justify my life as a man of science. Over this year I lost the hope, which appeared at the outset of the year, that instead of love a heartfelt friendship would enter my life, capable of simplifying my path.

Courage yet not the kind that is cold, stoic, and protecting itself from life but one that is full of strength and aspiration, life-asserting and full of magnanimity today it is at the core of my soul. I would like to dedicate my work to everything that is courageous and magnanimous in life. May it grow and expand in my soul from this day on.

April 18th, 1958. On a walk, much too long for my condition after the illness, pacing slow and deep in thought, I was visited by a thought of this book. That night was music a fabulous Van Cliburn concert.

In my life I have known a good measure of difficulties and setbacks, but overall it has been moving along an upward curve.

People who achieve their pinnacles in younger years can later use the fruits of their accomplishments during the remainder of their lives: this is their big advantage.

Those whose life follows an upward curve, where the pinnacle of their achievements is still ahead for much of their lives, are deprived of this advantage. Their life is less victorious, yet it has something elevating the unparalleled feeling of constantly moving up.

Cognition of the world as discovery of the truth, struggle (sometimes heroic) for this truth, on the one hand, and mastery of the world for the benefit of man, on the other hand, perception of beauty in nature, creation of beauty in art, courage in the struggle with nature, overcoming dangers all of this (without relating directly to the ethical, an attribute of which is the attitude of one person to another and to others) leaves the kind of spiritual wealth and nourishes the spiritual force of man, which creates the necessary precondition, basis, and inner condition for an ethical treatment of one person by another. Only a rich and strong person is good to others, because he has something to give others the question is: Wherein lies this richness and strength of the soul?

On the profile and relief of a modern person: not every significant person, all his wealth notwithstanding, has a definitive profile and relief. In the majority of cases he focuses on one thing or, in any case, not on much. Yet he can manifest his profile not via this focus on a single thing, but through the relationship between what he is preoccupied with and engrossed in with what he can still become, with something toward which his attitude is still concealed and not clear even for himself. A person's profile is manifested via the combination of his attitudes toward life as their ensemble, as their composition, as their expressiveness and coherence.

Freedom is the right to question, the need to double-check, the right to have an individual mind and an individual conscience. On the other hand are the eternal truths. Face to face with oneself the problem of self-perfection a critical analysis of how this problem was addressed throughout the lifetime. With what does a person enter this world, what does he create in it, and what does he leave behind? Answers to these questions essentially determine the coordinates of human life. However, their definitions do not cover what a person suffers in this life, what he overcomes and what he defeats. Therefore, the coordinates of a person's capabilities and actual deeds must be placed into a different dimension an entire world in which a person seeks and finds (or does not find) his place, in which he experiences impacts and suffering, in which he loses something but acquires something else in return! In fact, the latter constitutes the substance and meaning of human life.

The more developed is a person's creative seed, the less accepting he is of the place in which life has placed him, the less he takes himself for granted, the greater are his aspirations to find his place in the world, which would correspond to his singularity. Is freedom possible in our society a society of absolute totalitarianism, a society of social coercion and obliteration of any dignity a person may have? This problem has several aspects. The first and probably the most obvious and tragic is physical terror, physical extermination of man, that is, external coercion taken to the very extreme. The second is inner non-freedom and coercion. This is the most complex aspect of non-freedom: in fact, people voluntarily become unfree, depriving themselves of the freedom of individual choice, the responsibility, and the risk. It is conformism and voluntary servility. It is voluntarily going out toward coercion, making acceptance of such coercion voluntary. Finally, there are people who are acting, albeit hypocritically, in the conditions of non-freedom. On the face of it, they are those who are acting subserviently. Yet hypocrisy is simultaneously falsehood and deception. While acting in accordance with the requirements of the regime, they in fact do not recognize these requirements, that is, their consciousness and actions are going apart. Meanwhile, internally free, honest people who dissent against external coercion must either join the struggle against the regime or conceal their inner freedom.

Being and consciousness

Sergei Rubinstein "Being and Consciousness"

1st edition

Sergei Rubinstein. Being and Consciousness. On the place of the psychic in the general interconnection of the phenomena of the material world. Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 1957

This book spills light on one of the key problems of the philosophical thought the question of the nature of the psychic, consciousness and their relationship with being, with the material world. The book focuses on a number of central problems of the theory of cognition concerning the ideal and the material, the subjective and the objective, etc. In addressing a number of fundamental issues broached in this work, the central place is occupied by a dialectic-materialistic understanding of determinism. The last chapter is devoted to theoretical issues of psychology, in particular the psychology of the personality.

Chapter I. On the place of the psychic in the general interconnection of the phenomena of the material world. Statement of the problem.

Chapter II. Psychic activity and objective reality. The problem of cognition.

  1. Reflection theory.
  2. On the psychic as the ideal.
  3. On the psychic as the subjective.
  4. The process of cognition. Perception as a sensory cognition of the external world.
  5. Thinking as cognition.

Chapter III. Psychic activity and brain. The problem of determination of psychic phenomena

  1. Reflexology
  2. Psychic activity as reflexive activity of the brain
  3. Correlation between the psychic and the nervous in the reflexive activity of the brain
  4. Determination of psychic phenomena
  5. Role of psychic phenomena in the determination of behavior

Chapter IV. Psychic activity and psychic properties of man

  1. On the psychic activity and consciousness of man

a) Process, activity as the main method of existence of the psychic
b) Psychic processes and psychic formations
c) Psychic processes and regulation of activity
d) On consciousness

    2.   On psychic properties and capabilities of man
    3.   On man: the problem of personality in psychology


Topical index

2nd edition

Sergei Rubinstein. Being and Consciousness. Man and world. Moscow, St. Petersburg et al: Peter Publishing House, 2003.

Foreword and commentary by K. A. Abulkhanova, A. N. Slavskaya

Sergei Rubinstein. On thinking and ways to research it. Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1958.


Author's foreword3

Chapter I. Determinism principle and the psychological theory of thinking 5

Chapter II. On the nature of thinking and its substance.25

Chapter III. The main objective and method of psychological research of thinking...56

Chapter IV. Process of analysis via synthesis and its role in solving problems...85

Chapter V. Generalization of relations, dependence of generalization on analysis and abstraction.113

Chapter VI. Reasoning process..128


Appendix (on the process of thinking in the scientific creativity of the scientist)..143

Thinking process and laws of analysis, synthesis and generalization

Sergei Rubinstein (ed.)

Thinking process and laws of analysis, synthesis and generalization. (Experimental research. Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1960.)


Author's foreword..3

K. A. Slavskaya. Thinking process and use of knowledge..................5

I. M. Zhukova. Role of analysis and generalization in cognitive activity....49

L. I. Antsyferova. Role of analysis in the cognition of cause-and-effect relations.102

A. M. Matiushkin. Analysis and generalization of relations................122

N. S. Mansurov. Dependence of the solution on the wording and

illustration of the problem158

(from the foreword):

"This book presents a publication of the first series of studies on thinking conducted in the psychology sector of the Philosophy Institute at the USSR Academy of Sciences. ... This research predominantly focuses on the study of analysis and generalization, and in particular the dependence of generalization on analysis.

The task of psychological research of thinking is to reveal inner conditions of thinking activity of man in their dependence on external conditions.

The thinking process is analysis and synthesis, abstraction and generalization. In thinking activity they are present in a multitude of forms. Inner laws of the processes of analysis and synthesis, abstraction and generalization form the core or frame of the general psychological theory of thinking.

Fundamentals of psychology

Prof. Sergei RUBINSTEIN. FUNDAMENTALS OF PSYCHOLOGY. Course book for pedagogical institutions of higher education (approved by the People's Commissariat of Education of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic). State Scientific and Pedagogical Publishing House. Moscow, 1935.




  • Chapter 1. History of psychology. Development of psychology (Emergence of psychology. Empirical psychology. Development of psychology as a science). Modern trends in psychology (Behaviorism. Gestalt psychology. Other trends in modern psychology. Soviet psychology).
  • Chapter 2. Subject matter of psychology (Definition of psychology. Psyche and psychological cognition. Consciousness and activity. Psychophysical problems. Man's consciousness as a product of historical evolution. Subject matter of psychology. Psychological theory and practical tasks).
  • Chapter 3. Methods of psychology (Tasks of psychological research. Marxist-Leninist dialectics as the guiding methods of research in psychology. Methods of psychology. Introspection. Objective observation. Questionnaire method. Experimental method. Natural experiment. Tests. Clinical interview. Comparative-genetic method).


  • Chapter  4. Problem of development in psychology.
  • Chapter 5. Development of the central nervous system. Human brain. (Main lines of development of the central nervous system. Nervous-humoral fundamentals of psyche. Study of localization).
  • Chapter 6. Psychological development and consciousness of man. Psyche of animals (Problem of instinct. Problem of habit and intellect). Consciousness of man (Human consciousness. Historical development of human consciousness. Psychological development in ontogenesis).


Introduction (Tasks of functional analysis of consciousness)

  • Chapter 7. Perception (Perception and senses). Senses (Sense and stimulation. Main problems of psychophysics. Types of senses. Sense of touch and thermal sense. Aural sense. Visual sense. Olfactory and gustatory sense. Organic sense). Perception (Integrity and structuredness of perception. Laws of structuring of perception. Orthoscopics of perception. Sensibility and objectivity of perception. Categoriality of perception. Historicity of perception). Development of perception in ontogenesis (Sensory development. Structure of child perception. Development of meaningful substance of perception. Syncretism. Problem of obviousness). Perception of space and time (Perception of space. Perception of shape. Perception of time).
  • Chapter 8. Memory. Problem of memory in psychology (Functions of memory and its organic foundation. Notions and eidetic images. Methods of memory research. Theory of memory. Reproduction. Recollection. Historical memory. Recognition. Forgetting). Development of memory in ontogenesis (Pathology of memory. Memory and learning. Learning and skills).
  • Chapter 9. Speech. Theory of speech (Speech and language. Functions of speech. Speech and thinking. Inner speech. Historical development of speech). Development of speech in ontogenesis (Emergence and first stages of development of speech. Development of the function of child speech. Problem of egocentric speech. Development of speech in school age. Pathology of speech. Speech and thinking).
  • Chapter 10. Thinking. General theory of thinking. (Problem of thinking in modern psychology. Notion of an intellectual operation. Thinking in notions. Psychology of thinking and ideology. Thinking in notions and visual contemplation. Notions. Judgment. Inference. Thinking and the structure of consciousness). Practical thinking and primitive forms of thinking (Problem of practical intellect. Autistic and prelogical thinking). Development of thinking in ontogenesis (Problem of development of child thinking. Development of thinking in notions. Development of child judgments. Development of inference. Understanding of causality and regularity by children. Development of thinking and learning. Special kinds of thinking).
  • Chapter 11. Imagination (Nature of imagination. Methods of imagination research. Development of imagination).
  • Chapter 12. Desires, needs and interests (Desires. Needs. Interests. Pedagogical conclusions).
  • Chapter 13. Emotions (Nature of emotions. Physiological foundations of emotions. Psychological theory of emotions and feelings. Development of emotions. Pedagogical conclusions).
  • Chapter 14. Attention (Nature of attention. Physiological foundations of attention. Main kinds of attention. Methods of researching them. Development of attention. Pedagogical conclusions).
  • Chapter 15. Will (Problem of will in psychology. Psychological analysis of an act of will. Pathology and psychology of will. Development of will).


  • Chapter 16. Problem of personality in psychology.
  • Chapter 17. Study of character (Problem of character. Biological conditions of the formation of character. Notion of constitution. Social foundations of the formation of character).
  • Chapter 18. Study of giftedness.
  • Chapter 19. Psychological development of personality (Personality and labor).


I. Stern, Bade and Lipman scheme.

II. Kretschmer's psychobiogram.

III. Lazursky's personality study scheme.


This book represents an attempt at building a holistic system in psychology, covering the basic experimental material and following a single methodological concept. Realization of this plan is only the first step along the path onto which Soviet psychology is only embarking <>

In structuring this work the author did not aim to impose all methods on the social psychological structure in advance. To do so would mean taking them out of context. This work follows a different line. It aims instead to permeate all specific psychological material with single methodological ideas and mostly present them not in advance but within a specific context. <>

The book has been approved by the People's Commissariat of Education as guidelines for psychology and paedology lecturers and post-graduate students. The main text of the book, other than that printed in brevier, is intended as a manual for students of specialized departments.

For a number of years this book has been defining the teaching of psychology at Gertsen Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute.

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