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Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  650 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The great Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky has long been recognized as a pioneer in developmental psychology. But somewhat ironically, his theory of development has never been well understood in the West. Mind in Society should correct much of this misunderstanding. Carefully edited by a group of outstanding Vygotsky scholars, the book presents a unique selection of Vyg ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 15th 1980 by Harvard University Press (first published 1978)
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Oct 14, 2008 Kira rated it liked it
I take in interest in Vygotsky's work primarily because he seeks to rescue experimental psychology from
a) Cartesianism/cognitivism/the "theater of the mind" on the one hand, and
b) A "naturalist" behaviorism which offers either poor explanatory power (Chomsky's classical critique of Skinner's language book), or threatens a radical irrealism if we are bold enough to extend it from a psychological methodology into a full-blown epistemology.
In other words, Cartesianism loses all grip on the social
Jan 21, 2008 Ronald rated it it was amazing
"We call the internal reconstruction of an external operation internalization. A good example of this process may be found in the development of pointing. Initially, this gesture is nothing more than an unsuccessful attempt to grasp something, a movement aimed at a certain object which designates forthcoming activity. The child attempts to grasp an object placed beyond his reach; his hands, stretched toward that object, remain poised in the air. His fingers make grasping movements. [...] When th ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Kerfe rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
We are often wrong on our way to figuring things out.

We don't learn in a steady march of additional facts. Unlike what our current education methods and evaluations would have us believe, learning does not follow a straight ever-rising line of success on a chart.

We learn by making associations: circling around the problem or situation, with sudden leaps of connection and insight.

We don't solve problems by memorizing. We make analogies; we relate this to that. This involves some trial and error--
Jan 31, 2017 Beyza rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-english
Bu kitabı değerli kılan en önemli şey bence psikolojinin sosyalist bakış açısına uygun hale nasıl getirilmeye çalışıldığını görmek. Ne zaman çevremdeki insanlarla metodolojik bir tartışmaya girsem bilginin ideolojik olduğunu inkar ettikleri için çözümsüz kalıyorum. Bu kitap farkı hissetmek için birebir. Bu sosyalist çerçevede Vygotsky günümüzde hakim olan bakış açısının çok dışında bir yöntem belirlemiş, kimi tanımlamalarda Hegel ve Spinoza'ya referans veriyor. Psikolojinin günümüzdeki halini dü ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phd-studies
“Standing a head taller” is an empowering theme that Soviet cognitive psychologist Lev S. Vygotsky mentions from time to time, and he notices this quality most with the children he observed throughout his career. In these cases, imaginative play allows a child to internalize the activities of older individuals, learning and developing in the “zone” which continues to motivate the mind throughout one’s life. Most people seem to believe this development stops at a certain age, adulthood (anywhere ...more
Mar 26, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal
A beautiful woman came up to me when I was reading this because she "loves Vygotsky." I can't predict if this book will have the same benefits for you, but I wanted to let you know it's a possibility.
Nov 04, 2007 Wildflower_girl rated it it was amazing
Vygotsky rocks. Every early childhood teacher should read at least a little of his actual work (not just what the textbooks say). I love Vygotsky!!
Mar 06, 2017 Mat rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I have ever read on psychology.

As Vygotsky's name kept appearing in texts on psycholinguistics and motivation and children's development in my TESOL course, I decided to check him out.

I didn't understand everything I read but could feel my brain trying to expand to keep up with Lev's intellect. It was fascinating stuff.

I learned the differences between 'learning' and 'development' and how they are not necessarily the same thing as well as many of the mistakes we have m
Donovan Littler
Mar 19, 2017 Donovan Littler rated it really liked it
Interesting but what's the point in reading it as opposed to other psychology books, only talks about childhood development
Feb 25, 2013 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: field-exam
Mind in Society is a heavily edited collection of Vygotsky’s work, mapping out his attempt to “develop a Marxist theory of human intellectual functioning” (1). Contrary to behaviorists and strict stimulus-response psychologists, Vygotsky sees the development of “higher psychological processes,” which he insists again and again are unique to humans, as historically produced and the result of dialectical exchange between individual and society, culture and biology. The psychological experiments ou ...more
Lawrence Linnen
Aug 07, 2012 Lawrence Linnen rated it it was amazing
Five years ago, at the urging of Vygotsky's student Alexander Luria, we agreed to edit a collection of Vygotsky's essays which would reflect the general theoretical enterprise of which the study of the relationship between thought and language was one important aspect. Luria made available to us rough translations of two of Vygotsky's works. The first, "Tool and Symbol in Children's Development" (1930), had never been published. the second was a translation of a monoghraph entitled The History o ...more
Jun 04, 2009 Craig rated it really liked it
This is some pretty steep stuff. I don't have much of a background in psychology but read this book for a grad level Theory of Learning class. I found this book hard to read because I am not familiar with many of the pscyh concepts Vygotsky discusses. It is also translated from Russian which makes me wonder what may have been lost in translation.

For each topic the author discusses and explains, he gives a thorough explanation of the theorists and schools of thought that preceded his writing. Aft
Wesley Morgan
Jul 12, 2016 Wesley Morgan rated it liked it
I am a pre-service high school teacher, and I have heard a lot about Vygotsky, especially in my classes on Second Language Acquisition (SLA). I wanted to go straight to the source in order to understand the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and other educational implications of Vygtosky's theory.

Reading the chapter on development and learning really helped me understand what the ZPD is. Now I know that we need to assess students in a way that shows us not just what they know, but what they are
Rosangela Fernandes
"Em A formação Social da Mente, Vigotski fala sobre suas teorias para o desenvolvimento cognitivo infantil, divide esse desenvolvimento em duas vertentes, uma herdada e outra desenvolvida e a importância da formação da personalidade da pessoa desde os seus primeiros anos de vida através do contato com o mundo e principalmente com o uso do brinquedo.

Aborda detalhadamente como uma criança normalmente responde a diversos estímulos no decorrer da infância, mesclando-o à toda cultura e costumes que
Feb 09, 2017 Sara rated it really liked it
The foundation of the sociocultural theory rests on Vygotsky's work. Understanding learning through the idea of mediated actions through the use of tools and signs and taking in the broader social, cultural, and historical contexts is central to the theory. I'm still working to wrap my brain around it,but I like what I've learned so far!
Jun 09, 2011 Crystal rated it really liked it
Although the editors' Marxist take on everything felt forced, the theories of Vygotsky himself still seem fresh and relevant. I have always tried to keep in mind the zone of proximal development when teaching, but this book also extends to the role of play and children's understanding in general.
One section I loved was about how children create rules for play: "...He described a case where two sisters, aged five and seven, said to each other, "Let's play sisters."...In life the child behaves w
Oct 11, 2008 Annette rated it liked it
fascinating... i imagine this would be of interest for windsor house school types. Vygotsky describes an entirely different way of approaching learning -- to learn mathematics, students are first taught to think like a mathematician: e.g. numbers are not for counting; the basic "unit" is a measure. This makes binomial equations easy (even for me!) e.g. history is not taught as isolated facts; movements are presented as contextually rich events. etc. Sometimes the stuff I have to read is actually ...more
It’s hard not to look at this as sloppy research from outdated psychology [in the introduction, Cole and Scribner remind us that “the style of experimentation in these essays represents” a difference in the understanding of an experiment (11).], but the zone of proximal development is a very important concept that I think has been supported by more recent studies. Not to give anything away, but Carroll seems to be using this when she talks about scaffolding college students’ work.
Ted Graham
Dec 29, 2014 Ted Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quintessiential read for anyone interested in childhood development. Vygotsky's principles still make a profound impact today and if you're going to try and enter into debates on the subject it is well worth reading the original (or as close as you can get without reading Russian). I found plenty of links to concepts of modern educational physchology and child developpment that are often cited (and misrepresented) to this day.
Oct 13, 2016 Michelle rated it liked it
This is a collection of translated "essays" written by the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Interesting read regarding sociocultural theories of learning. Reading can seem somewhat disconnected at times as it's a complied collection of Vygotsky's writings. But, nonetheless, still very informative.
Apr 20, 2016 Diz rated it liked it
Shelves: education, psychology
This book edits together writings by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. The first part of the book went over my head a bit, but the section on education (pp. 79-119) was very interesting. I particularly liked his ideas on the role of play in education. Play basically plays an important role in improving children' abilities.
May 14, 2009 lilly rated it really liked it
Totally weird soviet psych developmental theories from the 1920s and 30s, kernels of which have gone on to be incredibly productive and influential in educational theory, sociology, and anthropology. For advancement readings.
S. Ross
Sep 11, 2016 S. Ross rated it liked it
Lev Vygotsky is known for introducing the Zone of Proximal Development and for being an early influencer of sociocultural learning theory. This book contains a collection of his writings and is a good starting point to learn more about sociocultural learning.
E. Marvin
Apr 12, 2009 E. Marvin is currently reading it
I recently heard a lecture on Vygotsky. It prompted me to revisit his work.
Susan Striepe
Sep 12, 2013 Susan Striepe rated it it was amazing
A seminal book that alters the way one understands the learning process.
Geoff Cain
Jan 11, 2008 Geoff Cain rated it liked it
This is a great book on how the mind works, how we learn, and all things epistemic. This a short, essential selection of his work.
Nov 06, 2009 Andrea added it
I like how Vygotsky understood that there was something more to learning than just learning. He just took learning to a new level by considering development.
Scott Ford
Feb 07, 2010 Scott Ford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Another book of personal note. Human development within social context. Zone of proximal development (ZPD), and all.
Feb 05, 2012 Joy rated it it was amazing
A classic. I especially appreciated the chapter on play. Looking at play as a means to gratify a child's need is fascinating. I'll have to research this more.
Nojood Alsudairi
Feb 02, 2008 Nojood Alsudairi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the books that made me change many of my views, rarely do books have this effect on my mind.
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  • Acts of Meaning
  • How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
  • Experience and Education
  • The Psychology of the Child
  • Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky
  • The Reader, the Text, the Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work
  • Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education
  • Childhood and Society
  • Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation
  • Speech Genres and Other Late Essays
  • Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms
  • Cognition in the Wild (Bradford Books)
  • Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences
  • The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning
  • The Cultural Nature of Human Development
  • The Development of Personality (Collected Works 17)
  • A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (Russian: Лев Семёнович Выготский or Выготский, born Lev Simyonovich Vygodsky) was a Soviet developmental psychologist and the founder of cultural-historical psychology. ...more
More about Lev S. Vygotsky...

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“By giving our students practice in talking with others, we give them frames for thinking on their own.” 2 likes
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