Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes” as Want to Read:
Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  893 ratings  ·  48 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, 159 pages
Published October 15th 1980 by Harvard University Press (first published 1978)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mind in Society, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mind in Society

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  893 ratings  ·  48 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is another book I’ve gotten from the list of the 25 most quoted books in social science. Oddly, I’ve read and reviewed another of Vygotsky’s books (his ‘Thought and Language’) and that is known as his most famous book – and yet this one is his most cited. The world’s a funny place, isn’t it?

I’m just going to tell you the bits of this I found particularly interesting. The first was how important it is for children to get to play. He says that from about 3 children start to realise that they
Oct 14, 2008 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
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
He is not an easy writer to read but his theories on education and learning strike me as having commonalities with Piaget, Russell, Dewey. He was writing in the early twentieth century in Soviet Russia I really like his ideas about the Zone of proximal learning, to put it in today's words getting a little out of your comfort zone but not so far that you can't handle the novelty and become discouraged. Exploring stuff a little ways from stuff you know to expand that bubble of competence without m ...more
Nov 18, 2014 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--
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: my university classes, but then Trevor happened to read it first :-)
I’m sure someday we’ll have artificial intelligence augmentation that will read along with us, whispering in our ears about the kind of stuff it knows we’re curious about. Until then, reading an old book will remain a hit-and/or-miss affair, especially science texts. What information herein has been proven, or disproven? What is fundamentally wrong-headed, and what is only misleading because so much has since been learned?

Vygotsky probably isn’t a name most people know, but then neither is David
Jan 21, 2008 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
Mar 26, 2016 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 say if this book will have the same benefits for you, but I wanted to let you know it's a possibility.
Nov 04, 2007 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!!
Aug 26, 2013 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
Wesley Morgan
Jul 12, 2016 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
Seymour Millen
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great series of essays from the preeminent Soviet psychologist, Lev Vygotsky. Suffers invisibly from being taken quite haphazardly from his manuscripts provided to American scholars many years after his death, and the editors are quite open about the liberties they took with the translation and selection of the essays contained within. although it's one of the shortest and broadest collections of Vygotsky's works translated to English, I think it gives a misleading impression if taken as an in ...more
Flora Assaf
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a few years studying social constructivism, it's very interesting to read about the social and historical aspects of human mind development. The editors did a great job turning Vygotsky's isolated texts into one single book and in clarifying his most difficult concepts by researching its origins. However, the author mentions tons of studies without explaining how they were conducted -- or any other detail really -- so I missed being able to check the sources of his conclusions (a problem w ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
As a third level lecturer in computing my interest in this book was limited to its potential application in my teaching. Unfortunately my hopes were not fulfilled as although the book appears to give a good rounded view of Vygotsky contributions their applications in my context appear limited and must be extrapolated quite wildly.

Nevertheless it may prove to be another stone to the foundation of teaching for many readers, and for that reason alone it should be recommended as long as one does not
Mar 06, 2017 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
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely stuff
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don’t think I understood most of this book. It’s so convoluted.
Mar 19, 2017 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
Lawrence Linnen
Aug 07, 2012 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
Feb 25, 2013 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
Jun 04, 2009 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
Jun 09, 2011 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
Feb 09, 2017 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!
Oct 11, 2008 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 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.
Apr 20, 2016 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.
Oct 13, 2016 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.
Lilly Irani
May 14, 2009 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.
Sep 11, 2016 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.
Jul 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
this guy's stuff was sealed and censored for years and no one knew about it until quite recently. an amazing man for understanding what motivates us to learn.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Metaphors We Live By
  • Childhood and Society
  • Experience and Education
  • The Psychology of Intelligence
  • The Psychology of the Child
  • The Process of Education
  • How Children Learn
  • The Origins and History of Consciousness
  • Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning
  • Race Matters
  • Psychological Types
  • Deschooling Society
  • The Neurotic Personality of Our Time
  • Conditioned Reflexes
  • Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6-12
  • Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning
  • Crise e pandemia
  • The Mythology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
See similar books…
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (Russian: Лев Семёнович Вы́готский or Выго́тский, born Lev Simyonovich Vygodsky) was a Soviet developmental psychologist and the founder of cultural-historical psychology.

News & Interviews

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
86 likes · 15 comments
“By giving our students practice in talking with others, we give them frames for thinking on their own.” 14 likes
More quotes…