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Piotr Galperin

Piotr Galperin

Galperin P.Ya.

PhD in Psychology, Russia

Last updated: 20.04.2020

RUIn Russian


Scientific activity

Introduced the systematic development of orientation toward future action into activity psychology and created the theory of gradual development of intellectual actions on its basis.


From 1926 till 1941 P.J.Galperin worked at the Kharkov Psychoneurological Academy, worked as an educator in Kharkov and Donetsk (Stalino), actively participated in the work of the Kharkov psychologists group (A.N.Leontiev, A.V.Zaporozhets, P.I.Zinchenko, L.I.Bozhovich, etc.).  

From 1941 till 1943 – Red Army, head of medical division of evacuation hospital (Sverdlovsk region)

From 1943 г. – Moscow State University named after M.V.Lomonosov; associate professor, professor (from 1966), head of chair of developmental psychology, department of psychology (from 1971), consulting professor (from 1983).  


Galperin is one of the leading Russian scientists in the field of general, developmental and educational psychology, the author of theories and approaches which are known around the world. He proposed an original understanding of the object of psychological research, the specifics of the human psychic development. Having developed the worldview traditions of the Russian psychology, Galperin proposed and developed the idea of the priority of purposeful development as the basic method of psychological research. The theory of systematic gradual development of intellectual activity of a person, which was proposed by Galperin, has become known around the world. Within the framework of this theory, there were ideas on types and characteristics of human actions, on types of orientation basis of action and corresponding types of knowledge, a scale of gradual development. Galperin introduced and experimentally proved such second level theories as the theory of linguistic consciousness, the theory of attention, a number of other particular psychological theories which became a part of the golden fund of Russian science. While credit must be given to Galperin’s contribution into general, genetic, educational psychology, we must give prominence to his uniquely cohesive and systematic approach to the nature of psychic phenomena and processes, to the mechanisms of their formation and development.

The theory of the psychology’s object, the objective necessity of psyche, of the main laws of its development in phylo-, anthropo- and ontogenesis, of laws of formation of ideal actions, images and concepts as elements of psychic activity – these are the main components of Galperin’s psychological concept. Galperin’s scientific works can be characterized by a tendency to solve the principal questions of our science not with reductionist, but with properly psychological methods, to study the psychic activity and its development objectively. 

He created a unique psychological worldview which not only reveals radically new prospects for rethinking of the psychological reality, but also is a reliable basis for qualitative improvement of education of various subjects on different age levels. Galperin’s approach in general psychology, his theories (and firstly – the theory of systematic gradual development of intellectual activity of a person) have repeatedly become the subject of special symposiums and round tables of international and national congresses and conferences.


P.J.Galperin’s lecture

Other publications of the author

  1. Galperin P.J., Danilova V.L. Teaching systematic thinking in the process of solving minor creative tasks // Questions of psychology. 1980. №1
  2. Galperin P.J., Podolskiy A.I. Positivism in the history of Russian philosophy and psychology // Questions of psychology. 1981. №6
  3. Galperin P.J., Kotik N.R. To the psychology of creative thinking. // Questions of psychology. 1982. №5
  4. Galperin P.J. Origin and modern state of cognitive psychology // Questions of psychology. 1983. №3
  5. Galperin P.J. Psychological research of early alcoholism // Questions of psychology. 1985. №5
  6. Galperin P.J. Theoretical-experimental research of the active nature of psychic reflection // Questions of psychology. 1987. №2
  7. Galperin P.J. On the object of psychology (Report at the meeting of the Moscow branch of Psychologists’ society, November 23rd, 1970)
  8. Galperin P.J. Development of researches on development of intellectual actions // Psychological science in USSR. Volume 1. М., 1959;
  9. Galperin P.J. Principal results of researches on the problem of “Development of intellectual actions and concepts”. М., 1965;
  10. Galperin P.J. Experimental research of attention. М., 1974 (co-authorship);
  11. Galperin P.J. Introduction to psychology. М., 1976;
  12. Galperin P.J. Relevant problems of developmental psychology. М., 1978;
  13. Galperin P.J. Methods of education and intellectual development of a child. М., 1985;
  14. Galperin P.J. Psychology as an objective science. М., 1998.
  15. Galperin P.J. Psychological distinction between the tools of man and auxiliary means of animals. PhD thesis. Kharkov, 1937.
  16. Galperin P.J. On mindset in thinking – Works of republic conference on education and psychology. Kiev, 1941 (in Ukrainian).
  17. Galperin P.J. To the question of internal speech. (Reports of the Academy of educational sciences, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic).
  18. Galperin P.J.  Psychology of thinking and ideas on gradual development of intellectual actions.— Researches of thinking in Soviet psychology. М., 1966 // Introduction to psychology. М., 1976.


Piotr Galperin: Psychologist in Vygotsky’s Footsteps

Articles 3

Cultural-Historical Psychology (2010. Vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 111–114)

On Development of Mental Actions and Concepts 2909

Cultural-Historical Psychology (2009. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 118)

Brief Observations about Voluntary and Involuntary Memory (1970) 1027

Cultural-Historical Psychology (2009. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 109–113)

Study of Memory (1938) 1078


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