Tool-Mediation within Cultural-Historical Theory and its Practical Implications



The central point of cultural-historical theory of L.S. Vygotsky is the idea of mediation of higher mental functions. The author considers the evolution of the notion “mediation” in cultural-historical theory from the works of L.S. Vygotsky to the research of his disciples A.N. Leontiev and D.B. El’konin, and followers – P.Ya. Gal’perin and B.D. El’konin. L.S. Vygotsky created the genetic developmental method and double stimulation method, that was used, for example, by A.N. Leont’ev in the research on memory. But this method uses cross-sectional design that does not provide us with the idea of the process of appropriation of tools by individual subject. This method allows to track the general contours of the process of development of mediation. Investigation of development of object-related action was conducted by D.B. El’konin, who demonstrated that the object enters child activity through joint activity with adult, which accompanies this object. B.D. El’konin, investigating the problem of mediation, describes the situations, where mediation becomes unavoidable. B.D. El’konin broadens the model of mediation assigned through co-participation of the other and through amplification of the effort of the participants of the event (joint being). He brings into understanding of mediation the idea of active mediation, where the interaction with the other is not a mere act of communication, but suggests joint construction of new action. Reality, with which the researcher in cultural-historical paradigm deals with, is the activity of rebuilding of the subject’s psyche. Mediation could be understood as systematic mastering/appropriation of specific psychological tools, during which the development of subject occurs. Various disciples and followers of L.S. Vygotsky use the term “mediation” within the contexts of using new tools, building a holistic “orientational foundation of action” and creation of a holistic social context of interaction.

General Information

Keywords: cultural-historical theory, methods of research, the experimental-genetic method, the method of double stimulation, planned-stage-by-stage formation

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Hoziev V.B. Tool-Mediation within Cultural-Historical Theory and its Practical Implications. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2005. Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 25–36. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Vadim B. Hoziev, Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology, International University of nature, society and man "Dubna", Professor of the Department of age Psychology, Faculty of Education Psychology, Moscow State University, Dubna, Russia, e-mail:



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