Debatable Questions Concerning Cross Cultural Researches on Effect of Literacy on Cognitive Development and the Concept of Sympractical Society



In the polemic with the book by the leading Western cross_cultural psychologists S. Scribner and M. Cole The Psychology of Literacy the author verifies and clarifies the concept of sympractical society. The paper discusses the influence of literacy on cognitive processes development and the effectiveness of tests in investigating this influence. Along with reviewing main theoretical differences between the research conducted by S. Scribner and M. Cole and the Middle Asian research conducted by A.R. Luria in early 1930s, the author substantiates the heuristic notion of 'a dynamic system of meaning' proposed by L.S. Vygotsky and integrates it into the concept of sympractical society. The latter enables him to provide a fuller interpretation of the data included in The Psychology of Literacy within the framework of the cultural_historical theory.

General Information

Keywords: cognitive skills, tests, literacy, school education, dynamic system of meaning, situational connectedness, sympractical and theoretical society

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses


For citation: Ponomare I.V. Debatable Questions Concerning Cross Cultural Researches on Effect of Literacy on Cognitive Development and the Concept of Sympractical Society. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2007. Vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 59–67. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2007030407. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Ilia V. Ponomare, PhD in History, Senior research fellow, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, Institute for African Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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