Study of Memory (1938)


General Information

Keywords: Kharkov Psychological School, Kharkov Pedagogical Institute, First Scientific Session of the HSPI, Archive, Transcript, Doublespeak, Anonymous Collective Co-Authorship, Quasi-Pseudonymity, Psychology of Memory, P. I. Zinchenko, P. Ya. Galperin, A. N. Leontiev

Journal rubric: History of Science

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Galperin P.Y. Study of Memory (1938). Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2009. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 109–113. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

A Part of Article

The texts published below are verbatim records of the talks of P.Ya. Galperin «Study of Memory» and P. I. Zinchenko «The Problem of Child Involuntary Memorization» made on December 18, 1938, at the evening session of «Pedagogy and Psychology» section at the first scientific meeting of the Kharkov State Pedagogical Institute (HSPI). These two talks bridged series of reports made that day and preceded the debate (see «Essay on History of Kharkov Psychological School» in this issue). Reports of Galperin and Zinchenko occupy 32 pages of transcripts starting from the back side of the sheet 26 (indicated as 262) until the back of the sheet 42 (indicated as 422). The overall volume of transcripts from this meeting is 53 typewritten two sided sheets with occasional handwritten editing. All published materials are at the State Archives of Kharkov District (F4293, op. 1, ed. hr. 40).

Handwritten editing passes roughly equally through all the transcripts with the exception of one, namely, the transcript of Galperin report that suffered the most intensive editing among the reports of that day. We suggested that continuous editing of all the report transcripts from that meeting regardless of their authorship was made by the same person. Preliminary verification of the handwriting with the sample handwriting of A. N. Leontiev suggests his authorship (see the inset), but nevertheless, definitive conclusions can be made only on the basis of the professional graphology expertise.

Galperin's talk draws attention by its rather unusual for the «Kharkov School» representatives' critics of A. N. Leontiev research. A similar criticism appears in P.I. Zinchenko's work «The Problem of Involuntary Memorization» published a year later (see Scientific Notes of Kharkov Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, 1939, v. 1, pp. 145—187). Notably, however, that in this article, there is no reference to the Galperin report and in this article (Zinchenko, 1939) criticism of Vygotsky appears as well, which originally was not in either of these two reports.

In the Galperin report handwritten editing resulted in not only significant changes of the text, but sometimes even the meaning of the spoken words was altered. For example, at the very bottom of page 35 the phrase «Emotions are the primary force that leads to improved memorizing of a meaningful material» noted down by the stenographer as a result of editing was changed to inverted statement: «Emotions are not the primary force that leads to improved memorizing of a meaningful material».

While preparing the text for publication several changes to the transcripts were made. For example, punctuation was brought wherever possible in accordance with the modern norms of orthography. All handwritten strikeouts were transmitted as text strikeouts. Curly brackets mark editorial commentaries of the publisher, such as pagination of the transcripts. All handwritten inserts are marked by square brackets. Obvious errors of the stenographers are corrected and are accompanied by footnotes. Abbreviations are explained in angular brackets. At the same time, while editing the text we tried to save all the stylistic unevenness and roughness and even the grammatical errors that are acceptable in a spontaneous oral discourse. All cases of underscoring and use of capital letters encountered in the text are transferred exactly in accordance with the original. In publication the numbering of the odd pages of archival documents is preserved while the reverse pages, i.e. evennumbered, are indicated by the symbol «2».

We express our gratitude to Ekaterina Zavershneva for the consultation and extremely valuable advice on the formatting of this publication.

Information About the Authors

Piotr Y. Galperin, Doctor of Education, Moscow, USSR



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