Kharkov school of psychology



The work of the Kharkov school of psychology has enjoyed extensive attention in the research done by his¬torians of psychology, and by the very members of this school. Some of their studies were published in our jour¬nal. Recently, working with the archive of my father, P. I. Zinchenko, I discovered a previously unpublished text written by Alexey N. Leontiev, the organiser and leader of the Kharkov school, most probably in 1945 or 1946. The reason why this text was written remains a mystery. I can make an assumption, based on my rather vague memories of my talks with father or with A. V. Zaporozhets about A. N. Leontiev's plans for the post¬war period concerning the destiny of the Kharkov school he had established. One of the possibilities discussed back then was to create an Institute of Psychology in Kiev, where the group would go on with the line of research they had drafted and started developing so fruitfully in Kharkov before the war. Unless my memory fails me, this text can be considered as a document of a kind that was needed to justify the creation of the Institute by presenting a summary of the existing scientific basis and a programme of studies. In 1946 an Institute of Psychology was indeed created in Kiev, with G.S. Kostyuk appointed to be its director. The fact that at the same time a branch of the Kiev institute, Psychology Laboratory, was created in Kharkov (P. I. Zinchenko was appointed its director) provides an indirect evidence in favour of the version proposed above. It is possible, though, that the text in question had a more modest goal, that is, to justify the creation in Kharkov of a branch of the Kiev institute. In any case, A. N. Leontiev has played an important role in the devel¬opment of psychology in Ukraine, which needs no additional proof. (Similarly, he played an important role in the creation of Institute of Psychology of the USSR Academy of Sciences, having given a lot of support to this project together with P. K. Anokhin, A. N. Berg, and other scientists. However, this role of his was later down-played, and A. N. Leontiev received no credit from the Institute leaders who strongly opposed the activity approach he developed). The text published in this issue is not of purely historic, but of scientific value as well. It could be named «His point of view», meaning the point of view of the creator of one of the most productive schools in psy¬chology of the time. Together with a retrospective, a prospect for future studies is perceptible in this text.

General Information

Journal rubric: History of Science

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Leontiev A.N. Kharkov school of psychology . Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2011. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 134–138. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

Information About the Authors

Aleksey N. Leontiev, Doctor of Psychology, professor, Professor, Member of Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, Soviet psychologist who dealt with the problems of consciousness and activity. Pupil Of L. S. Vygotsky. At the Psychological Institute worked from 1936 to 1956 as head of the Department of child psychology. Full member of the Academy of pedagogical Sciences of the USSR; In the years of the great Patriotic war — chief of the pilot hospital recovery movements near Sverdlovsk. Since 1941-Professor of Moscow state University, since 1950-head of the Department of psychology, since 1966-Dean of the faculty of psychology of Moscow state University., Moscow, USSR



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