Michael Tomasello versus Alexei Leontiev: A Dialogue in Time



The article provides an overview and critical analysis — from the point of view of activity theory of A.N. Leontiev’s scientific school and, more broadly, from the standpoint of cultural and activity psychology — of the latest comparative psychological studies of "joint activity" mechanisms in humans and in apes performed by Michael Tomasello and his colleagues and co-authors. These studies have convincingly proven the fundamental differences between cooperation in animals and collaboration in humans, which confirms many provisions of the psychological activity theory developed in the 1930s. Yet, the comparative analysis of the researches by Tomasello’s group and Leontiev’s scientific school provided in the article reveals that in spite of the seemingly similar results obtained in these studies, their interpretation varies considerably. Unlike M. Tomasello, A.N. Leontiev and his disciples (D.B. Elkonin, A.V. Zaporozhets and others) always claimed that "predisposition" of individuals towards collaboration emerged as a result of their labor activity which required coordinating various actions of individual participants who therefore fulfilled rather social than biological purposes.

General Information

Keywords: M. Tomasello, A.N. Leontiev, D.B. Elkonin, cooperation, collaboration, comparative psychology, apes, labor activity, cultural and activity psychology

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: review article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2018140105

For citation: Fedorovich E.Y., Sokolova E.E. Michael Tomasello versus Alexei Leontiev: A Dialogue in Time. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2018. Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 41–51. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2018140105. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena Y. Fedorovich, PhD in Psychology, Researcher, Institute for Social Sciences, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6596-1262, e-mail: labzoo_fedorovich@mail.ru

Elena E. Sokolova, Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of General Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2239-0858, e-mail: ees-msu@mail.ru



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