Founder of the Leningrad (St Petersburg) School of Psychology B.G. Ananyev: a Scientist Ahead of His Time



The article is about the founder of the Leningrad / St Petersburg Psychological School, Academician Boris Gerasimovich Ananyev. From the very beginning of his formation as a scientist, Ananyev showed interest in fundamental problems of psychology, its interdisciplinary connections, and its position in the system of sciences. The main areas of his scientific activity include research on human sensory-perceptual and psychomotor organization in the context of identifying resources and reserves of human development; the consideration of the sensory-perceptual organization as the basis for the development of a human as a personality and subject of activity; and the problem of human individuality. Ananyev provided many scientific concepts and made many contributions to various branches of psychology, primarily developmental psychology and differential psychology. The most important result of his work was the development of a methodology for a comprehensive study of human beings. On this basis, and under his leadership, empirical studies were carried out, which included a set of parameters for the development of the human as an individual personality and subject of activity in various periods of ontogenesis, with particular attention paid to periods of adulthood. Thanks to these studies, ideas about the integrity of individual development were formulated, human potentials were described, and the concept of vitality was introduced. Ananyev created the doctrine of the psychological structure of the human being, developed ideas about the continuity of human mental development throughout ontogenesis, discussed the need for convergence of developmental psychology and differential psychology, and methodologically and methodically substantiated the need to use an integrated approach when studying such a complex structure as a human, laying the foundations of interdisciplinary research. Ananyev’s ideas and developments contained enormous potential for further scientific development, which determined the direction of the work of the psychological school of St Petersburg (Leningrad) University for decades. This potential is far from being exhausted even today.

General Information

Keywords: ontopsychology, individual development, adulthood, individual, personality, subject of activity, individuality

Journal rubric: History of Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Received: 01.12.2021


For citation: Golovey L.A. Founder of the Leningrad (St Petersburg) School of Psychology B.G. Ananyev: a Scientist Ahead of His Time. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2022. Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 29–45. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2022.103. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Akinshhikova, G. I. (1977). Somatic and psychophysiological organization of a person. Leningrad, Leningrad University Press. (In Russian)

Information About the Authors

Larisa A. Golovey, Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Department of Developmental and Differential Psychology, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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