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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


The function of art in L.S. Vygotsky's cultural-historical psychology 1369

Ulybina E.V.
PhD in Psychology, Professor of the L.S. Vygotsky Institute of Psychology of Russian State Humanitarian University, Moscow, Russia

This theoretical article focuses on the psychological analysis of the theory of catharsis represented in L.S. Vygotsky's "The Psychology of Art". The analysis shows that while the psychotherapeutic catharsis (in psychoanalysis) gives the meaning of a situation and emotions to a client, the aesthetic catharsis forms the feelings. The model put forward by Vygotsky is explored in its connection with modern psychology, physiology of emotions, practices of therapeutic catharsis, and Aristotle's "Poetics". The author considers catharsis a mechanism of interiorization of cultural-historical meanings and reviews the priciples of its functioning. The phenomenon of catharsis is described in the context of the theory of higher mental functions' development. The conditions of appearance and existence of aesthetic catharsis are also described. These are: the intensification of emotions caused by absence of motor discharge; the correspondence of one's emotional experience to the subject matter of a composition, which comprises a diversity of meanings; and, nontheless, the distance between the reader and the subject matter.

Keywords: L.S. Vygotsky, Lacan, Aristotle, psychology of art, catharsis, higher mental functions, sense, meaning, emotions

Column: Discussions And Discourses

For Reference


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