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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 Phenomenon of Reference from the Perspective of L.S. Vygotsky's Cultural-Historical Theory 2096


Krushelnitskaya O.B.
PhD in Psychology, Head of the Department of Theoretical Foundations of Social Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia

The paper addresses the issue of reference relationships between an individual and a group from the per¬spective of L.S. Vygotsky's cultural-historical theory. It is argued that, in spite of many years of research into the concept of reference, this phenomenon is still far from being fully explored. There's no methodological grounding to the mechanism of reference relationships that could help us not only to better understand this phenomenon, but also to predict the individual's behavior in various stages of social development. In the author's opinion, it is the developing individual's need for differentiation and interiorization of the cultural-historical experience of the society that underlies the development of reference relationships between him/her and other people. Thus the main function of reference is that of personal development. The theoretical expla¬nations proposed by the author are accompanied by examples of empirical studies illustrating the patterns of communication and interaction with referent peers and adults in schoolchildren and students.

Keywords: reference, cultural-historical theory, developing personality, reference group, 'significant other', sign, meaning, zone of proximal development, society, social situation of development

Column: Theory and Methodology

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