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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

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Futurist in Physiology: In Celebration of the 120th Birthday of Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernstein 1484

Sirotkina I.E.
PhD in Psychology, Research Fellow, Institute of History of Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

The paper is dedicated to the 120th birthday of Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernstein (1896—1966), a prominent Russian physiologist who contributed also to other fields of knowledge, for instance, cognitive sciences and modeling of biological systems. This study is based on the analysis of various publications and archive materials, including interviews with Bernstein’s disciples conducted by the author in the late 1980s. The paper outlines the ideas and concepts of Bernstein that were well ahead of their time, anticipating research on movement control by at least a hundred years. It also analyses the differences between Bernstein’s theory of movement construction and Pavlov’s theory of conditioned reflex and gives a brief review of the development of Bernstein’s ideas in modern Russian neuroscience. As it is shown, the now popular concept of “kinesthetic imagination” obviously corresponds with Bernstein’s concepts of “movement task” and “model of the desired future”.

Keywords: N.A. Bernstein, futurism, physiology of movements, kinesthetic imagination, Moscow Motor School

Column: In celebration of the 120th birthday of L.S. Vygotsky, N.A. Bernstein and B.M. Teplov


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