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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 Biographical Concept as a Psychological Means of Life Reflection 340


Klementyeva M.V.
Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Psychology and Human Capital Development, Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia

The article focuses on biographical concepts as linguistic signs expressing an individual’s generalized knowledge of the meaning of life in an autobiographical narrative. In the mainstream of cultural-historical psychology, the biographical concepts are considered as psychological tools for reflecting on the meaning of life. We hypothesized that the level of generalization of the biographical concepts correlates with the level of awareness and personality reflection in adulthood. The sample of our study consisted of 110 people aged 17—57 years. The study measured the following four factors: generalization of the biographical concept in the autobiographical narrative; biographical reflection; meaningfulness of life; type of reflection. We found that the level of generalization of the biographical concepts in adulthood undergoes a transition from the unstructured set of attributes of the concept’s meaning (the syncret), through the isolation of formal attributes associated with the concept (the complex), to the abstract and generalized meaning of the concept (the notion). Also, higher levels of generalization of the biographical concepts in midlife as compared to early adulthood are associated with the individuals’ increasing awareness of life and reflection skills.

Keywords: biographical concept, autobiographical narrative, reflection, meaning, meaning of life

Column: Empirical Research


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