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Mental Development in Early Childhood 35
This is the first English translation of the paper of the prominent Soviet scholar Alexey Nikolaevich Leontiev (1903—1979) published in 1948. The paper introduces the author’s ideas on mental and personality development in preschool children based on the research results of his close colleagues under his leadership during the 1930-s and 1940-s. It embraces the conditions and features of the development of the hierarchy of motives in preschoolers which underlies the emergence of volitional behaviour at this age. Evidence is provided for the role of the motivational structure in the volitional regulation of such cognitive processes as perception, memory and in the emergence of children’s control of their motor processes. It demonstrates that the motives of the child of the preschool age get subordinated when the child is engaged in the social interaction with the participation of an adult. In a brief preface to this publication, E.E. Sokolova highlights the context of the author’s work, the continuity of his ideas of the activity theory with Vygotsky’s approach, and emphasizes a nontrivial approach in Leontiev’s school to mental development as rooted in the total activity of the subject rather than in the brain processes
Keywords: activity theory approach, personality development, the hierarchy of motives, volition, mental development, preschool age
A Part of Article
Usually, there are two age periods specified in the context of child development containing the psychological changes that are crucial for personality development. The first is preschool childhood1 and the second is adolescence and youth.
The publication was funded by the Russian Science Foundation (RSF), project # 20-18-00028.