Basic principles of cultural-historical psychology


E.E. Kravtsova
L.S. Vygotsky Institute of Psychology RSUH



In my presentation I'll try to express my opinion on what qualitatively distinguish cultural-historical psychology or, as it was called by L.S. Vygotsky's close apprentice – D.B. Elkonin, non-classical psychology, from other theories.

On one hand, cultural-historical psychology is still very popular. But on the other hand, L.S. Vygotsky's texts are material sense texts and every person puts his own content into them. So, the situations, when the ideas, opposite to Vygotsky position, are stated under the guise of cultural-historical psychology appear quite often. The analysis of cultural-historical studies allows to conclude that Vygotsky’s ideas in many respects have become rather metaphors and slogans than a new paradigm of psychology. I want to, once again, draw your attention, that ideas, that I'll offer for your consideration is my point of view, which is shared by a number of Russian psychologists.

On the seventeenth of November, 1896, new style, in a small Byelorussian town of Orsha, in the family of a bank’s officer, a boy was born who was called Lev. The boy had two brothers. One of them died from tuberculosis when he was a little baby and he's infected Lev. Another brother died from typhus when he was a teenager. There were also five sisters with whom he had very warm and close relationships till his death. When Vygotsky was about one year old, his family moved to another Byelorussian town of Gomel, that Lev called his fatherland. When he has finished gymnasium, he entered Law Faculty of Moscow University. He chose this faculty because at that time there were special regions allocated to the Jewish people. Some professions could widen the boarders of these regions, and doing law was one of them. He realised his interests in literature and art at People’s University of Shanyavsky when he entered Faculties of History and Philology. By the way, at this particular place, more than half a century after his death there was founded the Institute of Psychology which is based on his theory and bears his name. During the time he was a student, he became an active theatre-goer. He visited all possible performances and analysed actors’ play. Later this resulted his famous work “Psychology of Art” written in 1915; then he changed it in 1916, and in 1925 he presented it as his thesis. By the way, in his archive Vygotsky’s notebooks, containing among other works, the manuscript of this famous book were found. When he graduated from the two universities, he returned to Gomel and started to work in three directions: as an educator, as a journalist and as a psychologist. Today the college of pedagogy where he worked still exists, and Vygotsky museum is arranged there; on the wall, near the entrance door there is a memorial plaque. Besides, during his educational practice he was writing articles and critical notes on art and theatre. Also, he worked on the construction of his first experimental psychological research. The results of this were presented by him in Saint Petersburg, at the congress of psychologists in 1922. After his reports he has been invited by Alexander Luria to work at the Institute of Psychology. In the building of the Institute he lived with his wife for three years. Since 1922 he did psychology, though his interest to educational activity and to psychology of art remained his passion throughout his all, so short, life.

The whole history of classical psychology, in particular, its development in the 20th cent., was built on the logic of natural sciences.2 Its object is physical characteristic of subjects, or problems of behaviour or consciousness. Its subject is either a physicist or a psychologist conducting research. Their research results, that have been checked several times and if they are based on statistics, become laws either of physics or psychology. However, alongside this classical science, inside of physics another kind of logic appeared; and it was represented first of all by Nils Bor. In this new science object and subject are not opposed to each other, and there are no experimenters and those who are under research. There is no demonstrative logic as in mathematics. In the opinion of one of Vygotsky’s student El’konin, his teacher suggested and demonstrated new non-classical psychology. In this new science, as well as in new physics, other laws work that allow to point out specifically human way of development and that allow to consider a person as a unique individuality.

At first many scientists liked and appreciated Elkonin’s ideas about Vygotsky as a classic of non-classical psychology but in some time it appeared that it is rather difficult to give up natural sciences paradigm and start to work in the framework of cultural-historical psychology.

This resulted in two contrary positions: one group of scientists declared that non-classical psychology does not exist, and that all that Vygotsky and his followers did, does not go beyond the frameworks of traditional classical psychology. Another group tried to find close ideas in other scientists’ theories and practices.

What is the theory offered to us by Vygotsky? Why more that eighty years after his death his ideas are still popular among different scientists all over the world?

We can try to find the answer in his works. He wrote that old psychology that was constructed within the natural sciences’ paradigm did not know the problem of personality. He gives the reason for this. In his opinion the old psychology did not know the theory of higher mental functions.

What did and does this theory give to psychology? How can it change the character of this science? What are the common features of non-classical psychology and non-classical physics?

Vygotsky believed that psychological development is connected with both social influence on a person and physiological peculiarities of an individual.

This allows many scientists to reduce cultural-historical approach to the theory of convergence of two factors suggested by Stern. Indeed, in both theories biological and social factors are taken into account. But these theories are qualitatively different. For example, according to Stern’s theory social factors supplant biological roots in human personality and an adult is more socialised than a child. Vygotsky highlights the idea that a newly-born baby is the most-socialised person. These two scientists understood the process of development in different ways. Stern, as we said before, believed that social factors supplant biological ones. As for Vygotsky, he considered that social factors change their own character: at first they are alien to the child, done by adults, then they gradually become child’s individual ones. Unlike Stern’s theory, Vygotsky believed that social factors do not make a person adapted to the culture of the society in which he lives. It allows a person to adapt society to his interests, needs and motives. From this viewpoint the process of socialisation in cultural-historical theory is not that of interiorisation of the outer world with its laws; it’s rather exteriorisation of a person’s inner world.

In this context Vygotsky on the base of his cultural-historical approach suggested two revolutionary ideas. Firstly, he pointed out and gave a scientific definition of specific human way of development that he called the cultural way. Cultural development is not only psychological development; it is psychological development of the human being. Moreover, we can say that this kind of development is intrinsic human one. In this sense biological factors are not determinative for human mentality development but they can change their quality and develop themselves. For all this, physiological changes are the result of qualitative changes in human mentality, not of their being supplanted by social factors.

The second Vygotsky’s idea also concerns this. He shows that psychological development is connected with a person’s ability to manage his own mentality. All outer factors including education are neither acquired nor interiorised; they are the tools with the help of which a person becomes the subject of his own behaviour, activity and personality. So, cultural-historical approach has allowed us to point out the logic and specific characteristic of psychological development of an individual. A person in this theory is active, he realises his unique individuality. Thus, cultural-historical approach, according to Vygotsky, allows us to construct the theory and practice of psychology of personality.

Though Vygotsky uses the concept of personality very rarely, and his students and opponents do not connect his theory with the theory of personality, I must say, personal development is connected with the logic of cultural development of personality. The better a person can manage himself, his psychological processes and functions, his behaviour and activity, the higher level of personality he has. In this sense, the assessment of psychologists’ work with a child, as well as the efficiency of any education, depends on the results of this work with the child, i.e. whether he learnt to manage himself better or not and what is the level of his personal development. If, in the communication with an adult or during specially organised education, a child acquires some knowledge or skills that are not connected with his ability to manage himself, then on one hand, this process wouldn’t have developmental character and, on the other hand, it would be based on classical science.

What is the difference between classical and non-classical psychologies? What are the main features of cultural-historical approach? What is the difference between it and other approaches that had existed before it appeared and numerous other approaches that were designed years later?

To answer this question, let's look at the cultural-historical theory as the main product of Vygotsky’s life. As I have said before, Vygotsky devoted his life to the work on various problems. Doing this he studied them based both on the logic of a definite science and in the context of other various directions. The best example of it can be his work about Hamlet in which he analyses Shakespeare’s play from different angles. This book comprises art-historical, theatre-historical and psychological analysis. We consider that this ability of his is not only the characteristic of his personality, but also illustrates the specific feature of the new approach discovered and used by him.

In many Vygotsky’s works devoted to different problems he refers to the same examples. And this does not mean that had lack of materials to illustrate his ideas but that he researched different sides of the same fact.

During his life, Vygotsky never gave up his studies of psychology of art. Moreover, psychology of art was alpha and omega of his non-classical psychology. It didn’t prevent him from solving a lot of other problems at the same time – those of difficulties in child’s development, the connection between education and development, and so on. These two main directions helped Vygotsky to research problems he was interested in. One can say that in his works Vygotsky took two positions at the same time. He could easily consider the same problem form different angles. He could easily take different positions and consider some situation “from the point outside of it” – if we put it in K.Levin’s terms.

Unlike other theories, Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory has the same “two-positioned” approach. This feature allows us to define the subject of psychology in a new way. As we know, the core of this theory is natural functions that become higher mental functions. The role of education is based on this idea: education leads the development and transforms mental functions from natural into higher ones. To research the way of natural functions becoming higher ones, one should take two positions at the same time. One of the researchers of Vygotsky’s theory Andrey Puzyrey writes that Vygotsky studied neither natural nor higher mental functions. He studied the process of transformation of natural functions into higher ones. To realise this paradigm, a researcher should take two positions at the same time and also should know what are the person’s specific features and characteristic today and what his zone of proximal development is.

This feature of non-classical psychology can be illustrated through the analysis of play. I must say, that, on the one hand, play has attracted attention of different researchers. On the other hand, theory and particularly the practice of play shows that it is gradually transformed from reality into some kind of metaphor. Psychologists and educators all over the world point out that play is nearly out of the child’s life. In the English language there are two terms for this – play and game. These terms and what they mean differ in contents, though Vygotsky highlighted as well as Elkonin, that these two kinds of the same activity are more similar to each other than different.

Vygotsky defined the play through an imaginary situation. According to his idea, imaginary situation is not the world of senses as many psychologists consider it to be. Imaginary situation in cultural-historical non-classical psychology is the space between real world and the world of senses. (PICTURE) In other words, to construct this situation or to see it in the activity of another person, one should take two positions at the same time – be both in the real world and in the fantastic world that is realised in play.

This idea can be confirmed by Vygotsky’s works. He wrote that playing a game – for example, “playing a hospital”, a child would cry as a patient and at the same time laugh as a player. In other words, in this situation a child both is IN and OUT of play.

So, we believe, the main difference of non-classical psychology from classical one is in the ability of a researcher to take two positions at the same time. Analysing the history of psychology we can see that representatives of different scientific schools consider a person and his psychological development from only one position – biological, or sociological. In theories like that of convergence of two factors a researcher appears in turn as biologiser or socioliser.

Many of Vygotsky’s students critised him for his concept of natural functions as they considered it could bring to biologising. But, actually, cultural-historical theory doesn’t contain either biological or sociological factors. Psychological content of the concepts of biological and sociological factors essentially changes in cultural-historical paradigm.

In classical psychology researchers are oriented towards inborn qualities of a person or his social model. In the framework of cultural-historical theory these factors cannot be described and analysed separately. They appear as the whole and co-exist. Moreover, these factors have other sense. In this case we can remember the work of Vygotsky’s followers, Ivan Sokolyansky and Alexander Mescheryakov who demonstrated that children’s blindness and deafness, id est biological components of development, are not the obstacle for higher mental functions, that can appear and be developed.

This feature of non-classical psychology makes possible completely different kinds of practice based on it. There are three characteristic features of this practice. The first one is realted with the fact that those who organise it and those who manage it become its direct participants. (PICTURE) In other words, if a parent, educator, psychologist or teacher, etc. tries to construct developmental education based on non-classical psychology, he develops himself in the same way as his students, children, and other participants of this process. If this doesn’t happen, then the education won’t be developmental and those who organise and manage it will be emotionally exhausted after using one-type methods in their work. Besides, they won’t develop professionally and so on.

The second characteristic of the practice based on non-classical psychology is related with the fact that it is constructed on two basises. For instance, when constructing educational programme, an adult is oriented both at the laws of psychological and personality development in ontogenesis and at the individual characteristic of every child.(PICTURE) It is this particular feature that provides the orientation towards personality development of every participant of this process.

The third characteristic of practice based on non-classical psychology is related with its being large-scale and comprehensive. I’ll try to illustrate my idea using the following examples. In different countries there are either researchers or practitioners who try to change only one feature of the child’s life and believe that this is the way to a child’s development. For instance, they bring a new part of mathematic education or change the logic of mathematic education at primary school. The same picture we can see when they change parents’ relation towards the child’s behaviour, without changing the child’s social status in the kindergarten or try to organise some educational process in the kindergarten without involving the child’s family. Unlike all of that the new practice based on non-classical psychology comprises all sides of child’s life. Of course, if we try to discuss some specific research, we will need to highlight some factors the development of which is under research, or some relations or connection, but it wouldn’t be practice of new psychology, it would be the subject of psychological or pedagogical research.

The description of characteristic of non-classical psychology, as well as that of the practice based on it, show that it is complicated and multi-scale both for being used in science and in the real life. But I think, this particular way brings us to the development of psychology itself and to the changes in social life that it provides.

How can we apply this to the problem everybody here are interested in - teaching young children? In this respect, the approach including two positions can be presented in different aspects: as the connection between family and educational institution; as the connection between imaginary situation and child’s perception of his environment, and as the connection of actual development and the ZPD. In this context regarding family and educational institution, we should not consider the whole child’s life and his different characteristics including holidays and every day events, illness, interests, specific of communication, etc. instead of considering separate aspects of his life. As regards the connection between imagination, imaginational and real situations, we should consider not only play but all other forms of activity where we can see both kinds of reality. As regards actual development and the ZPD we should pay attention not only to the child’s intellectual development but also to the specific features of his emotions, attention, memory, etc.

In this report I would like to speak about three well-known problems put by Vygotsky and analyse their solution from the viewpoint of non-classical psychology.

The first problem concerns types of education. Vygotsky wrote that there are two types of education – spontaneous one when a person studies according to his own program and reactive education when a person studies according to others’ program. Vygotsky considered that at definite age a child can study only in a spontaneous way and starting from some definite level of his psychological development he acquires the ability to study according to other people’s program. (PICTURE)

If we understand this idea from the viewpoint of classical psychology – that is in the way it is, unfortunately, understood by most of modern researchers - this means that a child realises his own activity till school age. But as soon as he starts his school education he has to have the ability to study in reactive way. Nevertheless, parents, educators and psychologies know that in reality more than a half of children of 7 and even 8 year old cannot study in this way. Besides, there are many facts, that reactive education demands great energy from a person, and it is not absolutely always leads to development.

So, if we percept V’s words about the kinds of education from one position, then, on the one hand, there are a lot of both children and adults who psychologically couldn’t study in reactive way and, on the other hand, those who can realise this kind of education become very soon tired and the result of it are negative motives of education and their health.

Two positions in this case mean that researches, educators, parents, etc. at the same time are at the position of spontaneous education and reactive one. This way when a child according to his age couldn’t study in reactive way, the adult transform his, adult’s reactive education in two spontaneous forms, so it appears that the child studies according to programme constructed by adult but at the same time he realises spontaneous education.

So, kinds of education, spontaneous and reactive, in the context of non-classical psychology and constructed on its base practice are considered as a unity and its most important result is the ability of subject to transform reactive education into spontaneous.

The second problem concerns Vygotsky’s idea about connection between education and development. It’s nearly axiomatic that only that education is good which leads development. Its understanding in the context of classical science becomes a base that in practice the content of young children’s education becomes more and more complicated. Nobody is surprised now when they see elements of higher maths, philosophy, philology in the programme of pre-school and primary school children’s education. In this process, those who builds this programmes and realise these programme are sure that the implement V’s ideas and if they make the contents of education more complex, the children will achieve higher level of psychological development. But in practice it goes out in the other way. The children started their education at a very early age don’t want to go to school, they have a low level of psychological preparation for school education, they play school instead of studying there.

It’s very interesting to analyse the results of education through the problem of connection between development of education. In reality we face the facts which are against Vygotsky’ idea. There are a lot of examples when education and development are considered as synonyms. During the educational process a child gets some skills. These skills are considered as changes in his development. Changing the logic of education – from abstract to concretise or in contrary so we have changes in development. Vygotsky wrote that development and education are not synonyms. So, the practice when the result of education is considered as the result of development and the content of education becomes more and more difficult has nothing in common with Vygotsky’ idea about the connection between education and development.

The problem of connection between education and development in non-classical psychology can be demonstrated with help of two vectors. The first of them is on the top, we can see it, and we can say that it is within our optical vision as analogy with play. It is education. The other vector cannot be seen without special tools – it is development. According to A.Puzerey’s idea, which I mentioned above, we can say in the cultural-historical paradigm psychology deals with the problem of the results of education that should be transformed, realised in the development of students, instead of dealing with education and development as they are. When a psychologist considers the space between education and development, he studies both of them and controls and manages both the educational process and development. This approach causes qualitative changes both the contents of these two notions and Vygotsky’s idea about education that leads development. If in the framework of classical psychology this statement can be understood literary and mean that there’s no and cannot be any other links and ties between them but only one – the leading role of education, in the framework of non-classical psychology every moment of education can be considered and understood from the viewpoint of development; and, the other way round development in all its forms can be analysed and understood from the viewpoint of education.

This kind of analysis shows that the connection between education and development, defined by Vygotsky, concerns only the strategy of education, while in reality education can coincide with development at some moments of it, as well as development can lag behind education and in this case education is based on it.

Without these different types of interconnection between development and education these concepts will become more and more identical to each other or more and more different to each other. This can bring to giving the scientific grounds for the practice of teaching a child irrespective of his level of development, his interests and specific features of his activity. This kind of practice is far from being developmental for the child. On the contrary, it becomes a serious obstacle on the way of child’s development and causes various problems both in education and in development.

I want to illustrate this idea using the example of the concept that can be called a key one for the whole cultural-historical psychology. I mean the zone of proximal development.

In traditional psychology, as a rule, they build an education with orientation towards the following Vygotsky’s words: what a child does today with an adult’s help, tomorrow he can do himself. They understand this as what is the content of the zone of proximal development today, tomorrow must become the content of actual development. In this context the education which is oriented towards the ZPD is a really process of transformation of ZPD into actual development. I do not want to show doubt in the importance of this transformation, but nevertheless, it should be noted that this kind of education is directly connected with a child’s ability to study, not with his development (slides 9 -1). There are scientists who believe that each person differs from others in this ability. One child is very smart, quick-witted, while others can realise this process very slowly. But even it’s interesting and important to note that even when we get similar results – that is if students can fulfil tasks given to them equally well by themselves, with which they couldn’t cope before – they will continue to be different in their levels and peculiarities of their learning ability. In other words, this kind of education does not have any developmental effect. It only helps to transform the potential that students have into their real abilities.

Those researchers who work on such paradigm do not pay attention to the problem: what is the main –ability to do something on their own taken as a mechanism of getting a new level of development or a new level of development as a mechanism of person’s ability to do something on their own. In classical psychology we won’t find the solution to this problem and cannot answer the question why different people have different levels of ZPD or how we can change this level. I think this is the main reason for which many scientists think that the ZPD is rather a metaphoric than scientific term.

If we try to analyse the term ZPD in non-classical psychology with the help of two positions - inside and outside – we can try to answer this question.

According to Vygotsky the content of the ZPD is what a child has but still cannot use by himself. That’s why he needs adults’ help. The adult or those who play this role, help the child only to use the content that he already has. On the contrary, if a child does not have abilities, skills, knowledge, information, nobody can help him to use it in his own activity.

I believe that the term “ZPD” from the very beginning supposed there is another kind of development, not only the proximal one. We can call it the zone of potential development, or the zone of farther development. (slides 9-2) This space of development qualitatively differ from the ZPD. Its content does not include some definite features, characteristics and skills that with the help from outside can be used to fulfil tasks. Instead it includes the sources of these, conditions under which these skills, features and characteristic can appear.

So, the sources of the ZPD are in the zone of potential or farther development, this kind of zone is responsible for some psychological grounds of the ZPD. But the fact that this sources are available, and that there are some psychological readiness does not mean that something constructive will appear, and the process of mature growth of psychological processes and functions will start.

The process of transformation of the zone of potential development into the zone of proximal development is directly connected with the general logic and mechanisms of cultural-historical development in non-classical psychology.

One of the main ideas of the cultural-historical approach concerns the mechanisms of transformation of natural psychological functions to the higher ones. Those tools that a person acquires in the process of education are directed towards his own self. In other words, in the context of cultural-historical approach the changes that take place inside of a person are much more important than the skill, knowledge or information that he acquires during his education. A person can learn to solve very difficult tasks and problems but it does not mean that this will bring to the change in his development. On the contrary a person cannot fulfil tasks and solve problems as couldn’t do it before but there are a lot of changes in his development. According to this idea the contents of the term “the zone of potential development” and the term “potential development” and the ZPD can be presented as the characteristic of a psychological and personality kinds of development.

Zone of potential development is not connected with the development of a definite person. It’s just the ground and what kind of fruit will grow on it depends on the personality characteristic of a definite person. For instance, a preschooler has imagination as a basis for a play. But he can realise it, his imagination can be developed into a play, and thus become the ground for further psychological and personality development, or it can become the reason for fears or even autism. For instance, two five-year-old girls with equal levels of imagination are drawing pictures. They’ve painted very angry men. One of them draws a magician then and sad, that he will help make this angry person kinder. The other girl stops drawing and goes under the table and says: “I won’t draw any more!”, - she is afraid of this angry man”.

So girls have equal zone of potential development. It’s psychological criteria of their development, but differ from each other with their zone of proximal development - criteria of their personality development.

Such understanding the content of the zone of potential development and the ZPD, as well as the relations between them, means that transformation of the zone of potential development into the zone of proximal development means that there are changes in personality development of a person. So, the developmental education and the cultural-historical approach appears to be directed towards the potential development.

There’s no need to prove that the ZPD has definite borders. Its lowest border is connected with the actual development of a person. Its highest border divides the ZPD and the zone of potential development. This kind of understanding allows us to tell that developmental education and its results widen borders of the ZPD. First of all, the borders are widened by the change in interrelation between the zone of potential development and the ZPD. Of course, and this is the second factor – in developmental education we have changes in interconnection between the ZPD and the ZAD. But I think that people with difficulties in this process have problems with their ability to study, not with common abilities.

Vygotsky didn’t write anything about what kind of help must be rendered to a child to help him to cope with a task on his own. But if we orient towards the main role of communication in psychological and personality development in the cultural-historical approach, we will see that this help may have different directions. One of them is to help a person to use his subject content for task-solving. The other one is to help a person to get help from outside. Parents, psychologists and educators know such a fact that many children and adults have problems with taking help from outside. When the other adult appears and begins his activity near him, he can do it easier. So, we have two kinds of help. One we can call a subject help. It is directed towards helping a person to use a subject knowledge, skills or abilities, etc. to solve definite problems and fulfil tasks. The other kind of help is of a communicative character. It helps a person to take help from outside when he has problems with it.

So, if we have a person who cannot take help form outside to solve problems or fulfil tasks, we conclude: this content is outside of his ZPD. But when we have the second kind of help, sometimes a person has an ability to take help from outside. So, we can come to the conclusion that now this content is inside of the ZPD. In this way, we have the process of the ZPD has developed.

We can conclude now, that in non-classical psychology the developmental education means such a type of education that develops the ZPD.

Unlike modern psychology called classical one, the structure of which is alike its natural sciences twin, the one that considers a person from the viewpoint of what he must be, non-classical psychology and first of all cultural-historical approach research those characteristics that show what a person can be. This difference has a very deep psychological sense.

We cannot construct any developmental, educational or correctional system without understanding the laws of psychological development. Also, we cannot understand problems of a person construct conditions that he needs for his development, build a space for his life and activity without understanding the laws of personality development. But when we try to understand a person only being oriented towards he must be, to create conditions for developing his weak and strong aspects and sides, considered our adult’s, scientific theoretical model we put outside the main problem of psychology – the problem of personality.

By the way, it is not only my opinion. There is a Russian scientist, whose name is Igor Kon, who wrote that it is impossible to study a personality using the means of classical science. It seems to me that this phrase is equal to Vygotsky’s words about old psychology which didn’t know the problems of personality.

A person as a personality is not a real person of today and is not a theoretical model, a person that is developing only due to the laws of psychological development. A person as a personality is first of all that one who develops. We think that for this reason the term “development” plays the main part in cultural-historical approach. If we want to understand specific features of a definite person or create conditions for his development we cannot be limited only by one kind of the processes and functions and ignore other ones. We cannot take a person without his family or close relations, and if we speak about an adult, we cannot ignore his professional activity. It’s impossible to research a personality opposing it to those who researches it. All the personality processes from the very beginning mean there are very close relations between those who construct research and those whom he studies. The specific feature of the personality study and processes demands control conducted by those who initiated those studies and reflex his professional position. Research of a person as a personality means that any facts connected with bad memory or specific creative mind can be perceived and understood from the viewpoint of those people who realises it. We can see it during the analysis of the practice that have personality features. It is the third of Vygotky’s ideas to which we want to pay your attention and which can become an illustration to non-classical psychology.

Vygotsky thought, that the education becomes personal when it develops affect and intellect at the same time. It means that the content of education has to be very emotional for the children, has to be connected with their interests and needs and must not have an estranged character.

Pointed out specific features of non-class psychology realized in the projective method with which one can make a model of the process of development. Projective psychology gives an opportunity to build and construct the development but not only diagnose it. Even if we make an analysis of some smaller features and characteristics in projective psychology we deal with unit, which has the same characteristic as the whole object. This unit is in contradiction with different elements of psyche. The projective psychology looks like more as an art than a traditional science. That’s why all his life V worked closely with Eisenstein, Bahktin, Mandelshtam and other representatives of art.

The projective method gives an opportunity to give a new sense of the content of non-class psychology. Non-class psychology as Elkonin wrote transformed from science which fixes real characteristic of the object under research to science that allowed us to create some subject of development, to project life in such a direction which it should be in according with the laws of psychological development. It goes out from the old psychology which didn’t know the problem of personality and transformed it to projective psychology which allowed us to construct conditions for personality development.

Studying V’s creativity and his non-class psychology allows us to speak that work in cultural - historical approach demands special professional characteristics from psychologist. That’s why today the very topical problem is that of professional training of new psychologists. We further study and use various Vygotsky's ideas in the L.S. Vygotsky Institute of Psychology, which proudly bears his name.