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History and Systems of Psychology

HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Alexei Leontiev, K.M Bykov

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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
Lesson 26
HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY
Alexei Leontiev (1904-1979)
Alexei Leontiev
Alexei Leontiev was born in 1904 and he died in 1979. He worked with Vygotsky from 1924 to 1930,
collaborating on the development of a new school in psychology as a response to behaviorism and the
focus on stimulus-response mechanism as explanation for human behavior. Leontiev left Vygotsky's group
in Moscow in 1931. He continued to work with Vygotsky for some time but, eventually, there was a split,
although they continued to communicate with one another on scientific matters. Leontiev returned to
Moscow in 1950 as Head of the Psychology Department at the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow State
University. In 1966, Leontiev became the first ever Dean of the newly established Faculty of Psychology at
the Moscow State University, where he worked until his death in 1979. He died of a heart attack
Leontiev also tried to look at how consciousness developed in human beings. Therefore, he is also included
among the Historico-Evolutionary psychologists. Historico-Evolutionary Psychology tried to see how
consciousness in humans developed, what exact role it played in different historical stages of man's
development and how it impacts behavior.
To answer these questions related to the development of consciousness of man, Leontiev put forward the
view that consciousness is a product of sensitivity to symbolic stimuli. When the body receives stimuli from
the environment, it reacts to them. Leontiev classified these stimuli into two categories. The first category
was of the ordinary stimuli which were, for example, touching something hot, seeing something coming
towards you etc. Humans tend to respond to these stimuli. Leontiev classified another kind of stimuli which
he called the symbolic stimuli. The symbolic stimuli were related to the ordinary stimuli but they
represented something different. For example, the ringing of bell might be considered as dangerous. This
means that the bell is a symbolic stimulus which symbolizes danger. Another example of a symbolic
stimulus is that when a person hears about food, his or her mouth starts to water. Therefore, hearing about
food represents a symbolic stimulus.
A parallel explanation could be seen between the concept of learning by conditioning given by Pavlov and
the explanation of development of consciousness given by Leontiev. According to Leontiev we learn these
symbolic stimuli by conditioning. Pavlov conducted experiments on dogs. He associated the ringing of a
bell with food. When the dog was given food, a bell was rung. The food caused the dog to salivate. Later it
was seen that the dog had started to expect food with the ringing of the bell as it salivated every time the
bell was rung, even though food was not presented to it. The response of the dog was said to be a
conditioned response. Similarly, Leontiev said that man also learns these symbolic stimuli through
conditioning. As a person finds that whenever any danger appeared a bell is rung, he starts to associate the
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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
ringing of a bell with the danger. Therefore, the ringing of the bell serves as the symbolic stimulus for him.
Only hearing the bell would make him alert, and this response of his would be a conditioned response to
the symbolic stimulus. This is how man learnt these through conditioning according to Leontiev.
Leontiev also showed by pointing toward various stages of mans development that man learnt by
conditioning according to a set pattern. The order of learning is as follows:
i.
Man first learnt lower order things and functions
ii. And later the higher functions
This means that in the development of man's consciousness, the first step was to learn the lower order
things, which means the basic functions of the body such as eating, drinking etc. These represented the
basic needs of a person. Later the development of the higher order functions took place, which actually
differentiated man from animals. These higher order functions include functions of consciousness such as
thinking, contemplating, understanding, ability to communicate, etc. This is the reason for man being
different from animals. In other words, Leontiev showed that we do not inherit our mental functions and
faculties but learn them by conditioning during our growth and development.
K.M Bykov
Another prominent Soviet psychologist was K.M Bykov, born in 1886 and died in 1959. His quest was the
same as other Historico-evolutionary psychologists i.e. to discover how consciousness developed and the
various milestones in the development of consciousness.
Bykov pointed out that in the historical development of man the sensory signal system changed into verbal
system. First man reacted to sensations later he learnt by conditioning to react to words also. In other
words, the initial stage in development of the consciousness was that man started to acknowledge the
sensory stimuli. These stimuli caused him to react. As pointed out by Leontiev, this was the stage when the
lower order functions started to develop. Man started to respond stimuli such as temperature etc. Later,
when man's consciousness further developed, he was able to understand and interpret things. According to
Leontiev this was the stage when higher order functions developed. Therefore, Bykov points out the
development of verbal communication and man's ability to respond to verbal stimulus as a milestone in the
development of consciousness.
Bykov also showed that we come to have verbally conditioned responses. This means that when we hear a
bad news, we respond to it accordingly. Humans tend to respond in the same manner to bad news.
Therefore, humans are conditioned to the verbal stimuli. His contribution of showing how sensory
conditioning develops into verbal conditioning was a major contribution to that overall Historico-
Evolutionary psychology.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Methodology, Grading, Course Overview up to Midterm
  2. ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY/PSYCHOLOGY:Socrates, Plato
  3. GREEK THINKERS:Aristotle, Contiguity, Contrast
  4. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Saint Augustine, Avicenna
  5. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Al-Ghazali, Ibn-Rushd, Averroes
  6. RENAISSANCE:Rene Descartes
  7. ASSOCIATIONISTS:Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
  8. ASSOCIATIONISTS:David Hume, FRENCH REVOLUTION, Denis Diderot
  9. GERMAN CONTRIBUTION:Wilhelm Liebniz, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel
  10. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION:RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS
  11. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Ivan Pavlov, Reflex, Acquisition
  12. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Vladimir Bekhterev
  13. IMPACT OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES ON PSYCHOLOGY:Charles Darwin, Gustav Fechner
  14. STRUCTURALIST SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY:Wilhelm Wundt
  15. FUNCTIONALISM:William James, John Dewey
  16. EUROPEAN FUNCTIONALISTS:David Katz, Edgar Rubin, Jean Piaget
  17. BEHAVIORISM:Edward Lee Thorndike, Law of belongingness
  18. BEHAVIORISM:Albert Weiss, Edwin Holt, Learning, Canalization, Walter Hunter
  19. BEHAVIORISM:J.B.Watson
  20. NEO-BEHAVIOURISTS:Clark Hull, Edward Tolman, Edwin Gutherie
  21. NEO-BEHAVIORISTS:B.F. Skinner, Karl Lashley, Donald Hebb, Hobart Mowrer
  22. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Max Wertheimer, Similarity, Proximity, Closure
  23. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka, Edward De Bono
  24. GESTALT SCHOOL AND DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY:Kurt Lewin, DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY
  25. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Leon Vygotsky, Sergei Rubenstein
  26. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Alexei Leontiev, K.M Bykov
  27. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL DISORDERS
  28. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL ILLNESS:Philippe Pinel, Sameul Tuke
  29. SIGMUND FREUD AND THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT:The Superego
  30. SIGMUND FREUD AND PSYCHOANALYTICAL MOVEMENT:Anna Freud
  31. CARL JUNG AND ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  32. JUNG’S ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  33. ALFRED ADLER AND INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY:Alfred Adler
  34. NEO-FREUDIANS:Harry Stack Sullivan, Karen Horney
  35. NEO-FREUDIANS:Karen Horney, Erich Fromm
  36. ERIKSON and MORENO:J.L. Moreno, Protagonist, Audience, Role playing
  37. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY:Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Positive Psychology
  38. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT
  39. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT:Biological Approaches
  40. ANTI-PSYCHIATRY MOVEMENT:D.L. Rosenhan, R.D. Laing, Aaron Esterson
  41. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD:Frantz Fanon
  42. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD CHINA AND PAKISTAN
  43. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY
  44. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Consumer Psychology
  45. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Sports Psychology, Positive Psychology