Cognitive Social-Historical Theory

Social-historical theory of the development of behavior and the human psyche, which is based on the understanding of the socio-historical nature of the activity and consciousness, considered the process of ontogenetic development of the mind (Newman & Newman, 2007). According to this theory, the sources and determinants of human mental development are at historically developed culture or society. Society is the product of social life and social activities of man, and, therefore, the very formulation of the problem is cultural development of behavior that leads directly to the social development plan. The main strengths of this theory involve the following aspects. The basis of human mental development is a qualitative change in the social situation of his/her life. The universal moments of human mental development are his/her training and education. The original form of life is its detailed execution in external (social) terms. Psychological structures that emerged in humans derived from the internalization of the original form of his/her life. A significant role in the process of internalization belongs to the different sign systems, and the most important role in life of a person is played by his/her intellect and emotions from the inner unity.

Cognitive social-historical theory has been criticized for unjustified opposition of “natural uncivilized” mental functions, for understanding the mechanisms of socialization associated primarily with the acquisition of sign-symbolic (language) forms, and for underestimating the role of subject-human activity.

This theory is important for the psychology and pedagogy of education and training. Social-historical theory substantiates the idea of activity of the educational process with active student, teacher, and social environment. These findings constantly singled out precisely linking teacher and student dynamic social environment. Currently, the social-historical theory is used in the analysis of the communication process, the study of the dialogic nature of a number of cognitive (related to the knowledge) processes, which are connected with the psychology of the machine structure and semantic research.