In the early 1930s, Alexander Romanovich Luria set out with a group of fellow Russian psychologists for the steppes of central Asia. Their mission: to study the impact of the socialist revolution on an ancient Islamic cotton-growing culture and to establish guidelines for a viable Marxist psychology. The data collected among several remote groups of Uzbeks and Kirghiz supported the original hypothesis: the very structure of human cognitive processes differs according to the way in which social groups live out their various realities. For Luria, the legitimacy of treating human consciousness as a product of social history legitimized the Marxist dialectic of social development. The penetrating observations Luria drew from it, have cast new light on the workings of cognitive activity.