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The surge of contemporary interest in Vygotsky's contribution to child psychology has focused largely on his developmental method and his claim that higher psychological functions in the individual emerge out of social processes, that is, his notion of the "zone of proximal development." Insufficient attention has been given to his claim that human social and psychological processes are shaped by cultural tools or mediational means. This book is one of the most important documents for understanding this claim.
Making a timely appearance, this volume speaks directly to the present crisis in education and the nature/nurture debate in psychology. It provides a greater understanding of an interdisciplinarian approach to the education of normal and exceptional children, the role of literacy in psychological development, the historical and cultural evolution of behavior, and other important issues in cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and cultural and social anthropology.
Contents: J.V. Wertsch, Foreword. Preface. J.E. Knox, Translator's Introduction. Authors' Introduction. Part I:Behavior of the Anthropoid Apes. Three Stages in the Development of Behavior. Kohler's Experiments. The Law of Structure and Ape Behavior. Intellect and the Natural Experience of Apes. Intellect as the Third Stage in the Development of Behavior. Use of the Tool as a Psychological Prerequisite for Labor. Part II:Primitive and His Behavior. Three Lines of Psychological Behavior. Three Theories of Cultural Historical Development. Primitive Man as a Biological Type. Memory in Primitive Man. Thinking in Connection with the Development of Language in Primitive Society. Numeric Operations and Primitive Man. Primitive Behavior. Part III:The Child and Its Behavior. Approaches to the Psychology of an Adult. Adult and Child: The Principle of Metamorphosis. The Infant and His World. Primitive Perception. Primitive Thinking. Steps to Culture. Acquisition of Tools. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Memory. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Attention. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Abstraction. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Speech and Thinking. The Stage of Cultural Development of a Child. Defectology and Psychology. Retardation and Giftedness. Evaluation of Giftedness and the Problems of Cultural Development.