Psychology in the Soviet Union

Psychology in the Soviet Union

Psychology in the Soviet Union

Psychology in the Soviet Union


The dramatic changes within the post-Soviet Union present not only great opportunities, but also increased problems--stress, political instability, and economic confusion. Post-Soviet Union psychology continues to grow into a more vibrant and diverse force, in order to address the also-growing social problems which await it.


In April 1955, a small party of teachers and educationists visited the U. S. S. R. at the invitation of the Academy of Educational Sciences of the R. S. F. S. R. the chief purpose was to study the experimental schools, where new curricula and methods of teaching were being evolved for the development of polytechnical education, and in preparation for the raising of the school leaving age to 17. But it soon became apparent that such a study required knowledge of developments in psychology, and accordingly members of the delegation had a number of detailed discussions with Soviet psychologists, notably Professors Smirnov, Menchinskaya, Leontiev and Luria in Moscow, and Professor Ananiev in Leningrad. It was as an outcome of these that the idea of this book was born; that is, of a book that would familiarize English readers with the general direction of Soviet psychology, but designed to be of interest to teachers as well as psychologists.

I put this suggestion in a letter addressed to Professor Smirnov, director of the Institute of Psychology of the Academy of Educational Sciences, and Professor Menchinskaya, the deputy-director. They immediately responded with interest, and after discussion with their colleagues, sent thirty papers which might be included in such a volume; from these, twenty have been chosen for publication. Full permission was given to edit and abbreviate the papers in any way necessary in order to present as rounded a picture as possible within the available space.

There is no need to underline the difficulties of translating and editing specialized papers, particularly when the material is relatively unfamiliar. But there has been a cooperative effort to overcome these. Mr. H. Milne and Mr. N. Parsons, who undertook the bulk of the translation at short notice, readily agreed to produce unabridged translations, which were then edited and returned to them for checking; it was felt that this was the best way of ensuring accurate editing, in particular, uniformity in the translation of key terms. in resolving some particular problems of this kind I have had much assistance from Mr. O. Kovasc.

Dr. Brian Kirman, Mr. John McLeish and Dr, Neil O’Connor . . .

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