Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Contribution of Oleg K. Tikhomirov to the Methodology, Theory and Experimental Practice of Psychology

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Contribution of Oleg K. Tikhomirov to the Methodology, Theory and Experimental Practice of Psychology

Article excerpt


Oleg Konstantinovich Tikhomirov was a professor of psychology at Lomonosov Moscow State University, and is considered the true "star" of national psychology. He is widely known for the development of the Personal Meanings Theory of thinking; the basic provisions and development stages of this theory will be analyzed below in detail. With respect to methodology, Tikhomirov relied on cultural-historical and activity-based approaches, having creatively developed and synthesized these leading conceptions of Russian national psychology. At the same time, Tikhomirov was an expert in diverse Western psychological theories, first of all, in behavior science and in Jean Piaget's theory.

As a devoted disciple of A.R. Luria and A.N. Leontiev, Tikhomirov, in turn, became the founder and leader of an independent school of thought -- one "of the few ... scientific schools headed by the pupils of A.N. Leontiev, A.R. Luria, B.V. Zeigarnik and P.Y. Galperin. This school is considered the pride and hallmark of the psychology faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University" (Zinchenko, 2008, p. 7). A.A. Matyushkina has analyzed the achievements of Tikhomirov's school and compared them with those of other leading national psychological schools in which creative thinking was studied (Matyushkina, 2008). In a wider historical context, Tikhomirov's works are analyzed in A.N. Zhdan's paper (Zhdan, 2008). According to V.E. Klochko, the Personal Meanings Theory of thinking is connected with post-non-classical prospect (Klochko, 2008), and V.V. Znakov considers it as the theory of overcoming the autonomy of cognitive and existential approaches (Znakov, 2008).

In this paper we'll address the basic theoretical and methodological guidelines which were introduced to world psychology and creatively developed by Tikhomirov, as well as the stages of the development of the Personal Meanings Theory of thinking (Tikhomirov et al., 1999; Babaeva et al., 2008). The scientist's detailed methodological analysis of ideas has also been carried out by T.V. Kornilova (Kornilova, 2008). The fundamental bases of the general psychology were inserted by Tikhomirov into a wide general scientific context and presented in the courses of lectures given by him (Tikhomirov, 1992; Tikhomirov, 2006; Tikhomirov, 2008). Tikhomirov was the one to defend the innovative (at that time) view on mental reflection as having a productive and generating character. It is hard to overestimate Tikhomirov's contribution to the essentials of the psychology of computerization, in which he justified the specificity of human thinking in comparison with the functioning of computer systems and artificial intelligence.

Tikhomirov and representatives of his scientific school investigated reasoning as a gnostic activity: one regulated by emotions, senses, and personality characteristics. The structure of this activity might change due to the dynamics of needs, motives and goals of the subject (Tikhomirov, 1984; Tikhomirov et al., 1999; Babaeva et al., 2008). The investigation of the mechanisms of cognitive activity that included its microstructural analysis and disclosure of its actual genesis was the main task of the Personal Meanings Theory of thinking. The analysis of personality traits in the regulation of thinking, which realized in a new way the idea of the unity of intelligence and affect, became the leading research principle of Tikhomirov's school.

A reconsideration of the leading principles of general psychology and development of the psychological theory of thinking were organically combined in the works of Tikhomirov with the development of such problems as the psychology of computerization and the psychology of decision making (Psychological..., 1987; Tikhomirov, 1992; Kornilova, Tikhomirov, 1990).

This article is urged to present the trajectory of life and scientific way of the founder of the Personal Meanings Theory of thinking, as well as the modern des- tiny of this theory. …

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