Vygotsky LevSemyonovich

Vygotsky LevSemyonovich

(1896-1934) Russian psychologist, and leading figure in the Soviet School, whose view of the higher mental functions as retaining key features of the social interaction from which they derive is proving one of the most influential in modern psychology, especially in the USA. Of particular importance is his theory of the role of language in the development of thought (Vygotsky, Thought and Language, 1934, but translated only in 1986). The phenomenon of private speech, where children appear to use speech to regulate their own behaviour, results from the internalization of verbally-mediated exchanges with other individuals. In turn, private speech becomes internalized to form inner speech, such that mature verbal thought retains the social character of the exchanges from which it originated.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000