It is now more than half a century since I spent a year in Moscow as a post-doctoral fellow working under the supervision of Alexander Romanovich Luria. That experience and the 15 years during which we corresponded and organized translations have fundamentally shaped my scientific career. Simultaneously the reach and influence of Luria’s ideas have continued to diffuse throughout modern scientific psychology. The following remarks are intended to suggest some of the recent accomplishments and current issues facing those who have adopted a Lurian approach, which traces its origins back to the 1920’s.
In my view, the development of a cultural-historical psychology will depend greatly on the degree to which it can guide efforts at life-generating, socially sanctioned, new forms of activity in health, in education, in preparation to confront the challenges to human existence posed by human beings themselves.
Keywords: Luria’s Legacy in Cultural-Historical Psychology
Background. Security as a socio-cultural phenomenon requires a comprehensive approach and integrates a multitude of aspects of social reality, each of which is important both for an individual and society as a whole. It has been shown that there are certain universal desires and needs which are valued by all cultures and peoples as essential to providing a high quality of life; one of such universals is the need for security. Consequently, the status of people’s security in a society directly depends on the processes taking place in the society as a whole, and a craving for security and the need for it act as powerful stimulators of social changes.
Aim. A theoretical analysis of studies on psychological security as a socio-cultural phenomenon.
Method. Sources were selected according the following principles of scientific cognition: development, systematicity, and determinism.
Result and discussion. It has been shown that, on the one hand, an individual’s security is the result of an effective political, economic, social, and cultural environment. On the other hand, a society’s security is a combination of individual people’s security. It has been proved that the strengthening of a society’s psychological security is key to achieving the wellbeing of different categories of people.
It has been demonstrated that security is a dynamic process, since at every point in time we are dealing with a new type of danger. As a result, psychological security must constantly be created all over again. The latent character of security is shown by the fact that a person starts to strain after it only when an actual threat to life, health, and wellbeing emerges. What’s more, the use of an interdisciplinary approach (psychological and sociological, in particular) appears to be the most fruitful, especially with regard to such latent phenomena as security and wellbeing.
It has been shown that all aspects of human behavior in all spheres of life can be interpreted in the context of both the sense of security and actual security, and in most cases it is the need for security that guides man’s action. It has also been demonstrated that people’s perceptions and assessment of their state of security are psychological processes, and thus, they are exposed to individual and group differences.
Modern research has shown that, in the modern world, the link between a sense of wellbeing and sense of security is drawing increasing attention. Yet it should be noted that there is a tendency to interpret the concept of security restrictively as protection from harm and satisfaction of basic needs. In other words, the idea that psychological wellbeing and security are complementary and mutually conditioned concepts has not been dealt with so far.
Keywords: psychological security, psychological wellbeing, “ontological” security, “security theater,” need for security, perception of security.
Introduction. Neuropsychology, as a science, studies various possible relationships between psychological processes and the brain in cases of both normality and diverse pathologies. Such relationships might be established and understood in different manners.
Background. A.R. Luria proposed a unique and specific approach by identifying different brain units. His conception is not completely understood, and is even less used in diagnosis and rehabilitation today. His conception of the systemic and dynamic representation of human actions in functional brain systems is the background for our study. Psychological conceptions of the stage-by-stage formation and orientation for action, and their use in rehabilitation, are taken into account.
Objective. The objective of our report is to share our application of Luria’s methodology of syndrome analysis through the presentation of the results of assessment and rehabilitation.
Design. Our study presents a unique case, along with data on the person’s assessment and rehabilitation, specifically, a qualitative assessment of an adolescent patient with severe brain injury.
Results. The assessment identified severe problems in the patient’s programming and self-control functions, together with spatial disorganization. The process of neuropsychological rehabilitation, as applied in two stages, showed positive effects on the activity and personality of the patient. Goals, stages, and examples of formation of actions in rehabilitation, with their results, are described.
Conclusion. We conclude that the systemic and dynamic approach in neuropsychology might be applied to assessment and rehabilitation. We discuss the necessity of establishing bridges between the psychological theory of actions (rather than functions) and the systemic representation of actions by functional brain systems.
Keywords: neuropsychological rehabilitation, concepts of neuropsychology, functional diagnosis, qualitative neuropsychology, brain injury rehabilitation.
Introduction. Analysis of the literature suggests that the particular nature of the interplay between a person’s creativity and intelligence is determined not only by the conditions in which a person develops and their personality traits, but also their age.
Objective. The purpose of this study was to compare the interaction between the levels of creativity and intelligence of 7 to 8 year-old children and 12 to 13 yearold teenagers, by studying how 7–8 year-old children and young teenagers (12–13 years old) with different levels of intelligence and creativity assimilate stochastic signals.
Design. A total of 160 children took part in the study, 80 first- and secondgraders who were 7–8 years old (37 boys and 43 girls), and 80 fifth-graders, aged 12–13 (40 boys and 40 girls). We used the following procedures: Raven’s Progressive Matrices; a battery of creative thinking tests, amounting to a modification of the Guilford and Torrance’s tests in a Russian adaptation created by E. Tunik; and the computer reflexometric method.
Results. Our findings showed that the relationship between the level of intelligence and the level of creativity is different in the two age groups. With 7–8 year-olds, the two parameters are independent of each other, whereas with 12–13 year-olds, there is a weak but significant link between them. With the 7–8 year-old children, the level of creativity predetermines the child’s ability to detect the structure of a sensory stream that is organized in a complex way. At the ages of 12–13, neither the level of creativity nor the level of intelligence is correlated with the parameters of sensorimotor integration, but the two parameters are interconnected.
Keywords: creativity, intelligence, children, teenagers, reaction time, simple and complex sensorimotor reactions
Introduction. A complex of computer neuropsychological programs was developed at KrasSMU, which in several pilot studies has shown effectiveness in cognitive training for patients with vascular cognitive impairments (VCI).
Objectives. The aim of the present study was to compare changes in cognitive status in those patients with post-stroke VCI who worked with neuropsychological computer programs, with those changes experienced by a group of similar patients who played entertaining computer games.
Methods. Patients in the early recovery period after a hemispheric stroke with VCI without dementia (N=26, age 40-67) were randomized into three groups. All patients underwent conventional treatment in a rehabilitation hospital. Patients in the intervention group had ten daily 40-minute training sessions with neuropsychological computer programs. Participants in the active control group played entertaining computer games, and kept an identical regimen. Patients in the passive control group received only conventional treatment. Cognitive, neurological, affective, and functional states were assessed before and after the training periods.
Results. Significant improvements were observed in the intervention group as compared to the passive control group on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA, p=0.0004), the Clock Drawing Test (CDT, p=0.001), and the Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB, p=0.01). Differences between the groups of patients playing neuropsychological and entertaining games were statistically insignificant (Mann-Whitney U test, p>0.05), although in the intervention group there were improvements on every cognitive scale after the training period (Wilcoxon matched pairs test, p<0.05), while in the active control group, enhancements were evident only on some cognitive scales (p<0.05). No changes were observed in the passive control group.
Conclusions. Neuropsychological computer programs enhance cognitive status in patients with post-stroke VCI. It is possible that entertaining computer games can also improve cognitive functions. In all groups, no changes of functional state were observed before and after the training period.
Keywords: Cognitive training, computer cognitive training, stroke, cognitive rehabilitation, neuropsychological computer programs, vascular cognitive impairments, poststroke cognitive impairments.
Background. An association between juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) and nonpsychotic psychiatric and cognitive disorders has been described in recent years. Scientists are trying to link JME with certain personality traits marked by emotional instability.
Objective. The goal of our research was to assess the state of cognitive functions in young adult patients with JME–excluding the adverse side effects (ASEs) of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)–and analyze the level of personality and situational anxiety, neuroticism, and depression in young adult patients with JME.
Design. We tested 26 patients with JME and 26 healthy adults with the computer program NS-PsychoTest (Neurosoft Company, RF), a program which is aimed at studying and evaluating neuropsychological characteristics.
Results. Our study showed that the frequency of depressive symptoms, according to the cognitive-affective subscale (Beck’s Depression Inventory), in patients with JME was statistically significantly higher than among people without epilepsy. Comorbid personality and nonpsychotic psychiatric disorders are common interdisciplinary problems in JME management. Most practitioners pay attention only to the treatment of seizures caused by JME, and their patients, accordingly, do not receive adequate psychotherapeutic help.
Conclusion. Cognitive disorders are often associated with epilepsy, and are a result of a combination of factors. According to our study, in the presence of statistically significant differences in short-term memory and mental performance in patients with JME, compared to healthy young adults, the main indicators of cognitive function in patients with JME generally correspond to the norm. Our findings highlight the etiological heterogeneity of cognitive disorders in JME and the importance of early screening for them.
Keywords: juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), individual neuropsychological characteristics, cognitive functions, anxiety, depression.
Background. Perinatal pathology of the nervous system (PPNS) of hypoxic genesis is one of the most significant causes of deviations in mental development. It is necessary to investigate the impact of mild PPNS for the child’s mental ontogenesis, because coarser perinatal lesions, as a rule, lead to significant violations of development and should be analyzed separately. From our point of view, the qualitative neuropsychological syndromic analysis adopted in Russian child neuropsychology is the most productive way to study this problem.
Objective. The purpose of this study was to conduct neuropsychological analysis of the features of mental development of school-age children with mild hypoxic PPNS in their anamnesis.
Design. Our research involved 62 children 10-12.5 years old, who were studying in comprehensive schools in Moscow. The main group was comprised of 42 neurologically healthy children who had hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy of mild severity in their anamnesis. The control group was comprised of 20 neurologically healthy children without indication of pathology of pregnancy and labor in their anamnesis.
Methods. We used neuropsychological Luria tests that have been adapted for children, conducted an interview of parents and teachers about the peculiarities of children’s behavior, and analyzed electroencephalogram reports.
Results. Every child with PPNS exhibited similar features, such as neurodynamic disorders and a lack of voluntary control. We called this symptom complex “subcorticalfrontal” neuropsychological syndrome. In addition, each child in the main group had a failure of at least one neuropsychological factor. The following functions showed insufficiency most often: voluntary attention, speech development, verbal-auditory memory, kinetic and kinesthetic praxis, visual-spatial gnosis, and phonemic hearing. Left hemisphere functions and interhemispheric interaction suffered to a greater degree. The children with PPNS were divided into two subgroups, depending on the severity of the insufficiency of executive functions (EF). Children with severe insufficiency of EF more frequently demonstrated violation of development of verbal-logical thinking, difficulties in social adaptation, emotional disorders, and deviant behavior.
Conclusion. The mental development of school-age children with mild PPNS in their anamnesis differs from the development of their peers. We can talk about the longterm consequences of mild hypoxic perinatal damage of the nervous system.
Abbreviation: PPNS — perinatal pathology of the nervous system; CNS — central nervous system; EEG — electroencephalogram; EF — executive functions.
Keywords: perinatal hypoxic damage of the nervous system; child neuropsychology; cultural-historical concept; neuropsychological analysis; school-age children.
Background. The extension of intercultural contacts in the present-day world calls for a thorough study of what effect these contacts produce on the human personality. When an individual is suddenly immersed in a different culture, his or her consciousness becomes a battlefield where new values conflict with the old. The person experiences an axiological shock, a ``value clash,” which urges him or her to undertake a re-examination of his/ her value system as a whole.
Objective. The objective of this study was to determine the changes occurring in the value system of Vietnamese students obtaining their higher education in Russia.
Design. A longitudinal study was performed involving 100 Vietnamese students in Russian universities. The measurement methods used in the study were: 1) the modified M. Rokeach Value Survey (Rokeach, 1973; Kudrjashov, 1992), in which the original set of values was expanded by 20 additional values typical of the Vietnamese people; and 2) the technique for assessing acculturation strategies developed by J.W. Berry (Strategii mezhkul’turnogo vzaimodejstvija..., 2009).
Results. In the course of a year of residence in Russia, specific changes (or “shifts”) occurred in the value systems of the Vietnamese students which proved to be statistically significant. Among the goal values (the same as terminal values, in the terms of M. Rokeach) which took on more weight were Productive Life and Materially Prosperous Life, while among instrumental values, Tidiness and Frugality became more prominent. A difference between the value dynamics in male and female students was also established, with the value pattern of male students proving to be more dynamic. The next finding was the difference in value dynamics between students coming from urban and rural settlements. There was one more quite unexpected finding: The value pattern changed more noticeably in respondents with an acculturation profile of “Integration and Separation,” than in those with profiles of “Integration and Assimilation” and “Pure Integration.”
Conclusion. Therefore we see that factors such as gender, type of environment (rural/urban) the individual comes from, and the strategy of acculturation used by the individual, act as mediators exerting their own influence upon the dynamics of his/her value patterns.
Abbreviation: PF = Preliminary Faculty
Keywords: acculturation, value pattern, value dynamics, Vietnamese students, acculturation strategies, acculturation profile.
Background. About 40 years ago, Alexander Luria published in 1974 his world known book “On the historical development of cognitive processes”. It describes the data of an experimental study of mental functions in illiterate people living in the peripheral parts of Uzbekistan (Central Asia). A.R. Luria together with L.S. Vygotsky worked out the design of this study, performed in 1931-1933. The study proved a significant influence of social life and literacy on the structure of logical reasoning. In the conclusion to this book Luria indicates, that his colleagues often advised him to repeat this study in 40 years, but the author did not considered it reasonable, as radical changes in cultural and educational level of Asia population must equalize the differences in cognitive processes with people from central regions. Is it so?
Study design. A group of psychologists from Moscow, Belgorod and Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky performed an integrated study of endogenous populations of the north of Kamchatka peninsula living in regional centers or nomadic herdsmen in tundra. Thirty subjects (17 men and 13 females) all with primary education in Russian schools were assessed using the same tests on classification and generalization, as Luria did, together with Luria neuropsychological battery, and projective drawing on life attitudes.
Conclusion. Life values of endogenous peoples are more nature centered than in Russians from central regions. Nomadic and settled subgroups with the same level of education differed in some neuropsychological tests, revealing the influence of social life conditions. It confirms Luria’s idea about cultural determination of cognitive processes but also shows that life conditions are as important cultural factors as literacy.
Keywords: cultural-historical psychology; social life; cognitive processes; life values.