Returning to the Future of Psychology: Cultural Psychology and the Study of Mental Self-regulatory Processes

Valsiner Jaan
Language of the article : English
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1287
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Cultural psychology succeeds all kinds of “revolutions” that have succeeded one another in psychology over the past century. This new area of psychology is actually old – it antedates the birth of experimental psychology of Wundt (in 1879) by about two decades (1860). The roots of our contemporary invention of cultural psychology are in the different Völkerpsychologie traditions (Lazarus, Steinthal, Wundt), and related to the work of the “Würzburg School” (O. Külpe, K. Bühler) and the traditions of Ganzheitspsychologie. Furthermore, the psychology of Franz Brentano’s heritage – the work of Alexius Meinong particularly – sets the stage for the study of complex mental phenomena of cultural framing. Cultural psychology has entered the stage of contemporary psychology three times (end of 19 th century – Völkerpsychologie, middle of the 20 th century – the Culture and Personality “school”, and end of the 20 th century – various versions of cultural psychology). Different versions of cultural psychology have attempted to investigate complex human psychological functions – and (at least in the case of the first two attempts) have failed to survive. Will it survive now? The answer to this question might depend on the openness of psychology at large to widen its methodological scope. The inclusion of culture in the psychological organization in the human species increases both the intra-individual and inter-individual variability of the phenomena under consideration, requiring the move towards new kinds of formal modeling of highly variable processes. Cultural regulators – meanings created by persons – operated as different kinds of hierarchies that can be transformed under specifiable conditions. Cultural psychologies return to long-forgotten and dismissed questions in psychology – such as the notion of will – and give it a new specification.

Pour citer cet article :

Valsiner Jaan (2007/2-3). Returning to the Future of Psychology: Cultural Psychology and the Study of Mental Self-regulatory Processes. In Clément Fabrice & Kaufmann Laurence (Eds), Culture and Society : Some Viewpoints of Cognitive Scientists, Intellectica, 46-47, (pp.251-268), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1287.