Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896–1934) was a literary scholar turned psychologist. He was an integrative thinker who conducted research and analyzed theoretical issues during a brief postrevolutionary career in Russia (1924–1934). Vygotsky focused on understanding the development of higher forms of cognition as those processes are influenced by culture—specifically, the signs and symbols of one's culture. In his 10-year career, Vygotsky wrote on the cognitive difficulties of disabled children, developed a single-subject research method, analyzed thinking and speech, and developed his theory of cognitive development, which he designated as cultural-historical. He did not refer to his theory as sociocultural because that term does not reflect the child's developmental history.

Vygotsky addressed new questions for psychology that also are relevant in contemporary society. His goal was to understand ...

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