Eco: Vygotsky & Art

We have demonstrated that, through out different stages of his intellectual career, Vygotsky was developing his approach in constant dialogue with literature, theater, and aesthetics, indicating that art is not an optional extra for psychology. Similar to speech, art is not added to psychological development—it represents an important and inextricable dimension of this development as a whole. If speech makes our world comprehensible, manageable, and amenable to navigation, art is indispensable in forging what Vygotsky defines as the “higher in man.” In The Psychology of Art, Vygotsky (1971, pp. 17, 12–13) proposed that art is centrally involved in a regulation of feeling at the social level; he posited art as “the social technique of feelings” and argued that art “systematizes a very special sphere in the psyche of social man—his emotions.” Another, and more fundamental, function of art outlined in The Psychology of Art is that of an instrument for mapping and expanding human potentiality—a function it performs not by providing inspiring or moralistic examples but by engaging us at all levels—the embodied, physiological level, the emotional and affective level, the level of intellectual processing and reflection—in a unique work.

-Julia Vassilieva & Ekaterina Zavershneva.



Vassilieva, J., & Zavershneva, E. (2020). Vygotsky’s “Height Psychology”: Reenvisioning General Psychology in Dialogue With the Humanities and the Arts. Review of General Psychology24(1), 18-30.

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