Developmental Psychology: Lev Vygotsky


The progress of the present-day researchers of human cognition is conditional upon their adoption of models developed by outstanding figures in the field. One of them is the Soviet specialist Lev Vygotsky, and his influence on the examination of learning is impossible to underestimate (MacBlain, 2018). Therefore, this paper aims to consider the events related to the life and work of this scholar as well as his major contributions to developmental psychology.

Background Context and Education

The professional progress of Lev Vygotsky was not easy due to the complicated political situation at the time of his activity. Being born to a Jewish family in Belarus in 1896, this prominent scientific community member lived through the Russian Revolution, World War I, and the Stalin era (MacBlain, 2018). However, his successful career during this period was connected to the study at the Moscow University, where he showed himself remarkably intelligent (MacBlain, 2018). After graduation, Vygotsky decided to explore the interrelation between psychology and education (MacBlain, 2018). Unfortunately, his life was short, and he died of tuberculosis in 1934 (Taber, 2020). Nevertheless, this leader managed to become a recognized expert in the area.

Work Experiences

During the years of his work, Lev Vygotsky spent much time examining the cognitive development of people. The scholar was particularly interested in learners with difficulties and gifted students as the two extremes (Taber, 2020). At the time, he was writing papers on this topic for the government, and they were subject to political censure. To read them, one had to receive a library pass from the KGB, the Soviet secret police (Taber, 2020). Therefore, Vygotsky’s ideas became known to the public many years after his death. What is more important, the psychologist used to write in English alongside his Russian works (Taber, 2020). This fact allows concluding on his intention to cooperate with other activists around the world.

Notable Contemporaries/Relationships and His Importance for Psychology

The activity of Lev Vygotsky complemented the ideas of his contemporaries. Thus, he collaborated with Alexander Luria, who adopted and helped promote the theory behind cognition (Taber, 2020). The psychologist’s perspective on this problem also corresponded to Jean Piaget’s perceptions working on social constructivism (Devi, 2019). Their methods differ due to Piaget’s more global approach and focus on peers in contrast to Vygotsky’s orientation on more knowledgeable adults (Devi, 2019). Yet, the apparent link between their writings makes the Soviet scholar worthy of note in the field, and the relevance of his insights with regard to the present reality adds to their current significance.

Major Accomplishments

The contribution of Lev Vygotsky to developmental psychology was the creation of the theory of social constructivism. This idea emerged in the process of observation of children acquiring knowledge from the environment (Taber, 2020). According to the researcher, the elaborated sociocultural approach emphasized the government’s role in it because it was instilling values and beliefs (Taber, 2020). The most exciting fact about this work is the conditions of oppression, which affected Vygotsky’s views (MacBlain, 2018). Moreover, he elaborated on the concept of the zone of proximal development, which highlighted the importance of guidance in studying (Taber, 2020). Therefore, the scholar’s thought tremendously influenced the global academic community’s perceptions and made him one of the leading professionals of his time.


In conclusion, the life struggles of Lev Vygotsky did not prevent him from becoming one of the leading figures in developmental psychology. On the contrary, the government’s oppression served as a motivation to study the impact of instilled values, develop the sociocultural theory, and collaborate with other researchers. Therefore, it can be concluded that Vygotsky’s discovery is the consequence of a unique experience of a person living under the mentioned conditions.


Devi, K. S. (2019). Constructivist approach to learning based on the concepts of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Journal of Indian Education 44(4), 5-19. Web.

MacBlain, S. (2018). Learning theories for early years practice (1st ed.). Sage.

Taber, K. S. (2020). Mediated learning leading development – The social development theory of Lev Vygotsky. In B. Akpan & T. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Science education in theory and practice (pp. 277-291). Springer.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Developmental Psychology: Lev Vygotsky." October 10, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Developmental Psychology: Lev Vygotsky." October 10, 2023.