Leontiev A. N., "Theory of activity": briefly about the main

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Leontiev A. N., "Theory of activity": briefly about the main
Leontiev A. N., "Theory of activity": briefly about the main

A. N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinstein are the creators of the Soviet school of psychology, which is based on the abstract concept of personality. It was based on the works of L. S. Vygotsky devoted to the cultural-historical approach. This theory reveals the term "activity" and other related concepts.

History of creation and main provisions of the concept

S. L. Rubinstein and A. N. Leontiev created the theory of activity in the 30s of the twentieth century. They developed this concept in parallel, without discussing or consulting with each other. Nevertheless, their work turned out to have much in common, since scientists used the same sources in the development of psychological theory. The founders relied on the work of the talented Soviet thinker L. S. Vygotsky, and the philosophical theory of Karl Marx was also used to create the concept.

AN Leontiev is giving a lecture

Main thesis of activity theoryA.N. Leontieva briefly sounds like this: it is not consciousness that forms activity, but activity forms consciousness.

In the 30s, on the basis of this provision, Sergei Leonidovich determined the main position of the concept, which is based on a close relationship between consciousness and activity. This means that the human psyche is formed during activity and in the process of work, and in them it manifests itself. Scientists pointed out that it is important to understand the following: consciousness and activity form a unity that has an organic basis. Aleksey Nikolaevich emphasized that this connection should in no case be confused with identity, otherwise all the provisions that take place in the theory lose their force.

So, according to A. N. Leontiev, "activity - the consciousness of the individual" is the main logical relationship of the whole concept.

Human consciousness

Main psychological phenomena of the theory of activity by A. N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinshtein

Each person unconsciously reacts to an external stimulus with a set of reflex reactions, but activity is not among these stimuli, since it is regulated by the mental work of the individual. Philosophers in their presented theory consider consciousness as a certain reality that is not meant for human self-observation. It can manifest itself only thanks to the system of subjective relations, in particular, through the activity of the individual, in the process of which he manages to develop.

Aleksey Nikolaevich Leontiev clarifies the provisions voiced by his colleague. He says the human psyche is built ininto his activity, it is formed thanks to it and manifests itself in activity, which ultimately leads to a close connection between the two concepts.

Personality in the theory of activity of A. N. Leontiev is considered in unity with action, work, motive, goal, task, operation, need and emotions.

The concept of activity of A. N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinshtein is a whole system that includes methodological and theoretical principles that make it possible to study the psychological phenomena of a person. The concept of activity of A. N. Leontiev contains such a provision that the main subject that helps to study the processes of consciousness is activity. This research approach began to take shape in the psychology of the Soviet Union in the 1920s. In the 1930s, two interpretations of activity were already proposed. The first position belongs to Sergei Leonidovich, who formulated the principle of unity cited above in the article. The second formulation was described by Alexei Nikolaevich together with representatives of the Kharkov psychological school, who determined the commonality of the structure, affecting external and internal activities.

Sergey Leonidovich

Basic concept in the theory of activity by A. N. Leontiev

Activity is a system that is built on the basis of various forms of implementation, expressed in the attitude of the subject to material objects and the world as a whole. This concept was formulated by Aleksey Nikolaevich, and Sergei Leonidovich Rubinshtein defined activity as a set of any actions that are aimed at achieving the set goals.goals. According to A. N. Leontiev, activity plays a paramount role in the mind of the individual.

Structure of activity

Kinds of activities

In the 30s of the twentieth century, in the psychological school, A.N. Leontiev put forward the idea of ​​the need to build a structure of activity in order to complete the definition of this concept.

Structure of activities:

Number Start of chain End of chain
1 / 3 Activities Motive (usually an item of need)
2 / 2 Action Target
3 / 1 Operation Objective (becomes a goal under certain conditions)

This scheme is valid from top to bottom and vice versa.

There are two forms of activity:

  • external;
  • internal.

External activities

External activity includes various forms, which are expressed in subject-practical activity. In this form, the interaction of subjects and objects takes place, the latter are openly presented for external observation. Examples of this form of activity are:

  • mechanics work with tools - this can be driving nails with a hammer or tightening bolts with a screwdriver;
  • production of material objects by specialists on machine tools;
  • children's games that require extraneous things;
  • room cleaning:sweeping floors with a broom, wiping windows with a rag, manipulating pieces of furniture;
  • Building houses by workers: laying bricks, laying foundations, inserting windows and doors, etc.

Internal activities

Internal activity differs in that the interactions of the subject with any images of objects are hidden from direct observation. Examples of this kind are:

  • solution of a mathematical problem by scientists using mental activity inaccessible to the eye;
  • an actor's inner work on a role that involves thinking, worrying, worrying, etc.;
  • the process of creating a work by poets or writers;
  • composing a script for a school play;
  • mental guessing of a riddle by a child;
  • emotions caused in a person when watching a touching film or listening to soulful music.


Every activity has a motive

The general psychological theory of activity by A. N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinshtein define the motive as an object of human need, it turns out that in order to characterize this term, it is necessary to refer to the needs of the subject.

In psychology, the motive is the engine of any existing activity, that is, it is an impetus that brings the subject into an active state, or the goal for which a person is ready to do something.


The need for a general theory of A.N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinshtein has two transcripts:

  1. Need isa kind of "internal condition", which is a prerequisite for any activity performed by the subject. But Aleksey Nikolaevich points out that this type of need is in no way capable of causing directed activity, because its main goal becomes orienting-exploratory activity, which, as a rule, is directed to the search for such objects that would be able to save a person from the experienced desires. Sergei Leonidovich adds that this concept is a "virtual need", which is expressed only within oneself, so a person experiences it in his state or feeling of "incompleteness".
  2. Need is the engine of any activity of the subject, which directs and regulates it in the material world after a person meets an object. This term is characterized as "actual need", that is, the need for a specific thing at a certain point in time.

"Objectified" need

This concept can be traced on the example of a newly born caterpillar, which has not yet met with any specific object, but its properties are already fixed in the mind of the chick - they were transmitted to it from the mother in the most general form at the genetic level, therefore he has no desire to follow any thing that will be in front of his eyes at the time of hatching from the egg. This happens only during the meeting of the caterpillar, which has its own need, with the object, because it does not yet have a formed idea about the appearance of its desire inmaterial world. This thing in the chick fits on the subconscious mind under the scheme of a genetically fixed exemplary image, so it is able to satisfy the needs of the caterpillar. This is how the imprint of a given object, suitable for the desired characteristics, takes place as an object that satisfies the corresponding needs, and the need takes on an "objective" form. This is how a suitable thing becomes a motive for a certain activity of the subject: in this case, in the following time, the chick will follow its "objectified" need everywhere.

Little goose

Thus, Alexey Nikolaevich and Sergey Leonidovich mean that the need at the very first stage of its formation is not such, it is at the beginning of its development the need of the organism for something that is outside the body of the subject, despite that it is reflected on his mental level.


This concept describes that the goal is the directions for the achievement of which a person implements certain activities in the form of appropriate actions that are prompted by the motive of the subject.

Differences in purpose and motive

Aleksey Nikolaevich introduces the concept of "goal" as the desired result that occurs in the process of planning a person of any activity. He emphasizes that the motive is different from this term, because it is that for which any actions are performed. The goal is what is planned to be done to realize the motive.

As reality shows, ineveryday life, the terms given above in the article never coincide, but complement each other. Also, it should be understood that there is a certain connection between the motive and the goal, therefore they are dependent on each other.

A person always understands what is the purpose of the actions performed or proposed by him, that is, his task is conscious. It turns out that a person always knows exactly what he is going to do. Example: Applying to a university, taking pre-selected entrance exams, etc.

Motive in almost all cases is unconscious or unconscious for the subject. That is, a person may not guess about the main reasons for performing any activity. Example: an applicant really wants to apply to a particular institute - he explains this by the fact that the profile of this educational institution coincides with his interests and the desired future profession, in fact, the main reason for choosing this university is the desire to be close to his girlfriend, who studies at this university.


Analysis of the subject's emotional life is a direction that is considered the leading one in the theory of activity by A.N. Leontiev and S.L. Rubinshtein.

Sergei Leonidovich Rubinstein

Emotions are a person's direct experience of the meaning of a goal (a motive can also be considered the subject of emotions, because on a subconscious level it is defined as a subjective form of an existing goal, behind which it is internally manifested in the individual's psyche).

Emotions allow a person to understand whatin fact, are the true motives of his behavior and activities. If a person achieves the goal, but does not experience the desired satisfaction from this, that is, on the contrary, negative emotions arise, this means that the motive has not been realized. Therefore, the success that the individual has achieved is actually illusory, because that for which all the activity was undertaken has not been achieved. Example: an applicant entered the institute where his beloved is studying, but she was expelled a week before, which devalues ​​the success that the young man has achieved.

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