THE ORIGINS AND MAIN FEATURES OF THE SAINT PETERSBURG PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENTIFIC SCHOOL
The Saint Petersburg Psychological School (SPPB) has a long prehistory connected to the anthropological tradition of Russian philosophy and science. The main principle of this school is an anthropological one: psychological functions and behavior derive from the sociobiological nature of human beings.
The great Russian scientist Vladimir M. Bekhterev was a founder of the SPPS in the 20th century. He created a new psychological theory known as reflexology. His psychological researches were conducted in the anthropological context: behavior depends on the integrative structure of personality, including genetic factors, morphology, and physiology on the one hand and the sociocultural experiences of personality on the other hand. In order to further the psychological research and education Bekhterev founded the Psychoneurological Institute and the Institute of the Brain (1928-1948). These institutes were based upon the so-called complex approach to psychology and behavior which represents a concrete realization of the anthropological principle.
After Bekhterev’s death in 1927 his principles and ideas were given further elaboration at a new level of science by his followers and pupils, foremost among them Boris G. Ananiev (1907-1972). Ananiev developed the original anthropo-psychological theory based on his extensive research into the problems of intellect and sensible cognition, character and personality, and personality development. In his theory, psychic development is treated as an integral part of the total development of the human being as a natural psychophysical organism (individual) which is intertwined with the individual’s psychosocial personality. The highest level of development he named individuality. This term points to a high level of self-regulation, harmony of the personality structure, and creativity. Ananiev emphasized the role of the objective laws of development together with the self-activity of personality.
Ananiev founded the faculty of psychology in the Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) University and created his own scientific school, which grew into the core of the modern scientific psychological school known as Saint Petersburg School. Ananiev’s scientific program, which was started in 1966, investigated the dynamics of various psychophysiological functions, the structure of personality in adulthood, connections between intellect and personality, and the organic bases of all of these.
© 2008 Victor Karandashev