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An International Series
Editorial Board
J erome S. Bruner, Center for Cognitive Studies, Harvard University,
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Paul Fraisse, Institute of Psychology, University of Paris
A. R. Luria, University of Moscow, Moscow, USSR
Karl Pribram, Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Palo Alto, California
Arthur Sommerfield, Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, London
Oliver L. Zangwill, Psychological Laboratory, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England
B. V. Zeigarnik
Moscow State University
Moscow, USSR
B. V. Zeigarnik. 1972
V. D. Nebylitsyn 1972
A. N. Sokolov. 1972
Translated by Timothy C. Brock
Psychology Department
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
In preparation:
A. A. Smirnov
B/yuma ~u/'fovna Zeigarnik is Professor of Psychology at Moscow State University She
was 9ra uated In 1927 from the University of Berlin. For many years Professor' Zei-
garnlk h~s been the director of the Psychological Laboratory of the Moscow .
of Psychiatry of the Ministry of Public Health of the RSFSR Sh I t Institute
and abnormal hi' e ec ures on general
psyc 0ogy. Her recent research has been concerned with the pathology
of thought and personality.
Inrecent years psychologyhas considerably expandedanden-
riched its relations withmedical practice, first andforemost with
psychiatry. This orientation towardexperimental abnormal psy-
chologyhas beenclosely tiedtothepractical tasks of psychiatry:
differential diagnosis, establishment of thestructure andextent of
impairment, andthedynamics of mental disorders as affectedby
treatment, etc.
Experimental abnormal psychologyhasbeennoless important
for thetheoretical problems of psychology andpsychiatry. The
studyof pathological changesinmental processes helps indealing
withquestions aboutthestructure andformation of mental activity.
Theresearch findingsof abnormal psychologyalso haveimportant
implications for overcomingbiologizingtendencies intheinterpre-
tationof humanpsychology.
Thepresent bookdoes nottry toprovideanexhaustive expo-
sition of all divisions of abnormal psychology. It introduces the
reader onlytothoseproblems whichat thepresent time seemto
bebest workedoutexperimentally: thebreakdownof intellectual
capacity, thought disorders, themethodologyof settingupanex-
periment inthepsychiatric clinic, andcertain questions relating
tomotivational disturbances andpsychological growthanddecay.
Somerewritten sections fromtheauthor's earlier book, "The
Pathology of Thinking," havebeenincluded.
~he ~riginal Russian text, published by Moscow University Press in Moscow in 1969
as e7 n r~vlsed. and corrected by the author for the present edition The En liSh
translation is published under an agreement with Mezhdunarodnaya Kni~a. the S~viet
book Export Agency.
3eiirapHHK 6J 1IOMa ByJ lbljJ oBHa
1972 PlenumPress, New York
A Division of PlenumPublishing Corporation
227West 17th Street, NewYork, N.Y. 10011
United Kin~~o.medition published by PlenumPress, London
A DIvIsion of PlenumPUblishingCompany LId
Davis House (4th Floor), 8 Scrubs Lane, Harlesden, NW10SSE,'London, England
No part of this publication maybe reproduced in anyform
without written permission from the publisher
Thepresent volumeis intendedfor psychology students, for
psychologists, andfor physicians workinginpsychiatry.
Research inexperimental psychologybytheauthor andher
colleagues constitutes thefactual basis for thebook's theses. This
research wascarried outintheLaboratory of Experimental Ab-
normal Psychologyof theMoscowInstitute of Psychiatry, which
for manyyears has beenthecore program of theSchool of Psy-
chologyat MoscowStateUniversity.
I amsincerely grateful tothestaff of theInstitute andespe-
cially tomycolleagues at theLaboratory. I wouldalsoliketo
express mygratitude tothephysicians andpsychologists at the
GannushkinPsychoneurological Hospital Number 4for their un-
ceasing assistance.
Chapter 1
Subject Matter andTasks of Abnormal Psychology.
Chapter 2
Historical Outline
Chapter 3 . .
Fundamentals of Experimental DesIgnIII
Abnormal Psychology . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 4
Disturbances inIntellectual Capacity .
Chapter 5
Disturbances of Thinking.. .. .. ".. .. .. .. .. ".. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Chapter 6
Personality Disturbances intheMentallymand
Relevant Research Techniques . . . . . . . . .....
Chapter 7
Mental DecayandMental Growth.
Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
Personality Disturbances in the Mentally III
and Relevant Research Techniques
Analysis of anymanifestation of mental disorder requires taking
intoaccount thepersonality peculiarities of thepatient. Thisap-
proach is dictatedbythefundamental principles of contemporary
materialist psychology. In"Being andConsciousness," S. L.
Rubinshteinstated onpage308that "in theexplanation of anymen-
tal phenomenapersonality is involvedas anaggregate of internal
conditions whichareboundtogether andthroughwhichall external
influences arereflected."
Instudyingmental changeit is necessary totakepersonality
intoaccount for still another reason, namely, that mental illness
frequently affects theentire personality byaffecting needsystems
andemotional-voluntary components. Inthemeantime, research
inabnormal psychologyhas beenbasically concerned withdisor-
ders of cognitiveactivity. Theexperimental techniques for study-
ingpersonality changeshavebeeninsufficiently developed. This
is partially attributable totheinsufficient development of theprob-
lemof personality structure ingeneral psychology.
Onemust acknowledgethat foreignpsychologists havedevoted
mucheffort totheproblemof personality andits pathology. How-
ever this research has beencarried outmainlybypsychologists
with apsychoanalytic inclination andpsychologists adheringin
somewayor another to"verstehen psychology" or tothephilos-
ophyof existentialism.
Sovietpsychologists (A. N. Leont'ev, S. L. Rubinshtein) believe
that personality is aproduct of historical development, of thede-
velopment of relationships betweentheindividual andsociety, of
relationships "betweenthesubject andtheworldof man" (Leont'ev).
Leont'ev emphasizes that inpersonality formation, it is notthepro-
cesses of adaptationtotheenvironment whichare important, but
theprocesses of mastering humanexperience.
Whilestudyingpersonality formation inchildren, L. 1. Bozho-
vichdwelt onits tendencytohaveaspecific direction whichforms
thebasis for thelifelongdevelopment of areliable andstable mo-
tivational system. lnthepersonalityformationprocess, thedominant
role is playedbythechild's awareness of theplacewhichheoc-
cupies inasystemof social relationships, his "internal" position.
It is already evidentfromthese basic tenets of theoretical
psychologyhowcomplexthepsychological structure of personality
is. It is boundupwiththeindividual's needsandgoals, withhis
emotional andvolitional peculiarities. Regardless of thefact that
thelatter properties are thoughtbypsychologists tobeprocesses,
inessence, they are components of personality. Theindividual's
personality is formedandmanifested inhis activity, deeds, and
behavior. Hisneeds, bothmaterial andspiritual, reflect his rela-
tionshipwiththesurrounding environment andpeople. Weevalu-
ateanindividual personality mainly bycharacterizing theinterests
whichcomposeit andthecontent of its desires andneeds. We
judgeanindividual accordingtothemotives behindhis acts and
bythosephenomenaof lifetowhichheis indifferent. Whatmakes
himgladandwhat arehis thinkinganddesires aimedat?
Thefollowingindicateimpendingchanges inpersonality: the
interests of apatient declineunder theinfluenceof disease; his
needs diminish; hebecomes indifferent toprevious sources of ex-
citement; his behavior is deprived of purposiveness; his actions
becomesenseless; hestops controlling his behavior, andheis no
longer abletoappropriately evaluate his opportunities.
Fromeverythingwehavesaid sofar, it followsthat research
onpersonality, andits formation andchange, is exceedingly com-
plex andmanysided; it maybecarried outinvarious modes and
directions. Hence, first andforemost, it is important tolookat
thoseareas of personality research whichat present are most de-
velopedinageneral theoretical sense. Amongthemost theoret-
ically well-developed problems are thequestions of motives, atti-
tudes, andpersonality goals.
Withoutgoingintodetail ontheproblemof thestructure of
needs andmotives, onemust notethat inthewritings of Soviet
psychologists (A.N. Leont'ev, S. L. Rubinshtein) thesocial nature
of personality needshas beenemphasized. It is thoughtthat these
needs findtheir satisfaction inactivity, that thedevelopment of
needs occurs viathedevelopment of production, andthat anyac-
tivity initself generates needs. Inour studyof personality distur-
bances wetry toproceed fromthesebasic positions as developed
Ontheother hand, wepropose that thestudyof thepathology
of personality canturn outtobehelpful inanalyzingthestructure
of normal personality. Thepersonality changes observable inpsy-
chiatric practice are multifarious andall of this has beenadmi-
rably described inthetextbooks of psychiatry. For thesakeof
illustration wewill briefly discuss several suchdescriptions.
Inthesevolumeswefindvery colorful descriptions of epi-
leptics andthechanges intheemotional-volitional areas which
are characterized bypronouncedinertness andrigidity. Thepa-
tients constantly turnedtooneandthesameemotion, oneandthe
same notion; theyconcentrate ~minsignificant phenomena. This
emotional rigidity is expressed inthepedantic behavior of these
patients; thepatients are unabletoaccept anychanges inthelife-
style that theyhaveestablished. Pedantic intheir work, theyare
inclined tocarry outonlyonetypeof activity whichtheydowith
special thoroughness. This emotional inertness inepileptics is
associated withthequick onset of irascibleness as well as anin-
clination toaffectivedischarges andmoodchanges. Asaresult,
thepatients behaveinappropriately andsometimes inflict harmon
other people. Egocentrismandnarrowness of interests character-
izeepileptics. Atthesametimetheycanhaveanexaggerated po-
liteness, anobsequiousness bordering onhypocrisy. (Thistypeof
patient wasdepictedbyDostoevski inhis character Smerdyakov.)
Thesecharacterological features are determined toalarge
extent bythepatient's response tohis inferiority. Thishas been
shownbyA. P. Osipovinhis "Handbookof Psychiatrv."
Inthepsychiatric clinic wefindanother kindof personality
disturbance manifested as increased lability of emotional reac-
tions, lack of self-criticism withrespect toone's actions, anda
weakeningincognitiveregulation akintothat foundinchronic al-
coholism. Thepatients becomeself-confident, boastful, inclined
tostupidjokes, andtheir behavior is bereft of purposiveness while
their actions are unmotivatedandunjustified.
Theabsence of self-criticism has beendescribed bymany
psychiatrists inanalyzingthepersonality of patients withprogres-
siveparalysis. Thepatients display asort of excitedcomplacency,
theydeclare that theyare inwonderful health andthat theyhave
unusual abilities. Their excited moodeasily changes intoonethat
is capricious andirritated; these patients cancry at atrifle but all
at oncethey becomecalm.
Thesuggestibility of these patients hasbeendescribed in
great detail: theyeasily succumbtopersuasion andtheydofrivo-
lous things. E. A. Gilyarovskii usedtobring suchapatient into
his lectures. Thismanbrokeawindowinfront of everybody and
tookavasethat hedidn't needmerely because it waspleasing to
him; another patient boughtaset of dishes for his wife, usingup
all themoneyhehadandleavinghis wholefamilywithout any
moneyfor food.
Sometimes patients' ethical sensitivity is blunted; they are
indifferent totheir neighbors; thegrief of their friends does not
touchthemnor are theyaffectedbytheir ownunhappinesses; they
are careless andindifferent bothtothemselves andtoothers.
Their behavior is bereft of purposiveness andself-direction.
Psychiatrists havedevotedmuchattentiontothekindsof per-
sonality disturbance whichare observed indifferent forms of
schizophrenia. Thefeelings of schizophrenics losethequality of
belongingtoaparticular "ego." Thesepatients haveaspecial
relationship totheworldaroundthemthat includes anautistic
alienation frompeople. Thepatients liveintheworldof their own
illusionary experiences without takinganinterest inreal relation-
ships aroundthem. Theyincorrectly interpret theenvironment.
Their emotional reactions are distorted, their development dull.
Peoplewhousedtobedelicate andmodest becomecrude, shame-
less, andunrestrained. Thefrigidity andcoldness of their feelings
is noticeable; thepatients canlaughevenwhiletelling aboutthe
deathof persons whowereclose tothemandwhentheyreceive a
visit fromrelatives theydon't ask about anything. Theyare indif-
ferent tolife andtopeople. Emotional dullness forms theback-
groundfor thepatient's negativism. Thisconsists innegativere-
action tostimulation; whenheis greetedhehides his handsbehind
his back anddoesnotreply toquestions. Theposes andgestures
of thepatient frequently suffer fromparadoxicalness andwhimsi-
cality. Sometimesthebehavior of thepatient becomes impulsive;
without justification hebegins towhistleor tomakegrimaces dur-
ingaconversation. Thepatients interpret theenvironment ina
peculiar way; anyevent canacquire aspecial meaningfor them:
"if someoneonthewardpickedupanewspaper, this means that
that person must bekilled."
It is evidentfromthis rather sketchydescription, that the
personality changeswhichare observedintheclinic are extremely
diverse. It is very difficult toqualifythese changes interms of
scientific psychologybecause thepsychologyof personality is in-
sufficiently developedonthetheoretical level. There are twofew
concepts andtechniques for personality research. Therefore it
seems advisableinour further discussion todwell onexperimen-
tal approaches topersonality andonthosefindingswhichhave
beenbrought tolight withthese techniques.
Onewayof studyingpathologyof personality is toobserve the
behavior of thepatient during anexperiment. Evenwhenthepa-
tient has "accepted" thetask, or its instructions, it is possible
toobserve theadequacyor inadequacyof his personality. Anyex-
periment inpsychologycanserve as anindicator of theemotional-
volitional properties of personality.
Every investigation must takeattitudes andmotives intoac-
count. Thispoint of viewwas enunciatedinthe1930'sbyV. N.
Myasishchev. Hepointedoutthat attitudes exist at twolevels;
attitudes generatedbytheexperimenter andattitudes elicited by
thetask itself.
Manypatients haveanattitude towardtheexperimental situa-
tion. Someperceive theexperimental situation as somekindof
test of their intellectual capacity. Frequently patients consider
that theresults of theresearch will affect howlongtheyhaveto
stay inthehospital or what treatment will beselected for them
or towhichgroupof patients theywill beassigned. Therefore the
experimental situation itself promotes theactualization of acer-
tain attitude. So,for example, somepatients, fearing that their
badmemories will bediscovered, declare that "they alwaysre-
membered thingspoorly." Inother instances, therequirement to
docalculations elicits thecomment that they "could never doarith-
metic." Anytask, evenaneasy one, canprovokeapersonality re-
actionintheexperimental situation.
Insomeof our patients (for example, duringdiagnosis) anori-
entationtoward illness developsinwhichthepatient tries toex-
press his intellectual incapacity, Le., hedoes notdothetask. This
motive, of course, is inconflict withtheappropriate motiveas
stimulated bythetask itself. Asaresult theintellectual behavior
of thepatient turns outtobecomplex, tohavetwoforces working,
but, all thesame, it is structurally intact. Thepatients custom-
arily solvetheproblemcorrectly tothemselves, butthentheyde-
liberately distort theanswer giventotheexperimenter (findings
of S. Ya. Rubinshtein).
Inother instances theattitude generated bythetask itself pre-
dominates. Thetask contains anintrinsic instigation toself-criti-
cismandself-control; that is, thetask makes sensefor thepatient.
Herethetask addresses itself, as it were, totheindividual's self-
esteemandhis level of personality aspiration; it seems as if the
drivetosolvetheproblemis justified andobjectifiedfor theindi-
vidual. This motivational push, whichmobilizes theintellectual
resources of theindividual, makes theexperimental methodfunda-
mentally dependable.
reactions. Theydidnotreact tothecomments of theexperimenter
whenhepointedouttheir mistakes.
Thepsychopaths' behavior wascompletely different. Atthe
beginningof this experiment, thewaystheyactedandworkedwere
analogous tothebehavior of normal individuals. However, this be-
havior changedsharply whenmistakes occurred: thepatients be-
cameirritable, frequently interrupted their work, anddidnotcarry
it tocompletion.
Wehadtheopportunitytoobserve similar behavior inpatients
withsymptoms of irritable weakness andasthenia. However, in
these patients, theaffectivereaction wasnotsostrongly expressed.
However, inchildrenwithserious asthenia, difficulties incarrying
out atask frequently caused depression andtears.
Observingthebehavior of thesubject duringanexperiment
makes it possibletoevaluatehis critical ability andhis capacity
for self-control. Patients frequently point outthat it is interesting
tocheck onhowwell theycanremember. It evenfrequently happens
that apatient, whileworkingonatask, is thefirst torecognize that
hehas anintellectual insufficiency andhereacts toit inanappro-
priate manner. Itfollowsthat thebehavior andutterances of the
patient andhis reaction totheexperimental situation, canserve as
material for analyzinghis personality dispositions andtheextent
towhichahealthypersonality has beenpreserved.
Another methodological approachtothestudyof personality
changeis themediatedmanifestation of changewiththehelpof
techniques directed at studyingcognitiveprocesses. This tactic
seems fullycorrect andjustified, for cognitiveprocesses donot
exist divorcedfrompersonality orientations andfromthepatient's
needs andemotions. Intreating motives andtheinstigation of
thinking, S. L. Rubinshtein, inhis book"Concerning Thoughtand
Waysof StudyingIt," notedthat "the basic question concerns the
sources fromwhichagivencognitiveprocess stems" (page87).
Aswealready saidinChapter 5, research onabnormal think-
inghas shownthat somekinds of disturbances are essentially ex-
pressions of thecognitiveconfusionwhichis characteristic for
suchpatients. Weshowedthat theactualization of inappropriate
cognitions is innowayaself-contained process independent from
thestructure andproperties of personality, but, rather, amani-
Hence, it canhappenthat, for somepatients, whoare intact,
butwhoare suffering fromasthenia andexhaustion, theconditions
of theexperiment canstimulate activity andaffordpartial relief
fromtheexhaustion. Asaresult these patients appeared tQbe
morenormal intheexperiment thaninreal life. Sucheffects were
observed inpatients withvascular diseases of thebrain whodis-
playedbetter intellectual productionduring theexperiment thanin
nonexperimental situations.
Experience inour laboratory has shownthat observation of
patients whoare doingthemost simplified tasks canbeusedfor
evaluatingtheir attitudes. For example, inbuilding"Links cubes"
(thetechniquefocusedonthestudyof combinatorial operations),
it turned outthat schizophrenics andpsychopaths reacted indiffer-
entways. Patients withsimple schizophrenia evincednoemotional
reactions whiletheyworkedonthecube; theyworkedonthetask
itself, rather passively, andtheir mistakes didnotcueanyemotional
festation of altered orientations, attitudes, andneeds, that is, a
reflection of changed"internal conditions."
Wetried toexposit this viewinChapter 5whenwewere ana-
lyzingthat formof cognitivedisturbance whichhasbeenlabeled
"ratiocination." Asproof wecitedthefindings of T. 1. Tepenitsyna
inwhichit was shownthat it is notdisorder of intellectual opera-
tions but changeinapersonality componentwhichplays thedomi-
nantrole inthestructure of "ratiocination." Hereweonlywish
todiscuss twokinds of facts comingfromtheresearch of Tepeni-
tsyna. Theauthor has shownthefollowing: 1) Thestructure of
ratiocination is diverse anddependsonthenature of thepersonal-
itydisorders. Inpatients withorganic diseases of thebrain ratio-
cinationappears as anunsuccessful compensation for intellectual
inadequacy. Inepileptics, ratiocinative reasoning is marked by
theactualization of inert connectionswithpast experience. In
other words thestructure of personality changeaffects thestruc-
ture of thecognitivedisorder. 2) Ratiocination is manifested most
readily inthose experimental situations whichformand"provoke"
aheightenedlevel of aspiration; whenexperimental tactics are ap-
pliedwhichstimulate theactivity of thepatient, andwhichprovide
anoccasionfor himtodemonstrate his attitude. Itfollows, and
theseexamples showit, that thestrategy itself of thinkingis de-
termined toaconsiderable degree bytheattitudeof theindividual.
Theattitude of theindividual is includedinthestructure of cogni-
tiveactivity. This notionis supported, moreover, byresearch on
uncritical thinkinginwhichthethoughtless judgments andincorrect
behavior of thepatients arecaused, notbyaloweredlevel of gen-
eralization, but byanindifferent andinactive attitudetowardthe
consequences of their activity.
Asimilar typeof patient, for exampleapatient withfrontal-
lobeinjury, cannot managecertain simpletasks inspiteof thefact
that his intellectual functions are relatively intact. For example,
whilethesepatients understand themetaphorical meaningof prov-
erbs andtheconditions of theinstructions, they areunabletoput
aseries of pictures depictingasimplethemeintoaconsistent
canbecarried outbythemrather easily. Insuchfashion, erro-
neous solutions of problems appear notduetoadisorder of logical
structure of thinking, but are theresult of athoughtless orientation.
Changes andalterations whichcropupinthearea of cognitiveac-
tivity appear tobeduetopersonality modifications.
This is demonstrated bythestudies of Sovietpsychologists
workinginthearea of pedagogical psychology. Thusthestudies
of L. 1. BozhovichandL. S. Slavinashowedthat thefailu::.-eof many
students toaqvanceinschool was causednotbycognitivedistur-
bancebut rather byattitudinal changesinthechildren andtheir
Torecapitulate, it canbesaidthat analysis of cognitivestrat-
egies will beincompleteif wedonottakeintoaccount theperson-
ality goals of thecognizingsubject. For, inthewords of L. S.
Vygotskii: "If wedivorce thinkingfromlifeandneedsweprevent
ourselves fromfindinganyways of showingandexplainingthe
properties andthechief significance of thinking, namely, todefine
themanner of lifeandbehavior andtochangeour behavior.,,1
Therefore it is right toexpect that theexecutionof anyexperimen-
tal task whichwasapparently directed at thestudyof cognitiveac-
tivity, could, inprinciple, provide information about thepersonal-
ityorientations of thepatient. Moreimportantly, themodelingof
theindividual's cognitiveactivity must includemodelingof his
Methodsfor indirect evaluation of personality are unlimited.
Inprinciple, anyexperimental techniquecanbeaconvenient way
todothis sincetheconstruction of anymodel of humanactivity
(andthetechniques of experimental psychologyare suchmodels)
presupposes theattitudes of theindividual.
Wewill limit ourselves toafewexamples.
Performance oneventhemost rudimentary tasks includes an
emotional component. Thestudies of E . A. Evlakhovahaveshown
that evensuchsimpletasks, as thedescription of anuncomplicated
subject of apicture, dependontheemotional status of thesubject.
Itwasfoundthat children, withfrontal lobedamage, hadaninade-
Anysimpletask whichrequires choosingandplanningcannot
becarried outbythis typeof patient and, ontheother hand, more
complextasks, whichdonotrequire adherence tosuchconditions,
1L. S. Vygotskii, "Selected Psychological lnvestigations," Moscow, lzd. APN.
RSFSR,1957, page476.
quatereaction totheemotional content of pictures. It seemedap-
propriate that disturbances of emotional orientations shouldbe
especially markedwhenpictures hadtobedescribedwhosecom-
prehension dependedchieflyonthephysical appearanceof thefig-
ures. Thepictures usedfor this purpose belongedtotheso-
calledprojective techniques. Aswehavealready pointedoutin
Chapter 3, theessence of this methodis that thetask doesnotpre-
supposeanydefinitewayof doingit; it is intendedtoreveal the
emotions, peculiarities ofpersonality andthecharacter of the
subject. Thesubject's performance is not assessable since, in
projective techniques, theproblemof right andwronganswers
arule, incarrying outthis task, thehealthysubjects expressed
their attitudes towardtheevents andpersonages inthepictures.
Theresults withsimpleschizophrenics werecompletely dif-
ferent. Incontrast tohealthypeople, thepatients inthis grouphad
nodesire tofindthecorrect interpretation. Theanswers of the
patients containedonlyformal declarations abouttheelements in
thepictures: "twopeople," "a manis sittinginanarmchair,"
"a conversation betweentwopeople." Therewereformal gener-
alizations: "rest," "a minuteof silence." Asarule, thepatients
didnotexpress their ownattitudes towardpicture themes. Toil-
lustrate, afewexamples of picture descriptions byhealthy individ-
uals andbypatients withsimpleschizophreniaare giveninTable
8. Thesedescriptions havebeentakenfromKiyashchenko's studies.
Projective techniquesareusedinother countries withadual
purpose: toestablish individual differences andtoreveal "covert
Oneof theprojective techniques, proposedbyMorganand
Murray,has beencalledtheThematic ApperceptionTest (T.A.T.).
It consists of separate pictures depictingsituations withoutany
definitecontent. AccordingtoMurray's instructions, thesubject
is toldthat his imaginationis beingstudiedandhemust compose
stories basedonthepictures.
AccordingtothewayinwhichMurray interprets theutter-
ances of thesubjects, their stories havetoberegarded as sym-
bolicreflections of their feelings andopinionsandtheir notions
concerningtheir past andfuture. AccordingtoMurray, aniden-
tificationoccurs betweenthesubject andtheherointhepicture.
Inamaster's thesis byN. K. Kiyashchenkodoneinour labo-
ratory, theinstructions tothesubject werechanged. Thesubjects
weretoldthat theproblemconcernedthestudyofperception (and
notimagination). Thesubject wasnotgivenquestionsbutwas sim-
plypresented withthefollowing"blind" instructions: "I will show
youpictures, lookat themandtell mewhat is depictedonthem."
Onlyafter thetask hadbeencompletedwasthequestionasked:
"What suggestedthis or that description? "
Thefindings of Kiyashchenko'sresearch showedthat healthy
subjects approachedthetask inorder toexplainthecontent of the
pictures. Their attempts todefinethesubject ofthepictures were
carried outbyposingandbyimitatingthedepictedpersonages. As
Table8. Examplesof Descriptions of Pictures bySchizophrenics
Healthy subjects Schizophrenics
Subject G This picture is laughable because N A man is sitting.
the physiognomy of the patient is
K A man reads abook. hold
sosmug. It seems to himthat he
ing it in his left hand; an
is doing something that isgener-
in his right hand, apipe.
ally very helpful and without a
doubt, pleasant. Otherwise he
would not be in such an emo-
tional state.
Subject M A man who isreading abook re- M Someone is relaXing.
calls asimilar event fromhis
0 A minute of silence.
ownlife (the event was pleasant
and significant) and he falls into F A man is sitting near a
areverie. round window.
Subject A A man isin an airplane. Hereads M A man sits in an armchai
abook but then he had a pleasant There is acushion onit.
recollection and his eyes wander
fromthe pictures, which change
into awindow. Undoubtedly he
recalled something pleasant which
occurred before his departure.
Peculiarities intheperception of theTATpictures byschizo-
phrenics were not associated withlowering of thelevel of general-
ization; their descriptions werenotbased onconcrete representa-
tion; onthecontrary, theyamountedtoformal contentless charac-
Kun Lewin(1890-1947) wasarepresentative of the German school of Gestalt
psychology, who, after the onset of the fascist regime, emigrated fromGermany tothe
United States. Hewasthe first to systematically develop atheory about the will and
affects and hewasoneof the first to devote experimental attention to studying the
properties of human behavior inconcrete circumstances.
Torecapitulate, themodelingof thecognitiveprocesses (the
applicationof experimental tests requiring generalization, isola-
tionofessential attributes, comparison of actualizedrelationships,
andsoforth) alwaysincludesthearousal andactualization of per-
sonality components (motivesandattitudes).
InLewin's conceptual system, it wasnecessary to distinguish two periods: the
first took place before 1933andit wasinthis periodthat hecreated his dynamic theory
of personality. Thesecond or American periodtook place after 1933, whenhis scien-
tific views began to change under the influence of American sociological psychology.
Themethods that wearegoingto describe belong tothe first period.
Incontrast tothe atomistic thinking of histime, or, asthey called it then, asso-
ciation isminpsychology, Lewinbelieved that needs rather than associations lie at the
basisof human behavior andthought. Under the heading "needs" Lewinunderstood
not biological implications but rather psychological formations which arise inconjunc-
tion with the everyday goals of the individuaL Morethan anything else, Lewinempha-
sizedthat goals andintentions belong, intheir dynamic propenies, inthe same cate-
gorywith needs. InLewin'steaching concerning needsthe question aroseconcerning
the relationship between need andobject. Heshowedthat the individual always exists
inadefinite concrete situation (according to histerminology, "in apsychological
field"), where each object occurs not initself but inrelationship to the needs and
strivings of the individual. Lewinpointed out the dynamic quality of these relation-
shipsandthat any behavior of the individual changes the "relationship of forces inthe
situation" andthis inturn affects the behavior of the individual.
Finally, oneof thewaysof studyingpersonality changeis the
applicationof techniques aimeddirectly at revealing emotional and
volitional peculiarities of thesick individual andrevealing his
changedattitudetowardtheexperimental situation. Thisgroupof
techniques stems fromresearch intheaffective-volitional area.
S. L. Rubinshtein's book"Concerning ThoughtandWaysof Study-
ingIt" states that aresearch findingwhichreveals anyessential
relationships whatsoever, canbeturned intoatechnique, intoan
instrument of subsequent investigation. Thishappenedinfact with
someof thetechniques developedfor research intheaffective-
volitional area byKurt Lewin's school. Despitethefact that Lewin's
general methodological positionis unacceptabletous, his experi-
mental techniques haveturnedouttobequiteuseful.
Hence, any experimental research requires analyzing the mutual relationships
between the individual andthe environment. Lewinemphasized that the individual is
always included intheenvironment of his situation andthat the environment itself
must beconsidered initsrelationship tothe behaving individual. The nature of these
relationships isdynamic, anddepends onthe structure of the individual's needs.
Yet Lewinresolved the question of needs asamotive force inhuman activity
fromthe idealist positionof Gestalt psychology. Forhim, aneed means some internal
psychological dynamic "charge" or "tension system," striving for discharge of relax-
ation. Discharge of this "tension system" constitutes need satisfaction, according to
Lewin. Hefailed toseethe social-historical determination of needs andhe ignored
their substantive character. Indeed even the concept itself, "psychological field," did
not mean areal objective environment, but rather the phenomenal worldthat wases-
sentially areflection of thosesame tension systems. Accordingto Lewin, volitional
behavior can beexplained by discovering the structure of the dynamic tension systems
andtheir relationships withthe "psychological field.
The idealist biases of Lewinareespecially evident inhis viewof the nature of
volitional behavior, acornerstone of his doctrine. Just ashedid not seethat needs are
socially conditioned, hedidnot perceive that volitional behavior, although it islinked
inits origins withneeds, doesnot flowdirectly fromthembut ismediated by the
awareness of the individual.
Herewewill discuss someof these inmoredetail. Afewwords
first concerningtheprinciples behindtheconstruction of suchtech-
niques. Major care must betakenthat theartificially created ex-
perimental situationfactilitates attitudeformationas muchas pos-
sible. Aswesaidabove, anyexperimental situationevokesanatti-
tudeonthepart of thesubject (hencethevery possibility of indi-
rectly studyinghis personality reactions). However, if wewant our
techniquetobeproper modelsof cognitiveprocesses inthehuman
being, thenthose methodological tactics, whichare aimedat direct
studyof personality properties, must bemodels of everyday situa-
tions, whichcompel thesubject toberesponsive.
Toachievethis goal weusedHoppe'stechnique, knowninthe
psychological literature as "study of thelevel of aspiration." It
wasproposed andstandardized intheLewinschool.
Regardless of methodological errors, the theory of Lewin played a positive role
inthe history of psychology. Lewin introduced into psychological research new param-
eters for studying the individual: he showed that it is possible to do experiments on
needs, motives, intentions, and goals. Butwhat was especially significant was the role
of Kurt Lewin and his schooL inthe development of experimental techniques applicable
to the psychology of personality. The writings of Lewin and his pupils (Dembo, Mahler,
Karsten, Hoppe) permitted the experimental discovery of relationships between the
personality and the environment and within the personaLity itself. To these internal
relationships belong the problems associated with "level of aspiration." Lewin be-
lieved that level of aspiration isformed in the process of concrete actiVity. Success
and failure play an important role in level of aspiration and it isan important person-
ality development because it is linked with self-evaluation, the activeness of the sub-
ject, and the compleXities of his affective life.
Themethodof studyinglevel of aspiration consisted in the
follOWing. Thesubject waspresented withanumber of problems
(from14to 18), whichdiffered intheir degree of difficulty. All the
tasks wereput oncards whichwere laid out infront of thesubject
innumerical order. Thedegree of difficulty of thetask corre-
spondedtothenumber onthecard.
Research donewiththis technique (F. Hoppe,M. S. Neimark,
B. 1. Bezhanishvili, E. A. Serebryakova) showedthat, as arule,
subjects choosemore difficult tasks after theyhavebeensuccess-
ful' andwhentheyhavenotbeensuccessful theyturn toeasier
tasks. Thequality of task performance affects thechoiceof the
next task.
Thetasks whichwere giventotheSlbjects couldbequitedif-
ferent incontent dependinguponthelevel of educationandtheoc-
cupationof thesubjects. For example, subjects whowere school
children or students at technical institutes couldbegivenmathe-
matical tasks; students of thehumanities, tasks requiring knowledge
inthearea of literature andart. Thetasks couldbelikepuzzles.
Inother words thecontent of thetasks hadtocorrespond tothe so-
cial andeducational level of thesubjects. Onlyunder these condi-
tions was it possible toget thesubjects torelate seriously tothe
experimental situation; onlyunder these conditionswasthere areal
Inorder tocarry outtheexperiment 12x17centimeter cards
wereprepared, andonthese cards thenumbers from1to14were
clearly written. Inaddition, astopwatchwas required. Thecards
werelaid outintworows:
Thesubject is instructed: "In front of youare cards withproblems
ontheback. Thenumber onthecard indicates degree of difficulty
of theproblem. Theproblems are arrayed infront of youinterms
of increasing difficulty. For thesolutionof eachproblemadefinite
amount of time is allottedwhichis unknowntoyou. I will monitor
timewiththehelpof astopwatch. If youdonot get theproblem
right intheallottedtime I will consider that youhavenot doneit
at all. Youmust choosewhichproblems youdoyourself." Inthis
fashion thesubject hadtheright tochoosethedifficulty of theprob-
lem. After theinstructions, thesubjects hadtochooseatask. Upon
completing eachsucceedingtask, thesubject wastold: "Andnow
choose aproblemof whatever difficulty youwant." Theexperimen-
ter set thetimefor completing thetask andafter eachproblemsaid:
"Youcompletedthis problemintime, I'mgoingtogiveyouaplus"
or: "Youdidnotget it intime, I amgivingyouaminus." Theex-
perimenter couldincrease or reduce thetimeallotted for carrying
outthetask andthus arbitrarily induceafeelingof failure or suc-
cess. Theexperimenter couldshowthat thetask was completed
correctly or, bylimiting thetime, causebadresults tobeobtained.
Thesubject chosethenext task, whether harder or easier, only
aft er theevaluationof theexperimenter. Theanalysis of theex-
perimental findings showedthat thechoiceof theproblem(its degree
ofdifficulty) dependeduponwhether theprevious problemhadbeen
donesuccessfully or not. Howeverthefeelingof success or failure
itself dependedontheattitude of thesubject towardthegoal of the
task. Subjects alwaysbeginwork withdefiniteaspirations andex-
pectations, whichare thenchangedinthecourse of theexperiment.
Thesumof these aspiratio'ns, whichshifts witheachtrial, was
called "level of aspiration" byHoppe. Thefeeling of attainment,
of success or failure, depended, consequently, not onlyonobjective
.performance but also onthelevel of aspiration. Withoutalevel of
aspiration, agiventrial performance was notfelt either as success
or failure.
Hoppe'sresearch showedthat after successful problemsolu-
tion, thelevel of aspiration rises andthesubject turns tomore
complexmaterial; after failure thelevel of aspiration slowlyde-
creases. Thework of Hoppewasthefirst experimental attempt to
studystages intheformationof aspiration under theinfluenceof
successful or unsuccessful problemsolution. Hisworkwasfol-
Thelaw for theshift of level of aspiration, as established by
Hoppe,was checkedoutbyJuknat, inhis "Achievement, Level of
Demand, andSelf-awareness." Bymodifyingthetechniquesome-
what, aseries of labyrinthproblems were developedinstead of the
individual tasks as inHoppe'sresearch. Thefirst series (tenlaby-
rinthproblems) guaranteed success, i.e., thesubject couldsolve
theproblem, hecouldfindapathfromthebeginningtotheendof
thelabyrinth. Thiswasthe"success series." Inthesecond
series, the"failure series," all theproblems (alsotenlabyrinth
problems) except thefirst wereunsolvable, that is, all paths of the
Juknat studiedtwogroups of subjects. Thefirst groupbegan
thetask withtheseries whichguaranteed success; thesecondgroup
beganwiththefailure series. It turned outthat subjects whobegan
withthesuccess series beganthesecondseries withasupposedly
moredifficult problemand, conversely, subjects whostarted with
thefailure series beganthenext series witheasier problems.
Juknat tried toshowthat thedevelopment of thelevel of aspira-
tionwaslinkedwithprior experience.
Yetfor Juknat, just asfor Hoppe, "level of aspiration" turned
outtobecompletely isolatedfromtheobjectiveinfluenceof its
Thestudies of Sovietauthors, e.g., E. A. SerebrykovaandM. S.
Neimark, attempted toshowthedependenceof level of aspiration on
thecontent of theactivity. Basingher research onHoppe,Serebrya-
kovatried toestablish theroles of successful task completionand
social evaluationinthedevelopmentof self-evaluation andself-con-
fidence. If Hoppeinhistechniqueabstracted fromreal lifecondi-
tions tothegreatest possible extent, Serebryakovatried tomaxi-
mizenaturalism. Asaresult of her research Serebryakovashowed
that thedevelopmentof self-confidence dependsuponthetypeof
self-evaluation. Usingchildren, sheestablished correlations be-
1. Reliable andappropriate self-evaluation andwell-established
self-eval uation.
2. Inappropriate reduction of self-evaluation andlack of self-
3. Inappropriate elevationof self-evaluation andself-confidence.
4. Unstable.self-evaluation andpoorly established self-evalua-
Besides this, Serebryakovadiscovered that different groups of
pupils haddifferent types of affectivereaction tosuccess andfail-
ure. Butquestions connectedwiththeemotional relationship of the
pupils totask difficultywereignoredbySerebryakova. Her research
waslimited toestablishingthenature of self-evaluation but theques-
tionconcerning therelationship betweenself-evaluation andlevel of
aspiration was notconsidered.
However, boththeseproblems were studiedinthearticle by
Neimark, "Psychological analysis of theemotional reactions of
school children tothedifficultyof their work." Neimark indicated
that totheextent that self-evaluation is developed, it begins toaf- ,
fect thebehavior of thechildanddetermines his reaction tothein-
fluenceof adults. If this evaluationis highandgivesthechildan
honorableplaceinhiscollective, thenit finallybecomes aneed.
Fromhere Neimarkwasledtoaconclusionabouttherelationship
betweenself-evaluation andlevel of aspiration. "Level of asp,ira-
tionis aneedfor adefinitely satisfying self-evaluation." Her re-
search assessed theemotional reactions of childrentotheir suc-
cess andfailure. Inher designthesubjects weredividedintofour
1. Pupils withanappropriate reaction tosuccess andfailure
(disappointment at failure andafeelingof satisfaction at
2. Pupils withaninappropriate reaction tofailure (after an
unsuccessful attempt tosolveaproblemthechildren set
out onevenmoredifficult problems, displayedresentment
towardtheexperimenter, andwererude).
Inthis fashionthestudies of Serebryakova andNeimark showed
that Hoppe'stechniquewasfeasiblefor studyingthedevelopment of
school children's attitudes. Thismethodalso turned outtobesuit-
ablefor studyingchanges intheemotional conditions of patients.
Thestudies of our colleagueV. N. Myasishchev hadalready
usedthis techniquetoilluminatethepersonality traits of hysterical
children (R. 1. MeerovichandV. M. Kondratskaya).
Usingdifferent variations of this techniqueinour laboratory,
studies of thedevelopment of level of aspiration werecarried out
(byB. 1. Bezhanishvili) inpatients withvarious mental illnesses. As
anexperimental task thesubjects were givenproblems whichmight
beregarded as indicators of certain cultural levels. Arithmetic
tasks, or other tasks requiring special skills, hadtoberejected
sincefor most peopletheydonotpermit development of amean-
ingful level of aspiration.
Inall there were 24tasks (thereweretwocards for eachlevel
of difficulty). Hereare someexamples.
1. Writethree wordsbeginningwiththeletter "Sh."
2. Writethree words beginningwiththeletter "N."
2a. Writethenames of four animals beginningwiththeletter
2b. Writethenames of four fruits beginningwiththeletter
3. Writethenames of fivecities beginningwiththeletter
3a. Writesix names beginningwiththeletter "P."
4. Writesix names beginningwiththeletter "A."
4a. Writethenames of sixnations beginningwiththeletter
5. Writethenames of three flowers beginningwiththeletter
5a. Writethenames of fivesubwaystations beginningwiththe
letter "K."
6. Writethenames of six animals beginningwiththeletter
6a. Write20wordsbeginningwiththeletter "S."
7. Writethenames of 5flowers beginningwiththeletter "G."
7a. Writethoseparts of theworldwhichbeginwiththeletter
8. Writefour names of trees beginningwiththeletter "0."
8a. Writethenames of 15cities beginningwiththeletter "M."
9. Writethenames of 10cities beginningwiththeletter "A."
9a. Writethenamesof 5films beginningwiththeletter "M."
10. Writethenames of 5authors beginningwiththeletter "S."
lOa. Writethenames of 5well-knownSovietfilmartists begin-
ningwiththeletter "L."
11. Writethenames of four composers beginningwiththe
letter "S."
lla. Writethenames of well-knownRussiancomposers, artists,
andauthors beginningwiththeletter "R."
12. Writethenames of sevenFrench artists.
12a. Writethenames of 5well-knownRussianartists beginning
withtheletter "K."
3. Pupils withinappropriate reaction to success (loweringof
thelevel of aspiration after achievingsuccess).
4. Pupils fleeingfromdifficulty (after thefirst failure the
children refused toparticipate intheexperiment).
Neimark showedtherelationship of level of aspiration tothe
material of theexperiment, shedemonstrated thenatureof the
emotional reaction inthecritical situation, andshecamecloseto
theproblemof therelationship betweenlevel of aspiration andself-
Theexperimental results obtainedwithhealthysubjects sup-
ported thefindingsof HoppeandSerebryakova. Theselection of
tasks byhealthy subjects dependedonwhether theprior tasks were
donesuccessfully or not. Theinitial level of aspiration was differ-
ent for different subjects: for somesubjects their entire behavior
was careful and"groping," whileothers developedamore or less
highlevel of aspiration immediately, as if "ontherun." However
it wasquiteevidentthat thechoiceof tasks wasdependent onhow
well theprevious task hadbeendone. Thisrelationship wasfre-
quentlynot straightforward but theelement of choicewas always
Withschizophrenics thefindingswerecompletelydifferent.
(Thesewere simpleschizophrenics whowererather dull andlist-
less). Accordingtothefindingsof Bezhanishvili, 26outof 30
schizophrenics showednorelationship betweenthechoiceof task
andprior performance. Nolevel of aspiration developednor was
there any sign of an adequate self-evaluation of abilities. The state-
ments of the patients did not have any emotional coloring whatso-
ever. Thepatients did not display embarrassment even when the
experimenter emphasized their failure.
Psychopaths were completely different when their level of as-
piration was studied; it developed very quickly and, as arule, it was
rather high. However it was characterized by fragility and instabil-
~ty: at the least failure, it fell and, at the same time, it would quickly
Increase when aproblem was solved successfully. Instudying the
psychopathic personality with this method one other feature was ob-
served, namely, affective explosiveness. Thepatients quickly be-
came irritated, their mood turned bad, they became gloomy, mali-
cious, and sometimes tore uppieces of paper that contained the ex-
perimental instructions which they deprecated, saying "stupid prob-
However, infurther work with these techniques some insuffi-
ciences with the level-of-aspiration tasks were found, especially
as they had been applied by Bezhanishvili. Inher thesis, N. K.
Kalita showed that the use of questions which allegedly reflect gen-
eral educational level, was unreliable since the questions presented
by Bezhanishvili afforded nobasis for judging the degree of difficulty
for individual subjects. It turned out that for some subjects the an-
swer to question No.8 (write four names of trees beginning with
"0") was considerably more difficult than the answer to question
No. 10(write the names of five authors beginning with the letter
"8"). Inother words, there were noclear gradations of difficulty
andcomplexity inthese questions andbecause of this, it was diffi-
cult to conduct aproper experiment. Another experiment was
thought upwhich permitted the experimenter to artificially regulate
the time for solving the problem and thereby arbitrarily determine
success andfailure. However the time control bythe experimenter
must occur within reasonable limits so that the subject doesn't sus-
pect anything. The subjects had different amounts of knowledge
about the topics of the questions: subjects sometimes succeeded
very quickly in answering questions No. 10or No. 11, while they
were unable to do ones that were actually easier. As consequence,
the experimenter's evaluation lost its significance for the subject
andhis ownself-evaluation prevailed.
Kalita concluded that it was necessary to find more objective
gradations of task complexity. Heintroduced the following varia-
tion: subjects are presented with apair of pictures which are dif-
ferent from one another interms of the number of elements (this
is akin to atest of attention). The subjects have to find the differ-
ence between them. Twelve pairs of tasks were set up and laid out
interms of increasing degrees of difficulty. As acriterion for the
difficulty of the task the investigator used the number of differences
between twopictures andthe time which was necessary for normal
subjects to find these differences (from 15seconds to 3minutes).
The subject was told that his attention was being studied.
This modification intechnique permitted Kalita to showthe fol-
lowing: (1) The development of level of aspiration depends not only
onthe evaluation of the experimenter but onthe self-evaluation of
the subject. (2) Alevel of aspiration is not formed incircumstances
inwhich the subject is still developing aworking relationship to the
experiment or when heis simply motivated tobecome acquainted
with problems.
All these data lead us to the following conclusion. Inorder that
an experiment may reveal the self-evaluation andlevel of aspira-
tion of anindividual, it must be set upin such afashion that it evokes
not only an orientation toward the content of the task but it also must
facilitate the formation of arelationship to the experimental situa-
tion andto the experimenter.
The technique of studying the level of aspiration has turned out
to befruitful ininvestigating patients with vascular diseases of the
brain. Thereactions of these patients at the beginning of the ex-
periment was adequate. They tried to test their power, they de-
manded more of themselves after successful problem solving and
returned to easier problems after failure (but these fluctuations
were not particularly sharp). However, gradually, toward the end
of the experiment, thepatients became exhausted and began to be
somewhat perplexed; at the same time they did not want to acknowl-
edge their failure. As aresult their choice of tasks became unjus-
tified; "I just don't knowwhich one I should take, youtell me,"
"How would you advise me," etc. Thepatients, as it were, trans-
ferred responsibility for choosing tasks to the experimenter. Fre-
quently the patients refused further work: "I'm tired."
Instudying the emotional-volitional behavior of children with
oligophrenia, especially interesting results were obtained. The
studies of L. Balakireva have shown that inthese children the entire
developmentof level of aspiration has arather different structure.
For themajority of oligophrenics thelevel of aspiration wasnot
appropriate totheir self-evaluation. Inspite of successful task
completion, thechildren selected less difficult tasks and, con-
versely, long-term failure didnotleadto areductionintheir level
of aspiration. Thesluggishness of their emotional reactions came
tolight inhis experiment showingthedifficultywithwhichthese
oligophrenic children changedtheir level of aspiration.
Atthesametime research has revealed another characteristic,
namely, theexceedingsensitivity tofailure. Theleast reproach by
theexperimenter ledtoacatastrophic decay inthelevel of aspira-
tionandsubsequent successful problemsolvingdidnotmakethe
level of aspiration gobackupagain. Thechildren witholigophrenia
wereespecially vulnerable totheexperimenter's assessment. This
fact underscores theunusual combinationof inertness andinstabil-
ityintheemotional-volitional sphere characteristic of oligophren-
ics andit demonstrates theimmaturity andtheinsufficiently dif-
ferentiated quality of their personality. Theparadoxical combina-
tionof inertness andsluggishness, together withinstability, is very
likely oneof thecharacteristic personality traits of oligophrenics.
Another appropriate techniquefor studyingpathological per-
sonalitychangeshas been"the studyof mental satiation" which
waslaunchedbyastudent of Lewin's, A. Karsten. Her research
focusedontheability tomaintainandtorestore theimpetusto
completesomemonotonoustask. Thesubject hastocarry outa
task, for example, drawingdashes or circles (indoingthis task a
largepileof sheets of paper isplacedinfront of thesubject). The
subject is instructed: "please drawdashes inthis fashion" (the
experimenter draws someidentical dashes or circles 00000).
If thesubject asks howmanyhehas todrawtheexperimenter an-
swers inanindefiniteandimpassive manner: "As manyasyou
want, there youhavesomepaper."
Studiescarried outbyKarsten andI. M. Solov'evshowthat at
thebeginning, thesubjects rather accurately carried outthetask
that wasassigned tothem; however, after ashort period (5to10
minutes), theybegantointroducevariations intothetask, that is,
unknowntohimself thesubject changesthetask. Thesevariations
seemedtobechanges intheexternal structure of thetask: the
dashes or circles became smaller or bigger, thesubjects changed
worktempo or drewthedashes andcircles inadefiniterhythm
(for example, 00 000 00 000). Sometimesthesubjects had
recourse toconcomitantbehavior; theybegantosing, whistle, and
taptheir feet. Thesevariations showthat theinstigation tocom-
plete anassignedbehavior begins torundownand, as Karsten ex-
pressed it, thephenomenonof "mental satiation" begins to super-
AccordingtoKarsten suchphenomena, that is, variations in
thetask, not onlyshowthat thedesire tocompletethetask is be-
ginningtofade; tosomeextent these variations perform aprophy-
lactic service; changeinthestructure of agiventask enabledthe
subject tocontinueit.
Theexperimenter conscientiously records spontaneous state-
ments of thesubject, thenature of his reactions, his mimic behav-
ior, andhis expressive movements. Inthis wayhedetermines the
point of time atwhichthenewvariations appear.
After acertain amountof time (usually20 to30 minutes), when
variations arebecomingmorefrequent andarebeginningtotakeon
asomewhat coarse character, thesubject is givennewinstructions:
"This task is monotonousfor youandit was giventoyouinorder
tostudyyour stamina. Continueit if youwant."
Thereactions of thesubjects tothese newinstructions are di-
verse. Somesubjects becomeangry: "Whydidn't youtell methat
earlier," andtheystopworking. For other subjects, however, the
newinstructions provideanewcomprehension of thesituation:
"Well, that is another matter" is frequently heard inreply.
This newcomprehensionof thetask situationoftenmakes vari-
ations becomeless frequent, less pronounced, andsometimes they
evendisappear altogether. After thenewinstructions theexperi-
menter conscientiously records theresponses andthestatements
of thesubjects andnotes, just as hedidbefore, thetimeat which
variations superveneandtheir nature. Agoodtimefor stopping
workbefore completionhas notbeenestablished. Asarule the
subjects themselves stopwork: "1can't doanymore." But some-
times some' of themare notdisposedtostopworkbecause they
frequently changetheir interpretation of thetask, or, more cor-
rectly, theyaddsomethingtoit. This is shownbothbythespon-
taneous utter'ances andtheself-awareness of these subjects. "1
wantedtoseewhowouldget fedupsooner, you(that is theexperi-
menter) or I," or "I wantedtotest myself toseehowlongI could
work onthis boring task."
Whenthis studywasdonewithhealthy adults andchildren it
was shownthat, after acertain amount of time, thesubjects intro-
ducevariations intoamonotonoustask: thevariations consist in
changes of theactivity itself, for example, thecircles are trans-
formedinto"mug" cartoons andears andhair are added. Then
pauses occur inthework, andconcomitant behavior begins tooccur.
Thechildbegins tosingandwhistle, just as if thechildren were
satiated withthemonotonouswork andwere attemptingtochange
its meaningfor themselves. Thevariations aretemporary with-
drawal fromwork andashift toactivity whichis fundamentally
similar. Solv'evfollowedKarsten inlabeling this withdrawal, that
is, this variation, "an equivalent withdrawal fromwork." The
more subtlesuchequivalences, themore they demonstrated the
flexibility of thechild's behavior.
Indoingthis experiment withmentally retarded children it
turned outthat they kept at thetask as longas healthychildren,
andit followedthat their workcapacity canappear tobeundis-
turbed. However, theunfoldingof thesatiation process revealed
peculiarities consisting inthepolarity of their reactions.
Inintellectually retarded children wefindcoarse forms of the
variations: longpauses, temporary withdrawals fromwork, even
together withstamina andendurance (especially inconnectionwith
monotonoustasks). Ontheother hand, children witholigophrenia
quicklythrowasidetheworkthat they aretired of; novariations
or changes are introduced. Suchapolarity, sonoticeableinthe
dailybehavior of oligophrenics, demonstrates theimmaturity of
their intentions.
Thismethodological techniqueturned outtobevery useful for
revealing thepersonality features of epileptics. Itturned outthat
theynotonlycanmaintainmonotonousperformance for alongtime
butthat theyintroduce fewvariations. Itwas especially interest-
ingtoobserve theresponses of patients tothesecondinstruction.
Whilethesecondinstruction imparted newmeaningtotheentire
situationfor healthy subjects, inepileptics andinchildren suffer-
ingfromoligophrenia, this kindof meaningtransformation didnot
occur. Hence, thetechniques whichweused showedthat, for adef-
initegroupof patients, theprocess of meaningformation is dis-
AswehavementionedaboveinChapter 3, interesting results
were obtainedbyusingthis methodonpatients withdisorders of
work capacity. Experimentingwithpatients withbrain trauma, we
were abletonotethat satiation occurred for themmuchmore
quickly. Whilevariations occur ontheaverage after 10minutes
for healthy subjects, thetraumatized subjects generate variations
after onlytwoor three minutes; andthesevariations are quite
crude innature. Theexperiment reveals therapid extinguishabil-
ityof mental processes insuchpatients.
Recently someother approaches tothestudyof personality
traits inmental patients begantoappear, suchas comparison of
patients' complaints abouttheir intellectual deficit withwhat has
beenrevealed experimentally. This methodological techniquewas
followedbyV. V. Kostikova, whomadeavery interesting attempt
toanalyzetheso-called "internal dynamicsof illness" inthe
mentally ill.
Thewell-knownSoviettherapist R. A. Luriyaintroduced the
concept of "internal dynamics of disease," bywhichhemeans
"all that whichthepatient experiences andfeels, theentire aggre-
gateof his sensations, notonlylocal sensations duetohis il.lness
but also his general feelingabouthimself, his self-observatIOn,
howherepresents his illness tohimself (Withrespect toits causes),
all that whichis linkedwithapproaching aphysician - that entire
internal worldof thepatient, whichconsists of very complex com-
binations of perceptions andsensations, emotions, affects, conflicts,
mental feelings, andtrauma." Heindicatedthat thebehavior and
mental processes of theindividual are changedat thevery moment
whenhelearns abouthis illness.
Luriya discussed thesignificance of studyingthe"internal
dynamics of disease" insomatic illnesses. Undoubtedlythese
dynamics playa larger role inmental illness. The.author wa~
completely right whenhepointedoutthat acomparIson of subJec-
tiveandobjectiveamnesia inthehistory of thepatient facilitates
establishing whether thepatient is awareof his disease, towhat
extent headequately appraises theburdenthat his conditionwill
befor him, andwhatfeelings are linkedwiththedisease. It ~an
benoless informativetocompare thepatient's complaints wIth
theresults of experimental research. Theexperiment is asitua-
tionthat has personal significancefor thepatient andtherefore the
relationship of thepatient toit andhis emotional response tothe
fact that his capability is beingstudiedcharacterize hispersonality.
Kostikovamadeanattempt tocompare theresults of experi-
mental research withpatient complaints. Patients withdifferent
kindsof illnesses werepresented withanumber of standard ques-
tions aimedat revealing their complaints andtheir opinionsabout
thecauses of their illness (for example, thequestions: "Howdoes
your illness showitself?" "What doyouthink is thecause of your
illness? "). Thentheusual experimental steps weretakenanda
number of experimental methodswereused (classification of ob-
jects, pictogram, memorization of tenwords, transmission of the
metaphorical meaningof proverbs, counting, andothers).
Comparison of patients' complaints withtheexperimental and
clinical evidenceenabledKostikovatoobserve different kindsof
relationships betweenthem. Insomeinstances avery crudeun-
critical attitude is observed: thepatients didnotnoticeandthey
are unabletoevaluate thesigns of their ownmental weaknesses.
Somepatients whoinconversation created theimpression of being
completely uncritical were enabledtoshowcritical ability bythe
experiment. Theseabilities weremanifested as anunstablebut,
all thesame, activepersonality disposition. Atthesametime,
there are instances of thepassive awareness of disease without
anyeffect onthedisposition of thepatient toward everyday life.
Inmanyinstances inwhichmore or less correct assessment of
their disease is available tothepatient, hetalks aboutit incor-
rectly tothedoctor. Thisfrequently signifies that there is "dis-
simulation." But suchadissimulation canhavetwomeanings; in
onecase, thepatient, whoistrying tocompensate for his defect,
doesnottalk about it, andtries tostruggle withthedisease and
tomakeagoodlifeadjustment. Inthesecondinstance thepatient
dissembles; heconceals thepathological feelings becauseheis
trying, for delirious reasons, toget discharged fromthehospital
andheacts interms of these delirious ideas.
Whatever maybethedisposition of theindividual during ex-
perimental research, if there is evenashred of interest dis-
played, it alwaysdemonstrates that personality has beenpre-
served tosomeextent.
Theproblemof personality disposition has recently been
raised bypsychologists workingontheproblemof thedevelop-
ment of personality inthechild(L. N. Bozhovich, S. L. Slavina).
Theycorrectly showthat theformation of needsintheindividual
is associated withtheavailability of awareness of theneed. There-
fore, study of changesinawareness has fundamental significance
for questions of general psychology as well.
Recently still another techniquehasbeguntoshowup, namely,
theanalysis of illness-history data. Thesedata, that is, ade-
scription of mental status, thefindings of anamnesis, diaries, etc.
are valuablematerial, whichhavebeeninsufficiently usedbypsy-
chologists. Meanwhilecasting of manyof thefactors whichhave
beendescribed byclinical psychologists intheterms of contem-
porary psychological science couldvastly facilitate theanalysis
of thestructure of needsandmotives, whichchangesomuchin
manymental patients (schizophrenia, epilepsy, chronic alcohol-
ism). This kindof analysis is beingcarried outnowinmany
studies suchasthoseof B. S. Bratuse, L. V. Bondareva, and
M. M. Kochenov.
Thecharacterization of this kindof personality disposition is
important sincetheexperiment has artificially created aperson-
ally significant situation whichfacilitates discovery of thepatient's
relationship tothedoctor, tothetreatment situation, andtohis
disease ingeneral.
Combiningpsychological techniques andpharmacological
tests has turned outtobeespecially valuableinilluminating per-
sonality properties. Thestudies of S. Ya. Rubinshteinare mov-
inginthis direction. Whileaffirming theopportunityaffordedby
applyingexperimental methodstothestudyof psychopathological
phenomena, this author states that thefollOWingmeans of con-
structing experimental techniques are most objectiveandappro-
priate totheproblems of psychiatry: 1)variation of thesituation
inwhichthepatient findshimself, 2)variation of theactivity
whichthepatient must perform, and 3)variation of thecondition
of thepatient bymeans of experimental andpharmacological
stimulation. It is possible tocombinethesetechniques inavery
productive fashion.
Rubinshtein showedthat thepatient's susceptibility tochange
andhis susceptibility topharmacological influencecanserve as
major criteria for theeffectiveness of therapy. Theauthor has
developedanumber of methodological techniques whichenable
himtocarry out suchresearch; this branch of research is ex-
tremely promising for thestudyof abnormality inpersonality.
Theenumerated research techniques for studyingpersonality
alterations are nottheonlyones. Theanalysis of socomplexa
problemmust becarried outfromdifferent points ofviewand
fromdifferent directions. However, thefundamental basis for
these studies must bethetenets of contemporary materialist
Mental Decay and Mental Growth
Knowledgeabouttherelationship betweenmental growthanddecay
is poorly developedeventhoughthis issue is very important for
psychiatric andpsychological theory andfor understanding the
structure of mental activity andtheprinciples of mental develop-
ment. Thecorrect resolution of this questionmayhelptodefeat
biologizingtendencies inpsychiatry andpsychology. Inaprac-
tical sense, this questiongenerates datafor classifying andana-
lyzingpsychopathological syndromes.
G. E. Sukharevarepeatedly citedthenecessity for anevolu-
tionary-biological approachtotheresolution of theoretical ques-
tions inpsychiatry. L. S. Vygotskii, whodevotedmuchattention
tomental development andmaturation inthechild, emphasized
theimportance of information about mental decay. Inthis connec-
tion' heindicatedthat, as far as humandevelopment andmatura-
tionare concerned, thegenetic approach, as appliedtoanimals,
cannot besimplistically extrapolated, since, inphylogenesis, the
laws of biological evolutionyieldedtotheprinciples of social-
historical development. ContinuingwithVygotskii's conceptuali-
zation, A. N. Leont'ev stated that humandevelopment consists not
inadaptationtotheenvironment but inmastering all theaccumu-
lated knowledgeof mankind.
Thequestionarises as towhether therelationship between
decay andgrowthcanberesolved inpsychologyas it is inbiology.
It is well knownthat research onanatomical andcell pathology
has established that brain disease first of all affects the"young"
formations inthecortex, that is, thoseportions whosephyloge-