Science, New Series, Vol. 74, No. 1920. (Oct. 16, 1931), pp. 383-384.
PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPEDITION TO CENTRAL ASIA
In July, 1931, the Uzbek Research Institute of Samarkand, together with the Moscow Institute of Experimental Psychology, organized the first expedition of the Soviet Union for the study of psychological characteristics of peoples in various stages of cultural development. The aim of the expedition was to investigate the variations in thought and other psychological processes of people living in a very primitive economic and social environment, and to record those changes which develop as a result of the introduction of higher and more complex forms of economic life and the raising of the general cultural level.
One special task of the expedition was to develop new methods for evaluating intellectual status of individuals in very backward communities, because the usual methods of determining intelligence are inapplicable in the very special cultural conditions influencing the intellectual processes of the members of these groups. Another task was the preparation of educational methods which could be applied to these communities, such as the teaching of counting, reading, etc.
The expedition was organized under the direction of Professor Alexander Luria, of Moscow. The members of the expedition included Mr. P. I. Leventuev; Mr. Y. N. Arbuzov; Mr. V. V. Zaharova; Mr. H. Ashrafi; Mr. A. Baiburova; Mr. L. S. Gazaryanz; Mr. A. D. Kolbin; Mr. E. N. Mordkovich; Mr. H. Hakimov; Mr. M. Hodzinova; Mr. F. N. Shemyakin; Mr. A. A. Usmanov, and Mr. R. Yussupov.
Before the expedition entered the territory, a two-months' seminar was conducted by Professor Luria in Samarkand in May and June, 1931, in which special topics were assigned, methods studied, and preliminary projects were carried out.
The expedition began its work in Uzbekistan with the native population. The chief work was done in the Alai Mountain region, and in the districts (Kishlaki) of Shahimardan, Yordan and adjacent uplands, where the people live under primitive nomadic conditions. The control territory was the region of the River Narin (Kishlak Utch-Kurgan), which has a very active cotton-raising industry and highly developed collective farming, but with a population still backward culturally.
Special attention was given to those socio-historical factors which influenced the development of the various stages of culture, and especially those changes which came as a result of the economic renascence of Central Asia. For the purposes of the research both territories were found to be very satisfactory. The following problems were taken up by members of the staff:
"The Structure of Perception in Various Stages of Cultural Development (Perception of Color, Form, and Optical Illusions) ": Mr. L. S. Sazaryanz and Mr. E. N. Mordkovich.
"The Configuration of Vision in the System of Visual Thinking": Mr. A. R. Luria, Mr. L. S. Sazaryanz, Mr. E. N. Mordkovich and Mr. V. V. Zacharova.
"Structure of Elementary Intellectual Processes in Various Stages of Historico-psychological Development": Mr. A. Baiburova and Mr. H. Hakimov.
"Verbal Logical Configurations in the System of Visual Thinking": Mr. M. Hodzinova.
"Concept Formation in Stages of Cultural Development": Mr. A. D. Kolbin.
"The Development of Causal Thinking": Mr. P. L Leventuev.
"Traditional Religious Thought in the Development of the Personality": Mr. A. D. Kolbin and Mr. H. Asharfi.
"Perception of Printed Material in a System of Visual Thinking": Mr. F. N. Shemyakin and Mr. P. Yussupov.
"Numerical Operations in a System of Visual Thinking": Mr. A. A. Usmanov and Mr. V. N. Arbuzov.
"Self Analysis and Evaluation of Other Individuals at Various Stages of Personality Development": Mr. A. R. Luria and Mr. V. V. Zacharova.
All these studies will be published in the transactions of the expedition and some subsequently in foreign psychological journals. The expedition is an attempt at collective experimental research by a group of psychologists undertaken for investigation of psychological origins in human development. A similar expedition will be organized in the summer of 1932 to continue the same work. It will have an international character, as it is planned to invite foreign psychologists to participate in it. All inquiries should be addressed to Professor A. R. Luria, Serebryani Pereulok 5, kv. 1, Moscow, U. S. S. R.
Science, New Series, Vol. 78, No. 2018. (Sep. 1, 1933), pp. 191-192.
THE SECOND PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPEDITION TO CENTRAL ASIA
THE second psychological expedition to central Asia which took place in the summer of 1932 had for its aim extension of researches which were undertaken by the first expedition in 1931. The fundamental aim was the study of those peculiarities of the psyche which are the result of various historical conditions and to trace out the fundamental laws in development of psychological processes. In this respect central Asia is of exceptional interest on account of the residuals of primitive economic conditions which are now undergoing tremendous industrial, political and cultural transformation. This change gives opportunity not only for the studying of the peculiarities of psychological processes under various conditions, but also, what is more important, the very dynamics of the transition from the more elementary psychological laws to the more complex processes. Just as .in the first expedition the study was undertaken in the region of Uzbekistan, in which were specially chosen the more primitive Kishlaks districts as far as their economic, cultural and social conditions were concerned, such as the Kishlaks of Shahimardan and Jordan and the grazing kirgiz lands in the Altai Mountains, as contrasted with the Kishlaks of Palman with a thorough collectivization, well-developed cultural work and high industrial organization.
In contradistinction to the first expedition not only the adults were studied, but also the Kishlak youth on whom the cultural changes must have made a special impression.
The expedition was organized by the State Psychological Institute of Moscow, the Psychological Section of the Ukrainian Psychoneurological Academy of Kharkov and the Department of Education of the Uzbek Pedagogical Academy. The expedition was also backed by People's Commissariat of Education, of the Uzbek Socialist Soviet Bepublie and the Government of Uzbekistan.
The immediate aim of the expedition consisted in the further study of the system of thinking which is characteristic of primitive societies, the development of the psychological functions in their thinking and to point out those changes which this thinking undergoes in social and cultural transformation connected with socialistic growth. In the account of the first expedition it was shown that in the primitive community life one finds a specific system of thinking which is characterized by its own structure and by a ^different role which speech takes in it. A fact was noted that the main function of this thinking is not the formation of abstract connection and relationship between symbols, but reproduction of whole situations, whole complexes closely connected with specific life experiences; it was pointed out that separate psychological operations, such as memory, comparison, generalization and abstraction, are formed in this type of thinking quite differently, and that with the change of economic conditions this situational or complicated thinking very quickly becomes changed, giving place to other more complex forms of thought. It was the aim of the second expedition to study in more detail the characteristics of the structure of the "situational" thinking and its various functions as well as a study of those paths along which the transformation of the situational thinking takes place by the development of thought into concepts under the influence of such new molding forces as collectivization, cultural development, literature, etc. In this field the following problems were undertaken:
(1) Professor A. R. Luria, in cooperation with Bagautdinov, "The Structure of Situational Thinking and the Lines of its Modifications."
(2) Professor Kurt Koffka, together with G. Ashrafy, "Investigation of Perception in Various Historical Cultural Phases."
(3) Professor P. Leventueff, together with Assistant Mangushova, "Investigation of Causative Thinking and its Historical Development."
(4) Docent P. H. Shemyakin, together with Assistant Nugmonov, "The Understanding of Symbols in Situational Thinking."
(5) Assistant E. N. Mordkovieh, "The Understanding of a Poster and its Meaning in Situational Thinking."
(6) Docent A. A. Ussmanov, together with E. H. Mordkovieh, "Operations of Counting in Complex Thinking."
The material obtained in the two psychological expeditions to central Asia established certain peculiarities in the structure of thinking and the special psychological process at various stages of cultural historical development. It outlined those lines along which we have the development of psychological processes in a enanging environment largely characterized by ever-increasing economic and industrial complexities. Further work in the analysis of this material, as well as a comparison of experiments in the villages as contrasted with the factory, would go on in a special division devoted, in the Moscow Psychological Institute, to the study of development of the psyche. The control investigation of structure of thinking in the disintegration of psychological processes would be concentrated in the division of normal and pathological psychology of the Psychological Sector of the Ukrainian Psychoneurological Academy in Kharkov. The further work in the study of the development of thought in the Uzbek child would be conducted by the pedagogical faculty of the Uzbek State Pedagogical Academy in Samarkand. The works of the first and second psychological expedition will be ready for press and prepared for publication by Professor Luria within the next year. A more complete account of this expedition is appearing in the forthcoming issues of the Journal of Genetic Psychology and the British Journal of Psychology,
Translated from Russian by J. Kasanin and P. L. Wells.