From Big Medical Encyclopedia

MENTALITY (grech, psychikos sincere) — the form of active display by the subject of objective reality which is arising in the course of interaction of high-organized living beings with the outside world and carrying out regulatory function in their behavior (activity).

To P.'s studying there were two main approaches — materialistic and idealistic. Materialistic concepts are based on P.'s recognition by special property and function of high-organized matter. Idealistic concepts assume independent existence of P. as special not corporal beginning. Both of these directions arose in the ancient time and in the course of historical development took various forms. In modern science there are two kinds of a materialistic explanation of the nature P. Materializm of mechanistic type reduces all its manifestations to physical. - to chemical laws, absolutizing unambiguous character of relationships of cause and effect in wildlife (see Causality). Owing to theoretical and methodological limitation this direction is incapable to explain a reasonable behavior pattern of live organisms. The Dialektiko-materialistichesky theory, including P. property of the highest forms of the organization of a material world, recognizes specifics of its laws and explains it on the basis of the principles of an organic determinism (see. Determinism , Materialism and idealism, Psychology , Purposeful reactions ).

Opening an originality of laws P., the dialektiko-materialistic concept rejects various idealistic interpretations of P. which speculate on impossibility to explain its originality within a mechanistic determinism, and, absolutizing its specifics, tear off mentality from the general laws of development of a material world, turning it into nek-ry independent supermaterial essence.

The scientific research of P. relying on dialektiko-materialistic philosophy and on the Lenin theory of reflection resists to both idealistic, and mechanistic tendencies in psychology. The modern Marxist understanding of essence of mentality is developed in N. A. Bernstein, L. S. Vygotsky, A. N. Leontyev, A. R. Luriya, S. L. Rubenstein's works, etc.

P. arose at a certain stage of development of wildlife in connection with formation at living beings of ability to active movement in space. In the course of animal P.' evolution developed on biol, to laws from protozoa to irregular shapes which are inherent, e.g., to monkeys.

The satisfaction of the requirements carries out an animal by means of active movements in the environment which set characterizes his behavior. The successful behavior relies on the search preceding it — the choice of a certain motive act which would provide satisfaction of the arisen requirement.

The problem of creation of the movement in a unique real situation is extraordinary on the complexity. To solve it, the individual is forced in some way to comprehend the most difficult physics of real space and to coordinate it with own corporal biomechanics.

Though the movement is carried out in external geometrical space, it at the same time has also own space. N. A. Bernstein on the basis of studying of properties of motility in its relationship with external space entered the concept «motor field». The motor field is under construction by means of the search, trying movements probing space in all directions. Having made the small (elementary) movement, the live organism adjusts it, planning a further way. On the basis of this movement the generalized image of a situation in general displaying communication of objective characteristics of real space with characteristics of biomechanics of a live organism is under construction. Having arisen during oprobuyushchy (search) movements, the generalized image of working space, in turn, becomes the important regulator of creation of movements, defining a trajectory, force and other characteristics of the motive act.

The main function P. consists, therefore, searching on the basis of the arisen requirement of the certain movements and actions aimed at its satisfaction, the approbation of these motive acts leading to formation of the generalized image of a real situation, and, at last, in control of implementation of the movements and actions which are carried out in respect of already created image of reality.

Becoming complicated during evolution, P. gets from the person qualitatively new form — consciousness (see), generated by his life in society, the public relations which oposredstvut its communication with the outside world. Therefore functioning and P.'s development of the person, from the point of view of the dialektiko-materialistic concept developed by K. Marx p F. Engels submits to socio-historical laws.

Search and approbation of future actions of people carries out in respect of ideal images which are under construction on the basis of speech communication with the help of such mental processes as feeling (see), perception (see), memory (see), feeling (see. Emotions ), thinking (see). Processes of attention and will control adequate performance of the found and tested actions corresponding to certain conditions. As showed A. N. Leontyev's works, the speech as the most important element P. of the person creates representation in activity of one person of socio-historical experience of all human race. Are behind tongue values developed in the course of historical development human about-va ways of activity. The ideal form of existence of the properties, bonds and the relations of objective world opened by public practice curtailed into «matters» of language is presented to them.

Mastering the individual historically created public requirements and abilities necessary for it for inclusion in labor and public life is the cornerstone of human P.'s development. At the initial stage of mental development (at infantile age) the child by means of adults actively acquires requirement and a certain skill of communication with them. The following stage of development of P. of the child (the period from 1 year to 3 years) is connected with mastering bases of the predmetnomanipulyativny activity allowing it to master socially developed ways of use of the elementary objects. At the same time at the child abilities to the universal movements of hands, to the solution of simple motive tasks (the beginning of thinking) and ability to take own position in the relations with adults and peers form (emergence at the child of the I Am installation). At the following stage in the course of game activity at the child aged from 3 up to 6 — 7 years ability to imagination and ability to the use of various symbols form. At school age the child on the basis of educational activity joins such forms of culture as science, art, ethics, the right. Mental development of the child during this period is connected with formation of bases of logical thinking at it, the need for work and skills of work. In socialist conditions mastering the child these forms of culture promotes all-round development of his personality.

At all stages P.'s development of the human individual submits to the law formulated by L. S. Vygotsky: «Any highest mental function in development of the child appears on the stage twice: at first as activity collective, social... second time as activity individual, as internal way of thinking of the child...». Bases of individual mental activity are originally set in social communication, in collective activity of people.

The item in all the forms is, according to A. A. Ukhtomsky, a peculiar functional human organ and animals which builds their behavior and activity. At rather early evolutionary stages of development in a body of animals the specialized carrier of this functional body — a nervous system and a brain was allocated. The brain as a specialized part of a body of animals and the person is the material carrier to his

P. Osnov of modern ideas of physiological mechanisms of mental activity make works of I. M. Sechenov who proved that «all acts of adult and unconscious life on a way of an origin an essence reflexes». At the same time, relying on opening of a phenomenon of the central braking (see), I. M. Sechenov significantly rethought a concept of a reflex (see): he proved participation of the central mechanisms in its implementation, put forward the provision on the alarm nature of reflex activity and by that laid the foundation for theory of higher nervous activity (see). In development of a problem of century of N of the significant contribution was brought by works of I. P. Pavlov, N. E. Vvedensky, A. A. Ukhtomsky and other domestic physiologists.

As I. P. Pavlov showed, actually human P.'s formation was connected with reorganization of physiological mechanisms of activity of its body — a brain, the second alarm system consisting in emergence. In

A. A. Ukhtomsky's works it was proved that in implementation of functions of mentality the physiological dominant (see) directing to nervous processes to a bed of the requirements connected with creation of movements is of great importance. P. K. Anokhin interpreted dynamics of nervous processes of braking and excitement in the form of complex hierarchical functional system (see), entered idea of an acceptor of results of action (see) as the mechanism providing reasonable behavior of organisms on the basis of the advancing display.

Items investigate by means of objective methods. They allow to study processes of creation of movements and actions and to receive the facts characterizing features of emergence of ideal images and search of required movements and actions. At P.'s studying the person (consciousness) use its verbal self-report. In modern psychology the method of observation (in particular, the speech self-report or introspection) and an experiment (natural, taking place in living conditions, usual for the person, and laboratory), and also the stating and creating experiment is accepted. Use a genetic method (studying of an origin of functions P. in the course of its development in the child) and a method of testing (see. psychological tests ). In specific researches most often at the same time apply set of several various psychological methods.

See also Psychology .

Bibliography: Bernstein N. A. Sketches on physiology of movements and physiology of activity, M., 1966, bibliogr.; Vygotsky L. S. Chosen psychological researches, M., 1956, bibliogr.; Leontyev A. N. Activity, Consciousness, Personality, M., 1977; it, Problems of development of mentality, M., 1981; L at r and I am A. R. Yazyk and consciousness, M., 1979, bibliogr.; Rubenstein S. L. Problems sheathe psychology, M., 1976; Ukhtomsky A. A. Collected works, t. 5, L., 1954.

V. V. Davydov.