Background. The issue of the nature and origin of human psyche as a universal puzzle does not have a final solution for today. So, ideas about the subject matter of psychology, the issue of nature and the origin of human psyche discussed by A.N. Leontiev have not lost their significance for modern psychology.
Objective is to introduce the original assumptions of A.N. Leontiev that he coins discussing the nature of human psyche psyche and its origin in the course of the evolution of living beings.
Design. In this paper, the early representations of A.N. Leontiev about the nature and origin of human psyche are analyzed. The heuristic assumption of A.N. Leontiev about some living beings possessing the ability to react to external influences by displaying deep emotion or changing their primary sensation of various modality, which can be considered a pre-mental (biological) reflection, which further sets as reflection. The external objective activity of living beings changes their feelings as if they refer organism condition. The activity allows not only to create a motor image of the behaviour space, but also to use the primary experiences (feelings) to create ideas about the objects.
Results. These assumptions make it possible to view the psyche as a representation of the subject of activity and perception about the objective conditions and integral objects of the behavioural space that create the illusion of opening up the space for one's behavior. Such illusion arises due to the actual physical interaction of the subject of behaviour with the real objects of the external world.
Conclusion. A.N. Leontiev’s assumptions about the nature and origin of human psyche allow to elaborate a number of important provisions on this issue, which will be of great interest for modern psychologists and will occupy a worthy place in the theory of psychological science.
In this paper the outcomes of the continuous studies of will are analyzed. The concept of “will” and the concept of “sense” were introduced in the ancient psychology as theoretical constructs. Later these concepts were replaced with narrower ones that now reflect various psychic processes. The whole concept of “will” has changed through time. In the 20th century it was perceived as a separate psychic process of an unknown nature, that is why K. Levin has even proposed excluding this concept from psychology.
The first outcome can be summarized as follows. It is essential to analyze the way concepts are introduced and developed in terms of a particular science. The reason is that all the basic psychological concepts were initially introduced not to reflect the realities, but to explain them as theoretical constructs. Moreover, it is important to consider the possibility of initial constructs differentiation. For instance, mind can branch out into perception, notion, imagination and thinking. In Russian psychology, the concept of will as a capability of overcoming inner and outer barriers was in active use until the 70-ies. The nature of this phenomenon was unknown. Only the analysis of a willful act generation and the way the concept of will was introduced scientists to formulate the task of identifying the mechanisms of a willful act itself.
The second outcome is as follows. To solve a problem it is needed to replace it with a task to complete. For instance, to understand the nature of will we can replace the problem of its understanding with a task of generating a willful act, compensating for the deficiency of initial motivation.
The third outcome is that it is essential to coordinate a new concept with all the rest concepts of that particular science.
The paper analyzes the problem of the origin of the human psyche. Some assumptions about the nature of human psyche are introduced, the main element of the latter to be deemed as subjective sensory experience, which is carrying out a role of a building material to generate an image of subject conditions of behavioral space of the acting agent and the role of the sensual language by which the subject describes his/her environment. The features of the physical, biological and psychological reflection and behaviour management based on the physical, biological and psychological processes are given particular analysis. Mental reflection is deemed as the subject discovering his/her reflection of his/her behavioural space (his field of adaptive behaviour). The impossibility of constructing the image of objective conditions of the field of action as a result of transformation of primary traces the interaction of the environment and the receiving system (analyzer) of a living being is shown. The role of perceiving the subject’s activity in constructing the image of the object and the feeling of the adequate perception of the environment is emphasized.
The notion of “consciousness” is analyzed. First of all, consciousness is understood as a special form of psyche which occurs only to humans. The second interpretation is most common in Soviet psychology, within which consciousness is considered a product of human social life. The third meaning consists in understanding consciousness as cognitive and transformative (constructive) human activity that creates new conditions of life.
Herewith consciousness is the highest level of world cognition, whereas a person is an ideal (i.e. perfect) subject of cognition and transforming activity.
In this paper, the motivation is deemed as a particular activity of living beings to provide mental support of individuals for generating activity (as the solution of generating activity problem). In the process of motivation, triggered by actualized needs or requirements of the society, the person accepts the need of conduct, chooses one of the offered activities to fulfill, selects the object of his/her behaviour, which is correspondent with the subject of need in a particular situation, finds a way of conduct to create the supraliminal motivation to work. This activity can be carried out randomly or involuntarily, with multiple operations or being reduced to automaticity (motivational habit being a skill).
Solution of the motivation problem is provided by either solution found in the evolution of species (congenital method) or by solutions found in ontogeny (motivational skills), or is being looked for “here-and-now”.
In humans, the process of motivation is correspondent with the higher mental functions, the former being constructed as a system and implemented deliberately and voluntarily. The motivation system denotes collaboration of all mental processes (emotional-volitional, and cognitive), which provides motivation to action by means of internal and external operations.
When referring motivation to action, the subject of the activity shall take into account the objects or subjects of desire that are meaningful for him/her in terms of needs, their degree of attractiveness in this particular situation, knowing the subject terms of his/her field of action, anticipating changes, having tools at disposal for further action, skills, their emotional and functional condition, and other factors. Motive is understood as a particular object or a desirewhich is meaningful for a subject in terms of necessity in this particular situation. The subject of need is the general term for anything that can meet the need.
The article presents the text of a lecture presented by the author to psychology students on the theme "Volition" in the course "General Psychology". Author examines the history of the problem and its current state.