Higher Mental Function

A Higher Mental Function (HMF), or Higher Psychological Function, is a psychological function organised by social cultural mediation.


In 1931 L. S. Vygotsky (1997, p. 1) wrote, "The history of the development of the higher mental functions is a field in psychology that has never been explored." Vygotsky provided the term, Higher Mental Functions, with a theoretical and methodological rigour previously absent from the study of higher mental processes (Vygotsky 1997, pp. 30-31).


The topological significance of "higher" in the term "higher mental function" denotes the genesis of psychological functions that come to reorganise pre-existing functions on the basis of social cultural mediation. "Higher" also denotes the cultural significance of these functions analogous to "high art" and "high church" (Vygotsky 1997, p. 97):

The analysis and structure of higher mental processes lead us directly to disclosing the basic problem of the whole history of the cultural development of the child, to elucidating the genesis of higher forms of behavior, that is, the origin and development of the mental forms that are the subject of our study.


Vygotsky, L. S. (1997) The Collected Works of L.S. Vygotsky, Vol. 4: The History of the Development of Higher Mental Functions. R. W. Rieber (eds.), M. J. Hall (trans.) New York: Plenum Press


-- HuwLloyd - 26 Nov 2013
Topic revision: r1 - 26 Nov 2013, HuwLloyd

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