Moscow: Izdatel’stvo kommunisticheskoy akademii, 1930. Item #1552
4, XXIX, 5-207 pp., 7 ill.: tables, ill. 21.3x15.6 cm. In original publisher’s cloth binding with illustrated dust-jacket. Dust-jacket with tears and loss of fragments. Otherwise internally clean.
First Russian edition. 1 of 4,100 copies. Scarce. The original edition was published in 1917. Translated from German by L. Zankova and I. Solovyeva. Editing and introductory article by L. Vygotsky. The first Russian translation of Wolfgang Kohler’s landmark work in ethology, cognitive psychology, and the study of the anthropoid apes.
In 1913, Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967), a German psychologist and phenomenologist, left Frankfurt for the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where he had been named the director of the Prussian Academy of Sciences anthropoid research station. After working there for six months, Wolfgang wrote a book on problem-solving titled The Mentality of Apes (1917). The work came to be seen as a turning point in the psychology of thinking.
Kohler made most of his observations during the first six months of 1914, providing chimpanzees with problems that would be difficult but not impossible for them to solve, such as that of retrieving bananas when positioned out of reach. He found that they stacked wooden crates to use as makeshift ladders, in order to retrieve the food. If the bananas were placed on the ground outside of the cage, they used sticks to lengthen the reach of their arms. Kohler concluded that the chimps had an insight, in which, having realized the answer, they proceeded to carry it out in a way that was, in Kohler’s words, «unwaveringly purposeful.» As a result, Wolfgang concluded that apes demonstrated intelligent behavior that was common in humans, thus erasing an absolute dividing line between the human species and their nearest living relative.
Köhler pointed out that a downfall of educational psychology at the time of the experiments with apes was that it had yet to create a test that was capable of assessing how far mentally healthy and mentally-ill children could go in particular situations. Köhler believed that studies of this type could be performed on young children, and that future research should focus on these possibilities. He stated that: «where the lack of human standards makes itself so much felt, I should like to emphasize particularly the importance and- if the anthropoids do not deceive us- the fruitfulness of further work in this direction.» Overall,the first Russian translation of one of the most important works in cognitive psychology.
Wolfgang Köhler was a German psychologist and phenomenologist who, like Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka, contributed to the creation of Gestalt psychology. During the Nazi regime in Germany, he protested against the dismissal of Jewish professors from universities, as well as the requirement that professors give a Nazi salute at the beginning of their classes. In 1935, he left the country for the United States, where Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania offered him a professorship. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Köhler as the 50th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
No copies found in Worldcat.