Periodization of psychology of impact in Soviet psychotechnics in 1920-1930s

Natalia Yurievna Stoyukhina


Stoyukhina N.Yu. Periodization of psychology of impact in Soviet psychotechnics in 1920-1930s // Psychological science and practice: State of the Art. Collected papers / Ed. Kostrigin A.A. Chicago, 2017. P. 61-66.


The author poses a serious methodological problem of the historical and psychological periodization of one of the least studied areas of Soviet psychotechnics ‑ the psychology of impact. The works available in modern psychological historiography do not cover all the factors that influenced the development of the rapidly developing scientific and practical branch of psychology. If the first attempt to consider the stages of development of psychotechnics was undertaken by its leader I.N. Spielrein, and later – by Soviet and Russian psychologists, then attempts to periodize the psychology of the impact was not carried out. However, the fifteen-year existence of the psychology of impact within the framework of Soviet psychotechnics can be represented in the form of stages, each of which was interesting in that the concept of "impact" differently defined the boundaries of its connotation, sometimes changing the vector under the influence of ideology.

At the first stage (1917-1920) ‑ pre-psychotechnical, psychotechnics as a scientific and practical branch in the USSR did not exist yet (G. Münsterberg's book "Fundamentals of Psychotechnics" (1913) has not yet been translated), but there are separate works Russian enthusiasts ‑ engineers, hygienists, psychologists, statesmen, and the issues of rationalizing labor, changing the hygienic conditions of production, influencing the consciousness of the masses have already been raised.

At the second stage (1921-1924), psychotechnics is born in the channel of SOL (Scientific Organization of Labor) and League "Time". In the sections on the psychophysiology of labor and labor reflexology of various scientific organizational events, the term "psychotechnics" is fixed, which becamr the name of one of the branches of practical psychology.

At the third stage of the development of psychotechnics in the USSR (1925-1926) there were no serious organizational arrangements, but there were separate legislative acts important for the further development of psychotechnics. For example, on March 11, 1926, the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party of the Bolsheviks "On the preparation and training of the labor force" was issued, where the preparation of the labor force was regarded as the most important economic task. Here it was required psychotechnics for the needs of professional selection, professional orientation. The activities of Soviet psychotechnicians in this time interval were diverse and active: the application of the scientific organization of labor to different branches of the economy; methodological interpretation of psychotechnics: the psychotechnical study of professions; distribution of the time budget at students and responsible employees; influence of fatigue on urban life, on the productivity of workers, on the consciously-volitional function of the organism; the impact of advertising, books, movies, urban posters and military propaganda. In search of the most effective application of professional knowledge, they were actively looking for promising directions.

The fourth stage (1927-1930) was distinguished by an abundance of activities; it coincided with the organizational construction of all Soviet psychotechnics.

During the fifth stage (the first half of 1931), a ruthless struggle against "anti-Leninist" attitudes was noted, a political campaign to fight "for the purity of Marxism-Leninism" in the sciences, which began with the publication of the resolution of the CC RCP (b) in the journal “Under the Banner of Marxism” (25.01.1931). The basic norm in evaluating the scientific idea is the principle of partisanship as a criterion for the correspondence of the results of scientific theories and studies to the interests of the Communist Party and the State.

The sixth stage (the second half of 1931-1932) was marked by close attention to such means of influence in matters of technical propaganda as a poster and instruction. With the issuance of a special resolution on the issue of technical propaganda and its organization, the vector of the concept of impact changed, including the promotion of special measures in the field of safety engineering, industrial sanitation and hygiene of production processes. This marked the beginning of the official participation of psychotechnicians in technical propaganda activities.

1933-1936 ‑ the seventh stage, final. Against the backdrop of a silent ideological struggle, the focus of attention of psychotechnicians on practical activity was observed. Psychology of impact shifted to propaganda of accident-free production and road transport. 1933 ‑ the section of psychotechnics in the State Institute of Experimental Psychology was liquidated. 1934 ‑ the last number of the journal "Soviet psychotechnics" was published without indicating the name of its editor-in-chief and founder ‑ I.N. Spielrein. 1935 ‑ arrest of I.N. Spielrein. There was a gradual curtailment of psychotechnical activity. 1936 ‑ the end of the activities of Soviet psychotechnicians.

Полный текст:



Stojuhina N.Ju. Istorija sovetskoj psihotehniki: psihologija vozdejstvija. Uchebnoe posobie. M.: Logos, 2012. 324 s.

Stojuhina N.Ju. Psihologija vozdejstvija v sovetskoj psihotehnike: 1920-1930-e gg. Jaroslavl', RIO: JaGPU, 2016. 429 s.


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(c) 2017 Natalia Yurievna Stoyukhina