Demystifying Vygotsky’s Concept of the Zone of Proximal Development

  • René van der Veer
Conference paper
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


In this paper it is shown that the Soviet psychologist Vygotsky’s well-known concept of the zone of proximal development arose in the practice of intelligence testing. More specifically, Vygotsky used the concept to explain the phenomenon of regression towards the mean of IQ scores. It is claimed that this way of thinking about the zone of proximal development contradicts its current Western interpretations. In addition, it is argued that Vygotsky’s original interpretation had several unfortunate implications that conflicted with his own larger body of writings as well.


Intelligence Testing Intellectual Development Joint Performance Proximal Development Independent Performance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blonsky, P. P. (1927). Psikhologicheskie ocherki. Moscow: Novaya Moskva.Google Scholar
  2. Burt, C. (1921). Mental and scholastic tests. London: Staples.Google Scholar
  3. Rogoff, B., & Wertsch, J. V. (Eds.) (1984). Children’s learning in “the zone of proximal development”. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Terman, L. M. (1919). The intelligence of school children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  5. Veer, R. van der, & Valsiner, J. (in press). Lev Vygotsky. His life and work. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Vygotsky, L. S. (1922). O metodakh prepodovanija khudozhestvennoj literatury v shkolakh II stupeni. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  7. Vygotsky, L. S. (1926). Pedagogicheskaja psikhologija. Moscow: Rabotnik Prosveshchenija.Google Scholar
  8. Vygotsky, L. S. (1934). Problema vozrasta. In L. S. Vygotskij (Ed.), Sobranie sochinenij. Tom 4. Detskaja psikhologija (pp. 244–268). Moscow: Pedagogika.Google Scholar
  9. Vygotsky, L. S. (1935). Umstvennoe razvitie detej v processe obuchenija. Moscow-Leningrad: Uchpedgiz.Google Scholar
  10. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • René van der Veer

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations