2021 Vol. 14 Issue 75

Patyayeva Ye.Yu. Kurt Levin and his strategy of creating new ways of scientific thinking

Full text in Russian: Патяева Е.Ю. Курт Левин и его стратегия создания новых способов научного мышления

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation

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The present paper discusses the contribution of Kurt Lewin to psychology, which is closely intertwined with his methodological strategy. Based on this strategy, Lewin created two new areas of experimental research — experimental psychology of motivation and experimental social psychology. Furthermore, Lewin developed the action research and new modes of psychological practice, chiefly, the sensitivity training. Both the emergence of Lewin’s strategy and its development through his professional life are covered.
The focus of the paper is on two methodological transitions made by Lewin and his group. The first transition — from the «aristotelian» mode of thought to the «galileian», which led to «galileian» form of experiments in psychology. This transition was described in the famous article «The Transition from the Aristotelian to the Galileian Mode of Thought in Psychology and Biology» by Lewin. The second transition — from the «galileian» mode of thought to that of the late Lewin («properly lewinian»), which was followed by the transition from the «galileian» form of experiments to action research and the development of new modes of psychological and social practices. The second transition was embodied in Lewin’s and his colleagues' publications but not in detail.
The main features of «properly lewinian» mode of thought in psychology as opposed to the «galileian» one are introduced. Additionally, three fundamental principles of Lewin’s strategy to broaden the horizon of scientific thought are covered: a) to notice and overcome current methodological taboos, b) to reject the opposition of theoretical, experimental and applied research, c) to try to answer not only research questions, but also «meta-questions» regarding scientific thought of one’s time and one’s own scientific thought. In conclusion, a few meta-questions on modern state of psychology are raised.

Keywords: Kurt Lewin, methodology of psychology, experiment, action research, scientific thought, galileian mode of thought in psychology

Full text in Russian >>

Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards. The titles are given in author’s translation.

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Received 02 December 2019. Date of publication: 29 December 2019.

About author

Patyayeva Yekaterina Yurievna. Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 11-5, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russia
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Suggested citation

Patyayeva Ye.Yu. Kurt Levin and his strategy to create new modes of scientific thought. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2019, Vol. 12, No. 67-68, p. 3. http://psystudy.ru (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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