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Article

The Activity Theory: The Activity Psychological Functional System and Ablitiies as a Mechanism of Activity Implementation

Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics. 2019. Vol. 16. No. 4. P. 593-607.

The analysis of theoretical work on the psychology of activity by leading Russian psychologists has shown that the principle of the activity approach is deeply and comprehensively developed in Russian psychology and has reasonably acquired the status of a paradigm. Conceptual models of the activity approach can be successfully applied while setting exploratory programs and developing specific research designs. It can be reasonably argued that the activity approach has not only had a rich past, but it also has a successful present and future. This study reports on the general structure of the activity psychological functional system (APFS) that is close to the general structure of the physiological functional system suggested by P. K. Anokhin. However, the APFS in its components and the relationships between them is filled with a new content that is primarily determined by the human mind. The issue of the ability’s place in an activity structure is addressed in this paper. Understanding activity from the standpoint of system genesis reveals the essence of human development processes and provides for understanding of the relationship between activity and development; it shows the place of abilities in the implementation of activities and enables the understanding of the development mechanism in abilities and activities. It is shown that abilities are mechanisms of activity realization, and that activity may be considered from the position of a system of abilities employed to accomplish it that undergoes permanent changes in regard to the composition and the extent of the constituents’ interaction.