Edition: Lublin 2015
The article is dedicated to the early stage in the development of memory studies in Russian science of the 1920s. The main figure in this process was the eminent psychologist Lev S. Vygotsky. Vygotsky was one of those rare scholars who had developed and used semiotic ideas in their own field of research as early as by the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the1930s. He built a whole system of a new understanding of human high psychic functions on the basis of describing the dominant role of the signs found in them as their most important feature. These results in their full form had been expressed in his writings already, starting from 1928. But in the Stalinist period, and even immediately after its end, the publication of a detailed exposition of this semiotic theory as a whole had not been possible because of ideological censorship. In his works on pedology of school children and adults Vygotsky studied the difference between two types of memory that he described as natural ‘eidetic’, immediate and ‘cultural mnemotechnical’. He stressed the importance of development from ‘natural’ to ‘cultural’ psychological processes that he believed to be characteristic of all mankind. The experimental studies done by Vygotsky himself and by his assistants (Zankov and many others) were analyzed as showing different methods of using signs in mnemotechnical functions.