Home > Free Essays > Psychology > Child Psychology > Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy

Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Dec 13th, 2021


The problems of child development mechanisms happen to be the most difficult yet very important in child philosophy. There are detailed studies in the contemporary western psychology of the development of memory, cognition, perception and other mental processes that occur at different stages of the child’s life but the explanation as to why a child transits from one development period to the next is still missing. The neo-Vygotskian theory gives the most comprehensive approach to the problem of mechanisms and determinants of child development. This paper seeks to address a few issues related to his theory.

Mediation by caregivers

According to Vygotsky, the human mental processes can be compared to human labor as both are mediated by tools. However, the tools for the human mental process are special psychological tools like symbols, signs and languages. Human beings are not born with these tools but children acquire these tools in the course of having interpersonal communication with more experienced peers or adults. An infant’s object-centered activities usually involve the infant manipulating objects according to the social meanings associated with the objects (Karpov, 2006).

Caregivers can act as mediators in teaching infants to successfully perform object-centered activities by teaching them how to perform these activities. For instance, a child may learn that banging a spoon on a table produces sounds but may need the caretaker’s intervention to learn to use the spoon for feeding. A caretaker, in this case, acts as the mediator in enabling the child to successfully learn to feed using the spoon. Infants, through the mediation of their caregivers, get to discover the meanings of signs, for instance, gurgles, pointing and crying express what they want.

Accomplishments of successful transformation

According to Vygotsky, infants are biologically helpless in their first year of life. They are unable to satisfy their important needs and hence they are fully dependent on their caregivers. Due to this, the caretaker becomes the psychological center in all the situations the infant is in and this generates the basis for the caretakers to supply infants with psychological tools. This emotional interaction with the caretaker becomes the leading activity of infants especially during their first year of development (Karpov, 2006).

The major accomplishments that accompany the successful formation of the leading actors in infants are the ability of the infants to develop new abilities and motives and outgrow their present leading activity. This process leads to the infant’s transition to the next leading activity that is particular to the next development period.

Negative consequences of failure in leading activity

However, there are instances when an infant fails to successfully form a leading activity resulting in consequences that may not be desirable. The infants may find it difficult to develop new abilities in the future and this can cause major hindrances to their normal development. The failure to develop a leading activity in infancy reduces the chances of them being able to successfully initiate the next leading activity which in turn may result in the inability to self-regulate in their latter stages of life. As they grow older and join the school, these children are likely to experience learning problems and may take a little longer to grasp things.


Vygotsky’s theory of child development may have gotten some criticism for being too general but it is still the one theory that goes to great lengths to explain the reason as to why children move from one stage to the other, right from their infancy stage. His theory has become the foundation for which innovative analysis of child development periods and the mechanism by which children transform from one stage to the next.


Karpov Y. (2006) The Neo Vygotskian Approach to Child Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This research paper on Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2021, December 13). Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy. https://ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/


IvyPanda. (2021, December 13). Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/

Work Cited

"Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy." IvyPanda, 13 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/.

1. IvyPanda. "Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy." December 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/.


IvyPanda. "Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy." December 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy." December 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/vygotsky-leading-activity-in-infancy/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Vygotsky: Leading Activity in Infancy'. 13 December.

Powered by CiteTotal, best essay citation maker
More related papers