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Sh. R. Khisambeev,

The Kosygin RSU,



The article attempts to consider the genesis of voluntarily execution of various actions as a stage of subjectivity development in anthropogenesis and ontogenesis. Voluntarily performance of an action as a stage or stage of subjectivity formation is identified with volitional regulation of behavior. The transition from imitation to voluntary performance of an action is a phase transition that qualitatively changes behavior.

The main part of the article consists of three sections. The first section provides a brief overview of the formation of ideas about the appearance of will from the pre-scientific period to the present. Russian and foreign approaches to voluntariness are considered, and its connection with the development of higher mental functions is substantiated.

The second section describes a hypothetical reconstruction of the appearance of volitional regulation in the course of anthropogenesis. The essence of the hypothesis is as follows: the emergence of a social environment in ancient people, allowed to preserve artificial behavior programs and broadcast them to new generations through the mechanism of imitation. This contributed to the suppression of animal instincts, forcing to imitate repressed actions formed in society «duplicates»: facial expressions, gestures, shouting and articulate sounds. The appearance of proto-speech created the possibility of replacing the visual sample with a sound symbol, which in the situational context was accompanied by intonation and indication for concretization. Speech as a regulator of behavior, even in its rudimentary form, served as a prerequisite for the coordination of their own actions and the social microenvironment. Thus, the speech format was able to initiate various protocols of behavior of a group member and already in the team feed itself became an act of will.

The third section is devoted to consideration from the standpoint of developmental psychology of the problem of the appearance of volitional regulation in modern children. It is noted that in early childhood, when a child develops speech rapidly, one of the first children learns the imperative form of speech: commands given by adults «give me!», «Bring me!» and etc. Then, in the course of interiorization, the order from the outside turns into self-order, and the word-imperative becomes a means of self-government.

In conclusion of the article it is said that when person’s speech appears for the first time in  human both in the course of anthropogenesis and in ontogenesis, he acquires an instrument of activity regulation — it’s volition. The emergence of arbitrariness of actions becomes a decisive moment in the formation of subjectivity.


Keywords: will, action; voluntariness; autonomy; subjectivity; human; personality; nature; speech; environment.

For citation: Khisambeev Sh. R. Voluntarily Execution of an Action as a Stage of Subjectivity Development // Systems Psychology and Sociology. 2019. № 4 (32). P. 30–38. DOI: 10.25688/2223-6872.2019.32.4.03.


Khisambeev Shamil Raisovich, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology, Philosophy and Manusologii of the Kosygin Russian State University, Moscow, Russia.

 E-mail: khisam@mail.ru




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