The outro for the intro
Vygotsky contracted TB at a young age. Although sick, he produced a tremendous collection of writings prior to his death in 1934 at age 37. Many of his writings were not published because the communist party in Russia banned writings in psychology. In the 1950's, some of his work was published outside of the Soviet Union, and his influence remains strong throughout the world.
Key elements of Vygotsky's work
1) Signs and symbols, particularly language, are the key to understanding complex human behavior.
2) Human mental activity is a particular case of social experience, and understanding human thinking rests on undestanding the mechanisms of social experience.
3) His work was incomplete at the time of his death.
4) Vygotsky's major contribution is his use of a historical approach to analyzing human mental functions.