Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Poleva N.S. N. I. Zhinkin. The beginning of the creative path

Natalia S. Poleva, Ph.D (Psychology), Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Miusskaya square, Moscow, Russia, 125047; Federal Scientific Center for Psychological and Interdisciplinary Research, Moscow, Russia; bld. 9–4, Mokhovaya str., Russia, Moscow, 125009;

The article is devoted to little-known facts of the scientific and creative biography of N.I. Zhinkin. In the early 1920s, N.I. Zhinkin actively participated in the work as a psychologist at the Moscow Institute of Social Psychology (MISP) and as a laboratory assistant in the Experimental Psychological Laboratory (EPL) at the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army. Brief information about the establishment of the Institute of Social Psychology and the Experimental Psychological Laboratory, as well as a description of the main directions of their activities and socio-psychological research, is given. Activities of N.I. Zhinkin at the institute from 1920 to 1922 are reconstructed based on archival materials from the Moscow Institute of Social Psychology. During Zhinkin's work at the EPL, his article "What is the psychotechnics of military affairs" was published in the Bulletin of the Military Scientific Society at the Military Academy. The main focus of Zhinkin's article is connected with his examination of methodological problems and prospects for the development of military psychotechnics. When discussing external factors influencing the mental state and behavior of a serviceman, as well as the psychological readiness of an individual to participate in combat, Zhinkin emphasizes that what matters is not the objective characterization of these factors but the subjective attitude of the serviceman towards them and their subjective reflection in his consciousness. It is noted that both in the report and in his article, Zhinkin differentiates between the concepts of "social psychology" and "collective psychology". The conclusion drawn is that in the early 1920s, the scientific interests of the young N.I. Zhinkin included not only problems of linguistics and phenomenology but also theoretical and applied aspects of social psychology and psychotechnics. The features of Zhinkin's methodological approach are evident both in the works of the Gakhnov period and in his publications and speeches in the early 1920s. Here, the influence of the “Shpet school” and the commitment of the young scientist to the ideas of his teacher are naturally reflected.


Key words: Nikolai Ivanovich Zhinkin, Moscow Institute of Social Psychology, Experimental Psychological Laboratory at the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army, social psychology, collective psychology, psychotechnics


For citation: Poleva, N.S. (2023). N.I. Zhinkin. The beginning of the creative path. New Psychological Research, No. 4, 29–43. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2023_03_04_02



The article was prepared within a state task, project FNRE-2021-0001.


Keywords: Nikolai Ivanovich Zhinkin Moscow Institute of Social Psychology Experimental Psychological Laboratory at the Academy of the General Staff of the Red Army social psychology collective psychology psychotechnics

Received: 26th december 2023

Published: 26th december 2023

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