Activity in psychology – explain in all the details

1. Activity .

1. Human activity refers to a person’s activity designed to meet needs and interests by achieving a consciously set goal.

In the structure of activity there are goals and motives.

What a person strives for is the goal of activity, and why he/she does it – the motive of activity.

Activity is divided into separate elements, which are called actions.

1. External (can be observed from the outside) – internal (hidden from the eyes, performed internally).

As a person learns a particular activity, external actions can be transformed into internal ones.

This process is called interiorization – for example, at first, a child learns to read out loud, and then he or she learns to read to himself or herself.

The reverse process, when any difficulties are encountered in performing the activity and the internal actions are transferred to the external one, is called exteriorization.

For example, when memorizing foreign words, a person pronounces these words out loud to learn them better.

2. Involuntary (volitional) – involuntary (impulsive).

Involuntary actions are carried out under the action of strong, often unexpected stimuli, strong feelings.

Involuntary actions are thought over in advance and are carried out with the help of volitional efforts.

1. Goal Setting.

This stage can be complicated if during goal setting a person needs to make a choice between several motives.

In this case, there is a struggle of motives: for example, to go for a walk or to prepare for an exam.

2. Work planning.

At this stage the optimum operations and the means promoting achievement of the purpose are chosen.

An operation is a way of performing an activity, which is determined by the person’s possession of certain abilities and skills, as well as the conditions under which this activity is performed.

A set of the most frequently used operations constitute an individual style of human activity.

The means of performing an activity are those objects that are designed to help in the performance of the activity: for example, lecture notes.

3. Performance of activity.

Here the optimal means and operations found earlier are used.

4. Control part – results are checked, errors are corrected, results are summarized, and conclusions are drawn.

So, human activity consists of a series of sequential actions, which in their development pass a number of successive stages.

A modern person performs a large number of very different types of activities, depending on his or her needs.

It is hardly possible to enumerate and classify all these activities in any way, so a more promising way is to single out such activities, which correspond to the needs common to all people.

Such types of activity are communication, play, learning, and work.

Communication is a type of activity that first appears in the course of human ontogenetic development.

Its main goal is the exchange of information between people (see the topic “Communication”).

Game is an activity, in the process of performance of which a material or ideal product appears (exceptions are business and construction games).

Sometimes the purpose of games is to relax, to entertain people or to relieve fatigue and tension.

Types of games:

1) depending on the number of participants individual and group;

2) object-based (during the game objects are used);

3) plot-based (the game is built according to a certain scenario);

4) role-based (a person’s behavior is built according to a prescribed role)

5) games with rules (the actions of the players are limited to the rules which cannot be broken).

In real life there are often mixed types of games, for example, story-role, object-role, story games with rules.

Despite the fact that the relationships that develop between people in the game should not be taken seriously, the game is very important: developmental – for children, means of communication and discharge – for adults.

Some games have the meaning of rituals, designed to play the role of training or sports.

Learning is a means of psychological development of the individual, which as a main goal pursues the mastery of a person of certain knowledge, skills, abilities, can be organized (performed in specially designated educational institutions), unorganized (runs in parallel with other activities).

An important type of education is self-education, when a person learns knowledge and skills on his own initiative and to the extent which he determines himself outside the educational institution.

Labor is an activity in the course of which objects of spiritual and material culture are produced, labor tools are improved, living conditions are improved, science, technology, production, and creativity are developed.

Thus, all of the above activities are developmental in nature, i.e., with the inclusion and active participation of the child in them there is his/her intellectual and personal development.

3. Skills are separate elements of activity, which allow performing the activity with a high level of quality.

A skill is such an action, separate operations of which as a result of training have become automatic and are carried out without the participation of consciousness.

A person usually has an arsenal of different skills, some of which can have both positive and negative effects on newly acquired skills: positive effects are called transference, negative ones are called interference.

Most often, transfer occurs when there is something in common between new and old skills: for example, a person who can drive a car will learn to drive a tractor faster, a person who speaks two foreign languages will learn a third language more easily, etc.

If old and new skills have sharp differences, interference is possible.

For example, having learned to play the piano yourself, then it is more difficult to retrain the correct position of the fingers.

Habit – the irresistible desire of a person to perform certain actions.

For example, brushing teeth, smoking, etc.

Habit should be distinguished from a simple skill, because in its implementation there is a certain degree of awareness, but, unlike the skill, the habit can not always be reasonable and useful.

Thus, abilities, skills and habits are automated, consciously or unconsciously performed elements of activity.

This text is an introductory fragment.

Continued on LitRes

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Human activity – what it is in psychology. Types of activity and their characteristics

A person’s needs are completed in the activity. They also activate it. That is, in the process of activity current needs are satisfied, and new needs are formed. However, not only changes in needs occur, but also changes in a person’s personality. What other influence on human development does activity have? Let’s look into it.

What it is

Activity is a form of human activity, aimed at cognition, transformation of the surrounding world, himself and the conditions of his existence. This is what distinguishes man from the animal, emphasizes the social in human nature.

  • Activity is not reduced only to the satisfaction of needs.
  • It is determined by the goals and requirements of society.
  • The development of personality, human consciousness (including self-consciousness) is associated with activity.
  • This is a consciously regulated process of human interaction with the world.

In activity, a person acts as a creator, a creator. In its process, it develops:

  • intellectual abilities of the individual;
  • creative imagination;
  • worldview;
  • system of ideals and values;
  • emotional and aesthetic attitude to the world.

As a member of society, a person is valuable when he or she is active in labor, social life, performs acts and bears responsibility for them.

Subject of activity

Activity is always objectified. The subject is what it is aimed at. It may exist independently or be created in the process of activity itself.

Principles of activity

Activity is based on the principle of functionality and the principle of systemicity.

  • The first assumes reliance on already developed mental elements that are mobilized to achieve the goal.
  • The principle of systemicity implies the inclusion of individual personality traits, on the basis of which several blocks in the structure can be distinguished.

Structure of activity

Six blocks can be distinguished. Each of the elements is interconnected with the others, interpenetrating.


This is where needs come into play. Motive is an objectified need. The desire to satisfy a need, i.e. to obtain a concrete object, prompts activity. Activity is impossible without a motive.

The basic element. Has two forms of manifestation:

  • as a person’s imagined result;
  • As a desired level of achievement.
Program .

The person decides what and how he should do, i.e. it is a choice of methods and means, assessment of own resources. The cognitive, motivational, and executive spheres are involved.

Information base

On the adequacy and completeness of information data on the conditions of activity depends on its effectiveness.


Of the alternatives one is chosen, mastered, the rules and criteria for achieving the goal are developed.

Personal qualities, important for the activity

These are character traits, abilities, predispositions, and other individual characteristics that will help achieve the goal.

Components of the activity

Activity always has an internal plan and external manifestation, between which there is an inseparable connection. From external operations with objects (subject thinking), information is transformed by the psyche into internal images, ideals (figurative thinking). The process of such transition is called interiorization.

The reverse action (creating something materially by means of inner representations) is exteriorization.

Action is a tool in achieving a goal

Action is a part of activity, aimed at achieving an intermediate result in specific conditions. Consists of operations – ways of execution according to the conditions.

Physical actions

These are external, motor actions with objects, which consist of movements.

Intellectual actions

Internal mental actions with images and concepts, based on external actions with objects.

The psyche is the regulator of activity

Reflection of the world by the psyche occurs consciously, that is, in the process of action a person:

  • realizes (partially or completely) the purpose of his actions;
  • represents the result;
  • perceives and evaluates the conditions in which he has to act;
  • builds a step-by-step plan, an algorithm of operations;
  • exerts volitional effort;
  • Observes the process;
  • experiences successes and failures.

Knowledge, abilities, skills, habits

Knowledge, abilities, skills, or KSAs – the basis responsible for the organization and management of practical activities.


These are images of sensations and perceptions which are later processed into concepts and notions. Without them, conscious purposeful activity is impossible. Knowledge increases the effectiveness of actions.


It is the mastering of the way of performing an action, which does not require fixation by exercises. Conscious individual control is the main difference between skills. They are closely connected with thinking and are impossible without active intellectual activity. Skills allow you to find a way out of non-standard situations, to respond to changes in external conditions.


Skills are actions brought to automatism. The success of an activity depends on skills. Skills are formed through exercises – repeating a particular action (or actions) many times. At the heart of the skill – a dynamic stereotype, that is, the nervous connection between the elements of the action. This occurs uncontrollably, but if there is any inaccuracy, the person immediately notices it. The stronger the neural link, the faster and better the action.

Skills can be motor, thinking, sensory, behavioral. A skill is formed in several stages:

  • familiarization (comprehension of actions, familiarity with the methods of execution);
  • preparatory (conscious, but unskillful performance of an action);
  • standardizing (unity and automatism of actions);
  • situational (mastering the arbitrariness of action).

Acquiring new skills is always influenced by old ones. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes hinders. In the first case, it is a question of coordination of skills, and in the second – of interference (contradiction). Skills are coordinated when:

  • one skill’s movement system coincides with another skill’s movement system;
  • one skill is the means of better learning the other;
  • the end of one skill is the beginning of the other, and vice versa.

Accordingly, interference occurs under the opposite conditions.


Habit is an action that has become a need. Habits can be positive and negative. Like skills, habits are based on dynamic stereotypes. Habits are formed through:

  • imitation;
  • repeated accidental repetition;
  • conscious purposeful learning.

Can be a motor or a hindering factor in the performance of an activity.

Types of activity

There are many types of activities, but in psychology it is accepted to distinguish 4 main ones.


Communication is the first activity in which a person participates (intimate-personal communication with the mother). The first development of personality takes place in this form of activity.

The purpose of communication is the establishment of mutual understanding, personal and business relations, mutual assistance, educational and educational influence of people on each other.

It is worth noting that some researchers do not consider communication to be an independent activity, but rather call it a means for implementing other activities, achieving the goals of other activities. However, in infancy it is this type of leading activity.

Play is the main activity of childhood, but it is also preserved at subsequent age stages. It allows to assimilate the social experience of human activity and human relations. For adult people, play is recreation, stress relief.

Play activity prepares a person for further learning and work. It develops:

  • thinking,
  • memory,
  • imagination,
  • attention,
  • ability,
  • the will.

It also determines the formation of character.


Learning activities are separated from the work. It assumes:

  • assimilation of information about the properties of the surrounding world (knowledge), techniques, operations (skills);
  • Development of the ability to choose techniques and operations in accordance with the goals and conditions (skills).

In the learning activity occurs assimilation of knowledge, development of skills, abilities.

Labor is an activity aimed at creating a socially significant product. Labor – the basis of human existence, his mental, personal development.

There are other types of activity, but all of them are built within the framework of one of the four named or at the junction of several types. The choice depends on the strength, quantity, and peculiarity of the needs of a particular person.

However, at each age, a person performs several types of activity at once, and only one remains the leading one. For example, for an adult, it is work.

Individual style of activity

This is an adaptation of the person’s nervous system and the peculiarities of the organism to the activities performed. At the heart of the individual style is located:

The purpose of this adjustment is to achieve the best result with the least effort. Temperament determines the success and failure of a person in a particular activity.


Conscious purposeful activity is the difference between humans and animals. In the process of its human creates objects of material and spiritual culture, transforms its abilities, ensures the progress (although, sometimes regress) of society, affect the nature (preserves or destroys).

Any activity is a creative outlet beyond nature, a work on oneself and the world. Man not only consumes, but also creates. With its help he influences his life.

Thanks to it, the mental development of the personality takes place. However, at the same time mental processes (perception, attention, imagination, memory, thinking, speech) act as components and even separate types of activity.

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