Michael Cole, Professor

Communication and Psychology

Ph.D., Psychology,
Indiana University (1962)

Cole's work focuses on the elaboration of a mediational theory of mind. He has conducted cross-cultural research on cognitive development, especially as it relates to the role of literacy and schooling. His recent research has been devoted to a longitudinal study of individual and organizational change within educational activities specially designed for afterschool hours. These systems link universities and local communities and allow a study of the dynamics of appropriation and use of new technologies and cultural-historical approaches to human development. According to Cole's methodology, mind is created and must be studied in communication.

Mike Cole's Vita
Development and Education
Design Based Intervention Research
Articulos en Espanol
Articles in Russian



Apropos Thoughts on the
Revolutions and Their Causes

(From C. Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Ch 15)

Along the Paris streets, the death carts rumble, hollow and harsh.

Six tumbrels carry the day's wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in the one realization, Guillotine. And yet there is not in France, with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more certain than those that have produced this horror. Crush human humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit, according to its kind.




Publications and Papers


Perspectives on Social Class: On Bernstein's Class, Codes and Control
Sylvia Scribner and Mike Cole, in Reviews in Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 1, Feb. 1974.

The Perils of Translation: A First Step in Reconsidering Vygotsky's Theory of Development in Relation to Formal Education
Michael Cole, in Mind, Culture, and Activity, 16: 291-295, 2009

Cultural-Historical Activity Theory,
Michael Cole, in Qualitative Research, © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Differences and Deficits in Psychological Research in Historical Perspective: A Commentary on the Special Section
Michael Cole, in Developmental Psychology 2013, Vol. 49, No. 1, 84-91.

The World Beyond Our Borders: What Might Our Students Need To Know About It?
Mike Cole, in American Psycholoist, September 1984 (pp.998-1005).

Beyond the Individual-Social Antinomy in Discussions of Piaget and Vygotsky
Michael Cole, James. V. Wertsch, in Human Development, 1996:39:250-256

Vygotsky and Context: Toward a Resolution of Theoretical Disputes
in The Sociocultural Turn in Psychology: The Contextual Emergence of Mind and Self,
Cole, M., Gajdamaschko, N., In, S. Kirschner, & J. Martin, J. (Eds) (2010). (pp. 253-280).
New York, NY, US: Columbia University Press.

Cole, M. (2006). Internationalism in psychology: We need it now more than ever. American Psychologist, 61(8), 904.

Remembering the Future,
Cole, Michael, Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (13), PDF

Socio-cultural-historical psychology: some general remarks and a proposal for a new kind of cultural genetic methodology
Cole, Michael, Edited by James Wertsh, Pablo del Rio, Amelia Alvarez (1995)

Interacting minds in a life-span perspective: a cultural-historical approach to culture and cognitive development
Cole, Michael

On the study of culture and mind: Interview with Prof. Michael Cole, February 2011

The cognitive consequences of education: Some empirical evidence of theoretical misgivings
Cole, M., & Sharp, D., & Lave, J. (1976). The Urban Review, 9(4), 218-223.

The concept of literacy in print and film
Cole, Michael, and Keyssar, Helene

Culture and Cognitio
Cole, M., & Cigagas, X.E. (2010)., In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.). Handbook of cultural developmental science. (pp. 127-142). New York, NY, US: Psychology Press.

Design experimentation as a theoretical and empirical tool for developmental pedagogical research. Nicolopoulou, A. & Cole, M. (2010). Pedagogies. An International Journal, 5 (1), 61 — 71

Creating an Idioculture to Promote the Development of Children Who Have Suffered Cerebral Palsy
Braga, L., Rossi, L., & Cole (2010), Educação e Contemporaneidade (Education in the Contemporary World)

Rethinking the Goody Myth
Michael Cole, Jennifer Cole

Contextual Factors in Education: Improving science and mathematics education for women and minorities (1987)
Ed. Michael Cole, Peg Griffin, LCHC.

Phylogeny and cultural history in ontogeny
Michael Cole
(Available in Russian)

Zone of Proximal Development. (1985)
Mike Cole

Cultural-Historical Activity Theory in the Family of Socio-Cultural Approaches.
International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development Newsletter. 47(1), 1-4
by Mike Cole

Culture and Development
by Mike Cole

Developmental Science; An Advanced Textbook

Pages 45-51
Pages 52-66
Pages 67-90
Pages 91-101
by Mike Cole

Current activity for the future
in Children's Learning in the "Zone of Proximal Development"
Peg Griffin and Mike Cole, 1984

Can Cultural Psychology Help us Think About Diversity?
Michael Cole, UCSD LCHC 1998

Cultural Amplifiers Reconsidered
Michael Cole and Peg Griffin, 1980, Ch. 15, pg. 343-364

Contemporary Implications of Vygotsky and Luria
Michael Cole and James V. Wertsch, 1996

A Cultural Theory of Development: What does it Imply About the Application of Scientific Research? (1991).
Michael Cole

Vygotsky and Context Where did the Connection Come From and What Difference Does it Make?
Michael Cole.

Reading Vygotsky
(Preface to an edited collection of Vygotsky Writings by Rieber and Robineon).
Michael Cole.

Comments on Commentaries About Cultural Psychology
Michael Cole.

Ecological Niche Picking: Ecological Invalidity as an Axiom of Experimental Cognitive Psychology
(Unpublished Manuscript)
Michael Cole, Lois Hood, and Ray McDermott

School's Invasion of “After-School”: Colonization, Rationalization, or Expansion of Access? (2003)
Nocon, Honorine, Michael Cole

Alexander Luria, Cultural Psychology and The Resolution of the Crisis in Psychology (1997)
Michael Cole

Culture and Cognitive Science
A Talk Presented to the Cognitive Science Program, U.C. Santa Barbara, May 15, 1997.
Michael Cole

  • A translation of this talk into Romanian.
  • A translation of this talk into Polish.

Cultural Historical Activity Theory
Katherine Brown and Michael Cole

The Illusion of Culture-free Intelligence Testing
Cole, Michael

A Cultural-Historical View of Human Nature (1998)
Michael Cole and Karl Levitin

Cultural-Historical Approaches to Designing for Development
Cole, Michael and Engestöm, Yrjö

Struggling with Complexity:The Handbook of Child Psychology at the Millennium (2000)
Michael Cole

Bruner and Hybridity
Talk Presented at Symposium Honoring Jerome Bruner, Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 2000

"Literate Mathematical Discourse: What it is and why should we care?"
Anna Sfard, The University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel, 2002
Michael Cole, University of California San Diego, USA


We Have Met Technology and it is Us
Michael Cole & Jan Derry

The Fate of Stages Past: Reflections on the Heterogeneity of Thinking from the Perspective of Cultural-historical Psychology
Michael Cole and Eugene Subbotsky

Beyond the Individual-social Antimony.pdf, (1996)
Michael Cole, James V. Wertsch

Promoting Service Learning as a Byproduct of Academically Oriented, Community Based Practicum Courses.
Elaine Parent, Lars Rossen, LCHC


Development and Education

Commentary on Conceptualizing Cultural and Racialized Process in Learning
Michael Cole, in Human Development, 2012;55:340-347

Influence of Schooling on Concept Formation
Cole, M., and D'Andrade, R.

Situational Variability in the Speech of Preschool Children
M. Cole, J. Dore, and W. S. Hall

Literacy without School Testing for Intellectual Effects
Sylvia Scribner and Mike Cole

Socially-Shared Cognition: System Design and the Organization of Collaborative Research
Katherine Brown and Michael Cole

A Utopian Methodology as a Tool for Cultural and Critical Psychologies: Toward a Positive Critical Theory
Katherine Brown and Michael Cole

Schooling and Human Development
Michael Cole

Cross-cultural and Historical Perspectives on the Consequences of Education: Implications for the Future (November 1, 2002)
Michael Cole

Comparative Cognitive Research: Learning from a Learning Disabled Child (1981)
Michael Cole, Ken Traupmann

Individual and Collective Activities in Educational Computer Game Playing (1997)
Victor Kaptelinin, Michael Cole

A Model System Approach to Reading
King, Griffin, Diaz, Cole

New Technologies, Basic Skills: Language, Literacy and Culture
Peg Griffin, Michael Cole

A Socio-Historical Approach to Re-mediation
Michael Cole and Peg Griffin


Intervention Research

Design Experimentation and Mutual Appropriation: Two Strategies for University/Community Collaborative After-School Interventions
Deborah Downing-Wilson, Robert Lecusay, and Michael Cole

Cultural-Historical Approaches to Designing for Development
Michael Cole & Yrjö Engeström

Using Cross-Cultural Psychology to Design Afterschool, Educational Activities in Different Cultural Settings
Michael Cole, 2005

Youth Development FOCUS: A Monograph of the 4-H Center for Youth Development University of California, Davis
Ketherine Brown and Michael Cole, 1997

Documenting Children's Problem Solving Behaviors: Using Fieldnotes of Participant Observers
Amy Olt, Michael Cole and Scott Woodbridge

Sustaining Model Systems of Educational Activity: Designing for the Long Haul
Paper Presented at Symposium Honoring the Work of Ann Brown (2001)
Michael Cole

Challenges to Studying Developmental Processes in Voluntary Afterschool Programs
Prepared for AERA, April, 2001
Michael Cole

Designing implementing, sustaining, and evaluating idiocultures for learning and development: The case study of the Fifth Dimension. pg. 331
Michael Cole

Articulos en Espanol

Chapters from Psicología Cultural
Capitulo 5: Una metodología multinivel para la psicología cultural
Capitulo 10: Poner la cultura en el centro

Cognicion y pensamiento

La zona de desarrollo proximo: donde cultura y conocimiento se generan mutuamente (1984)
Infancia y Aprendizaje, Mike Cole

Vygostky a los 100: teoria de la actividad cultural-historica como instrumento para el pensamiento (1996),
Michael Cole, Conferencia en Cuernavaca, Mexico

Una aproximacion socio-historica a la re-mediacion (1989)
Mike Cole y Peg Griffin

Articles in Russian

культура и когнитивная наука
Translation: Culture and Cognitive Science

Translation: "Re-mediation, Diagnosis, Remediation"
Mike Cole, & Peg Griffin, Esteban Diaz, Katrin King, 1989

Phylogeny and cultural history in ontogeny
Translation: "The interweaving of the Phylogenetic and Cultural-Historical in Ontogeny"
by Mike Cole

Translation: "Comments on Commentaries About Cultural Psychology"

Translation: "A Portrait of Luria:
An epilogue to the English language translation of A.R. Luria's autobiography,
The Making of Mind"

Translation: "Freedom and Constraint in Human Action"
Michael Cole & James Wertsch, 2011

Translation: "Alexander Luria and Cultural Psychology"

Translation: "A cultural-historical approach to re-mediation"
USSR, 1998.


Interview (2006): " The Role of Technology in Learning and Education " movie


Remembering Giyoo Hatano - wmv (large file)


LCHC WebMaster