Mike Cole

Affiliation: Professor Emeritus, Communication,
University of California San Diego
Director, Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
Email: lchcmike@gmail.com
Webpage: http://communication.ucsd.edu/people/emerita-emeritus/michael-cole.html

Michael Cole's current research is focused on the creation of University-Community partnerships. The basic strategy of the research is to place undergraduates in community settings populated by children under-represented in most American universities. The goal is to propose and test principles for the design of effective out of school learning experiences for the children and authentic theory/practice education for the students.

Professor Mike Cole is a member of the National Academies of Education of the United States and Russia and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a University Professor Emeritus in the University of California. Significant publications, almost all of which were collaborative efforts with various colleagues include The Cultural Context of Learning and Thinking (Basic Books, 1971), Cultural Psychology Harvard University Press, 1996), The Development of Children (2008), and The Fifth Dimension: An After-School Program Built on Diversity (Russell-Sage, 2006).

Apropos Thoughts on 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.

Latvian Translation, by Arija Liepkalnietis

Michael Cole Vita

Selected 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 and 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.

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

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

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) Cole,Michael.

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 Cole, Michael.

Culture and Development
Cole, Michael.

Developmental Science; An Advanced Textbook

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 A Talk Presented to the Cognitive in Romanian.
  • A translation of A Talk Presented to the Cognitive in Polish

Cultural Historical Activity Theory, Katherine Brown and Michael Cole.

  • A translation of Cultural Historical Activity Theory in Swedish

The Illusion of Culture-free Intelligence Testing Cole, Michael.

A Cultural-Historical View of Human Nature (1998) (Bibliography) 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

Figure 1

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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

Classroom Cultures and Cultures in the Classroom Margaret A. Gallego, Mike Cole, and The Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition

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 psicologí a cultural

Capitulo 10: Poner la cultura en el centro

Reinventando las prácticas educativas del pasado para lograr el éxito pedagógico del futuro
(April 8, 2011).

Cognicion y pensamiento

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

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

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

Articles in Russian

Изучение поведения в контексте: мезогенетический
Translation: The study of behavior in context: A mesogenetic methodology
Cultural-Historical Psychology 2015. Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 55—68

культура и когнитивная наука
Translation: Culture and Cognitive Science

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

Переплетение филогенетической и культурной истории в онтогенезе
Translation: "The interweaving of the Phylogenetic and Cultural-Historical in Ontogeny"

Translation: "Comments on Commentaries About Cultural Psychology.” 1994.

Размышления Над Портретом А.Р. Лурия
Translation: "A Portrait of Luria: An epilogue to the English language translation of A.R. Luria's autobiography, The Making of Mind."

Свобода и скованость человекеского действия
Translation: "Freedom and Constraint in Human Action" Michael Cole & James Wertsch, 2011.

Алехандр Лурия и Културная Психология
Translation: "Alexander Luria and Cultural Psychology."

Цоциальлно-исторический подход к переопосредствованию
Translation: "A cultural-historical approach to re-mediation", USSR 1998.


Interview (2006): The Role of Technology in Learning and Education, a movie.

Interview (1/2011) in: Europe's Journal of Psychology, February Issue 2011


At a tribute in La Jolla, CA, UCSD Professor Michael Cole speaks of his work in the Department of Communication.

The Role of Technology in Learning and Education Interview with Monica Nilsson, Winter/Spring 2006

Remembering Giyoo Hatano - wmv file.

Speeches at Michael Cole's retirement dinner, June 7, 2013