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This article is devoted to the characterization of cognitive activity as a personality trait. The essence of the concepts of “activity” and “cognitive activity” is revealed. The signs and types of cognitive activity are defined. The connection of cognitive activity with cognitive needs, motives and cognitive interest of the individual is highlighted.
Keywords: activity, cognitive activity, personality, interest, motive, need, learning.

Li Qianye
H. S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, Kharkiv, Ukraine


The issue of forming a person’s cognitive activity has always been and remains one of the most pressing pedagogical problems, since cognitive activity affects the motivation and success of a student’s learning, and the formation of his or her readiness for further education. An active personality is an active, energetic person who strives for active participation in everything, manifests himself in activity [4].

In the biological aspect, activity is revealed in connection with the body’s adaptation to the environment. The body’s irritability is a form of activity. Activity also implies a certain psychological state of the subject, which arises on the basis of needs, motives that contribute to the definition of the goal [5]. Biological activity of a person is a prerequisite for the formation of social activity – a purposeful, conscious influence on the environment.

A component of activity is cognitive activity, which is not an innate quality and can change due to certain circumstances.

Personality’s activity in learning is formed in the process of its cognitive activity, characterized by a certain mental stress of a person, his/her desire for knowledge and manifestation of moral and volitional qualities [3].

This category is characterized in the most detailed way by V. Lozova, who defines “cognitive activity” as a human trait that manifests itself in his/her certain attitude to cognitive activity, which implies a state of readiness and desire for independent activity focused on the individual’s acquisition of social experience, as well as the quality of this activity, which is carried out by choosing the best ways to achieve the goals of cognition [4; 5].

Cognitive activity can characterize a person in terms of his or her readiness, steady desire for activity, i.e. it is a potential (possible) activity. It manifests itself in a deep understanding of the goal and is determined by curiosity and interest. However, in such cases, when the need for specific actions is realized, the mechanism of will works, which transforms potential activity into functioning (actual, real) activity.

Cognitive functioning activity can be episodic, situational or be a stable quality of personality, so depending on the subject’s attitude to the activity, there is a distinction between situational activity, which is manifested in certain types of activity, under certain conditions, and integrated activity – a stable quality of personality [5, p. 30]. Integrated cognitive activity is evidence that a person has a well-formed need for cognitive activity and stable motives. Stable motives make the child’s behavior constant.

Depending on the nature of the activity carried out by the individual, the degree of independence and creativity, one speaks of reproductive (performing), reconstructive or creative activity. At the same time, these types of activity are considered by researchers (V. Lozova, V. Smagin) as its levels [5; 9].

Reproductive activity is manifested in executive activities. In this activity, goals, tasks, and methods of activity are set, but the personality itself can show energy in performing tasks, which determines the intensity of the activity.

Reconstructive activity involves not only copying, performing a given task, but also choosing ways of activity, applying known knowledge, methods of action in a different situation, and a certain interpretation of them [5].

Creative activity is a threefold system consisting of:

– deep knowledge (development of skills and abilities, development of thinking, speech, memory)
– development of creative abilities (purposeful creative search, sustained creative interest, creative imagination)
– perseverance (initiative, independence, ability to defend one’s own opinion) [7, p. 54].

Creative activity expresses the desire and willingness to consciously and voluntarily, in accordance with one’s conviction, to carry out initiative and innovative actions in various fields of activity, and is also manifested in the implementation of these activities. In addition, creative activity, as V. Lozova notes, is manifested in the transfer of knowledge and skills to a new situation, the vision of a new problem in a traditional situation, the combination and transformation of learned ways of activity, and the construction of a new way [5].

It should be noted that activity is manifested both in the objective aspect – the results of activity – and in the subjective aspect – motives, needs, interests.

A person’s motives reflect his or her internal motivations. It is in the motive that the combination and synthesis of external and internal influences that determine the attitude to activity takes place. The activity of a person is motivated by certain motives and at the same time it needs to be purposefully formed, stimulating this formation by external conditions and circumstances [5, p. 19].

The main motivating force of activity is human needs. They arise in the course of the activity itself and at the same time are its prerequisite, its internal source. Based on the fact that human activity is related to the satisfaction of human needs, it acts both as a condition and as a realizing moment of need. Thus, human needs are a decisive factor in the manifestation of personality activity [5].
The basis of cognitive activity, its internal source, is the cognitive need, that is, the need to acquire new knowledge, to deepen the knowledge that the individual already has, to comprehend the spiritual culture of society, the need for self-expression in a particular field of activity. The need is the beginning that calls the subject to activity. Satisfaction of some cognitive needs leads to the emergence of new ones, but they do not arise in students by themselves.

Therefore, it is important to create conditions for activating cognitive activity and purposeful pedagogical influence that promotes the emergence of cognitive needs in students.

The system of needs and motives is reflected in interests, which act as a kind of objective orientation of a person in his/her relations with reality.

Interest is a form of identifying needs, and it is determined by the motives of the activity, so reflecting motives and needs, interest becomes a goal. Motives create only a potential opportunity for a student’s development, since the realization of motives depends on the individual’s ability to set goals and achieve them in learning. It is the goal that determines the way, the nature of the subject’s actions, and the realization of the goal is a form of activity [5].

The form of manifestation of internal needs for knowledge is cognitive interest, which is the goal, the motivating force in satisfying the need, the motive or selective attitude of the individual to the object; cognitive interest is considered as an active cognitive attitude of a person to the world, as a selective orientation of the individual, which is focused on the process of acquiring knowledge [1; 2]. Cognitive interest on the way of its development is usually characterized by a conscious focus on certain subject content and activities. The stimulating effect of interest on all learning functions determines its exceptional role in the development of students’ skills and desire to learn, ensuring their activity, emotionality and purposefulness. Cognitive interest is a source of activity, an incentive to learn in order to master knowledge, skills and abilities; it is a form of activity, and at the same time, activity affects the formation of interests, needs, and motives of the individual [1; 5; 8].

Thus, cognitive activity, based on the cognitive needs, motives and interests of a person, is a feature of a person that manifests itself in the attitude to learning and cognition, provides for the readiness and desire to carry out independent activities, assimilate social experience and determines the quality of this activity.

List of references

1. Bibik N. Formation of cognitive interests of junior schoolchildren. Kyiv: VIPOL, 1998.
2. Golovan T. Cognitive interest as a factor in improving the efficiency of the learning process. Ridna shkola. 2004. № 6. С. 15-17.
3. Goncharenko S. Ukrainian Pedagogical Dictionary. Kyiv: Lybid, 1997.
4. Lozova V. Cognitive activity of schoolchildren: a special course in didactics. Kharkiv: Osnova, 1990.
5. Lozova V. Holistic approach to the formation of cognitive activity of schoolchildren. Kharkiv: RCNIT; H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv State Pedagogical University, 2000.
6. Luparenko S. Development of cognitive activity of junior schoolchildren by means of Waldorf pedagogy: Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences. Kharkiv: H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University, 2007.
7. Osadchenko I. The problem of stimulating the creative activity of schoolchildren. Native school. 2001. № 11. С. 54-55.
8. Ostapenko O. Educating pupils’ interest in learning. Native school. 2001. № 4. С. 10-11.
9. Development of creative activity of schoolchildren and criteria for its evaluation. Control of educational and cognitive activity of schoolchildren and students. Kharkiv: H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv State Pedagogical University, 1997. С. 20-23.