Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


Martsinkovskaya T.D. Emotional experience (perezhivanie) as socialization and identity formation mechanism in modern changing world [Full text]

Full text in Russian: Марцинковская Т.Д. Переживание как механизм социализации и формирования идентичности в современном меняющемся мире
Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia

About author
Suggested citation

The article presents the results of historical-genetic analysis of category ''emotion experience (perezhivanie)''. There were revealed two components of emotion experience – cognitive and intentional (energy). On the base of data obtained in theoretical and empirical researches was made a proposal that this category may play a role of mechanism helping development of socialization process of children and teenagers and uniting different forms of identity in complete whole. Thus individual emotion experience optimizes self-image formation while social one – socialization by internalization of norms, rules and etalons.

Keywords: individual and social emotion experience, internalization, cognitive and intentional components


Researches reflected in given article, are based on essentially new methodological position as process of socialization and identity structure are studied in their interrelation with the emotional experiences caused by the person's attitude to himself and to social world. Thus experiences are considered not as a special condition of the person but as the mechanism, allowing connecting various aspects of identity in a single whole and, thus, organically unite social-cultural and personal identity, providing success to the process of personal socialization in the changing world.

The socialization for several reasons is one of the most actual problems in contemporary psychology. In the conditions of globalization and ''narrowing'' of geographical space we can state the expansion of interpersonal contact's space, growing interactions between people of the different cultures, different social and ethnic groups [Andreeva, 2000]. Ability to build the relation with associates in a new (varying) reality and find productive ways of self-realization in various situations is one of key parameters of a personal maturity.

The significant reason of increasing interest to the problem of socialization is enlarging ambiguity which is connected with constant transformations of values, norms, standards in the modern, changing world [Belinskaya, Tihomandritskaya, 2001]. In our society ''game rules'' constantly vary even in rather stable social groups. Proceeding from it, it is possible to ascertain that socialization goes on not only in the first 10–15 years, but throughout all life span.

Not less important, that successful personal self-realization demands social acceptance of creative activity's results. The modern social situation dictates necessity of formation of the active and flexible vital position stimulating people to use of all potential abilities available for their self-realization and personal growth within the limits of those social conditions and that culture in which they grow and develop. In this connection must be led the research of the central personal characteristics – the identity uniting as it social-cultural and personal forms [Methodological problems … , 2005].

Thus, the question of socialization, criteria and mechanisms of its successful proceeding, is very significant both from theoretical, and from practical points of view. The ultimate goal of studying of the factors influencing formation of an individual pro-social style of life, is the analysis of the conditions promoting internalization, that the assignment of social norms and values. It leads to development of the new relation, new emotions and growing of new motivation underlying new behavior [Martsinkovskaya, 1997]. From this point of view the question of mechanisms of internalization external norms, values and etalons becomes one of the major. We have assumed that emotional experience (perezhivanie) can be one of such mechanisms. However for a substantiation of this assumption, it was necessary to carry out the theoretical and methodological analysis of this concept, having compared it with the data of empirical researches.

The research of emotional experience as category of humanitarian sciences was fulfilled within historical-genetic paradigm which gives the chance with the help of the comparative analysis not only to find ways of the decision of most actual problems, but also to modify them to the modern psychological theory and practice [Category of emotion experience … , 2005]. Therefore first of all, there was accomplished comparative analysis of approaches to a problem of emotional experience and its role in socialization and identity formation in Russian and foreign humanity on boundary of ХIХ–ХХ centuries.

The category of experience (emotion) is one of the main in the humanitarian sciences. It was regarded as one of the first philosophy's invariants from the VI century BC and since then remained one of few categories uniting philosophy and psychology in spite of the fact that already in XVIII century their thesaurus and an object of research have started to be divided and essentially differ from each other. From the very beginning this category has been closely connected with a problem of regulation of behavior, external and internal personal activity, corresponding also with such leading problems as limit of strong-willed behavior regulation, conciseness of behavior's choice and purpose, adequacy of people's activity and, in more general plan, adequacy reality image which they construct. So, one can say without exaggeration that category of emotional experience corresponds practically with all categories and problems of psychology and philosophy. Nevertheless, there is a question which is central and is connected, as already has been told above, with a problem of activity, behavior's regulation and\or freedom. In philosophy this problem is reflected in discussions about will freedom, relationship between cognitions and emotions in strong-willed 's ideas about the role of emotional experience in life sense comprehension, person's self-esteem and image of himself and surrounding world.

According to comparison analysis of theoretical materials and experimental data, there have been revealed some functions of emotion experiences and shown their value, both from the point of view of the theory, and from positions of psychological practice. The most important point distinguishing experience from other emotional states is the fat, that it unites two aspects – dynamic (intentional) and cognitive. Thus two-planned nature makes this category the basic mechanism of personal formation,

Especially significant in cognitive component is the fact that identification of the learning subject with cognizable object gives the chance to remove (or essentially lower) the barriers rising on a way of knowledge of external world. Not without reason experience is the important parameter of formation of the world image already in the early childhood. Emotion experience is regarded as one of the leading facts in intuitive cognition, and in the creativity, insight, and, especially, in the process of social cognition.

The cognitive component of experience in the process of intuitive comprehension of the world gives the chance not only to understand more precisely situation, but also more adequately to construct its image, and also the relations necessary for realization of the person's needs in concrete situation and with given people. In this plan cognitive aspect of experience promotes socialization – as process of comprehension and designing the situation and relations in it. Thus experiences are in certain degree the products of this process – as positive or negative experience of a situation depending on success or un-success of behavior. And here goes on the second component of experience – intentional, dynamic aspect connected with prompting to certain actions with concrete objects and with comprehension of their essence and sense for the subject. So in real activity both parameters of experience intertwine, giving to the person chance to compare both plans in comprehension of self-image and world-image – objective and subjective.

The objective plan can construct as the released, extremely generalized reality, and the image of concrete one. As a rule, the person aspires to create image of the concrete situation which always is social and is realized in a certain context (social, ethnic, cultural). Images of different levels of being are connected with different aspects of emotion experience. Social life is connected with social experiences which reflect the person's attitude to a social environment and the place in it. Self-image and comprehension of life sense corresponds with the individual experiences reflecting the person's attitude to himself.

Individual and social experiences have the different functions connected with person's attitude to himself and consciousness formation (individual) or attitude to social environment and formation of cultural consciousness (social). In either case, thanks to experience's development the subject becomes the person, entering culture space. Comprehending its maintenance and developing defined (positive or negative) attitude to this world, the person identifies himself with this reality (or tears it away). Identification arises social (ethnic, cultural) identity. So emotion experience, helping internalization of acquired knowledge, correlate them to personal values, and thus transform new knowledge and rules into new motives and personal senses, and simultaneously, estimating (or overestimating) itself according to these new concepts.

Thus, experiences correlate the maintenance of personal and socio-cultural identity, connecting them in the generalized and consistent representation of the person about himself and his place in world around. Proceeding from it, they can be considered as the mechanism which helps to create personal's identity as complete and continuous in time system. Communication intentional component of experiences with motivation helps internalization of cultural values, standards and norms, and personal acceptance. This experience-motive connection is especially important in case of social experiences as at positive experiences it leads to integrity self-representation, and at negative – to personal and social-cultural marginality.

From this point of view it is possible to consider socialization as process of assignment of norms, values and standards and formation of positive attitude to them. Both- social and professional success as career growth or acceptance by group, high status in it, can be criterion of successful socialization. Criterion of successful socialization, without frustration of personal growth, also can be the differentiated representations of the person about himself. Some empirical data can serve as acknowledgement of a role of social and individual experiences in the course of socialization and formation of dynamic balance between socialization and individualization processes.

The role of experiences in expansion / narrowing of borders of identity and socialization success have been considered in researches carried out by Ivanova I.V. (children of 6–10 years) [Ivanova, 2001] and Konchalovskaya M.М. (children of 8–11 years) [Konchalovskaya, 2006].

The materials received by them have shown that the majority of children of preschool age estimate themselves positively, realizing only advantages and, rejecting in themselves lacks, being alienated from those qualities and features which cause negative experiences. While growing up the tendency to differentiation of personal identity's maintenance is observed that, apparently, is connected as with intelligence development, including advent of the internal plan, reflexion, and expansion of contact's circle. The new rights and the duties leading to new criteria in the self-description, give the chance to see in themselves new features, aspirations, hobbies which lead to development of sensibleness and differentiation of personal identity.

At the same time it is necessary to notice that almost 40% of children to the end of younger school age don't have adequate self-image and the identity maintenance remains vague and not differentiated. The majority of children of 6–11 years (47%) have a positive attitude to themselves, but estimate only good merits and do not accept lacks. Almost 1/3 children (30%) are characterized by the positive attitude and acceptance of themselves. The part of children of this age (19%) differs the positive self-attitude with emotionally-positive communication with ''the bad'' contemporary. It means that emotionally children do not accept existing norms and rules of behavior and are potentially inclined to break them. They are in advance convinced in impossibility of establishment of close emotional contacts to associates and expect that will be rejected by them. Also were revealed children (4%) who disapprove and do not accept themselves.

Expansion of contact's circle, occurrence of new norms and duties, leads to reduction of number of children, with negative attitude to themselves. The new status of the schoolboy, dialogue with contemporaries and teachers can help them to find that group which will positively estimate them. Relative school success also raises degree of their socialization, positive emotion experiences connected with possibility to correspond to norms, thus lead to acceptance and themselves, and these norms. At the age of 7–11 years the socialized children with adequate social emotions make a quarter (25,3%) of general sample. Also is found out the tendency of increasing ability of children gradually find ways of adequate interaction with associates, considering thus not only the desires and intentions, but also norms, rules, values of a society in which they live. The least favorable is position 16,4% of children with low socialized level. Difficulties in contacts with adults and contemporaries are accompanied by negative social experiences which complicate dialogue and adjustment of contacts to associates even more.

The obtained data shows different role of individual and social experiences (emotions) in the course of socialization and identity formation. Individual experiences lead to development not dismembered, but the consistent self-attitude filled with positive (in case of positive experiences) or negative (at negative experiences) qualities and features of the person. Social experiences can lead at positive case to integrity of representation about themselves, and at negative and unsuccessfulness – to integrity infringement. Thus individual experiences in many respects are based on social experiences, but are not identical to them. Emotional experiences promote formation of the maintenance of personal identity, doing it more realistic and adequate to those forms which are set by the social environment. As a whole, emotion experiences help to construct personal identity as set of individual and social experiences allows to incorporate objective and subjective parameters of identity in a single whole.

Obtained in these works materials show also that the generalized experiences, first of all positive social experiences (the relation to norms, rules, standards, significant for a social environment) not only move apart frameworks of social space and role repertoire of children and teenagers, but also stimulate occurrence of positive individual experiences (self-attitude) and level of personal identity's differentiation, that it is possible to consider and as expansion of its borders. Negative social experiences though have not the same value in definition of social borders, play not a smaller role in narrowing of personal identity. Apparently, it is connected with replacement of negative self-representations in unconscious and reduction of differentiation's degree, quantities of parameters on which people estimate themselves.

Thus, received in Ivanova's and Konchalovskaya's researches data has shown that emotion experiences are the mechanism with which help objective and subjective parameters in personal identity unite. Emotional experience stimulate, thou unconsciously, self- estimation and assignment of norms, scrutiny one self's image to them. Thus, experiences reflect, on the one hand, understanding, comprehension of norms, rules, estimations (including gender, ethnos, the social status etc.), on the other hand – acceptance or non-acceptance of these objective criteria and, in both cases, self-estimation according to them. Non-acceptance or a negative estimation can look as negativism, ''not-I'' which to teenage age grows in negative personal identity.

On this very aspect of emotion experiences was focused researched carried out by Belyaeva O.V. She examined the role of emotion experience in process of socialization and identity formation at teenagers [Belyaeva, 2001]. The analysis of cognitive and intentional (emotionally-valuable) emotion experience's components at teenage age has shown priority value of cognitive component reflecting aspiration of teenagers to comprehension of their own qualities and differentiation of estimations of associates. Development of social emotion experiences is connected with socialization and internalization of opinions and attitudes installations of adults and contemporaries, as far as self-categorization, thus teenagers accept opinions and values of close adults and contemporaries, but do not aspire to search another groups, which can be more similar to them on valuable orientations and aspirations. Speaking about individual emotion experiences, it is necessary to underline that at the overwhelming majority of teenagers (more than 90%) remain the positive attitude to themselves, thus positive individual experiences are characteristic even for teenagers with negative identity.

The received facts prove also that at research of individual emotion experiences of teenagers it is impossible to separate completely them from social emotions as the self-opinion of teenagers of all age groups is closely connected with opinion of significant adults and contemporaries. Age dynamics of individual emotion experiences at transition from younger to the senior teenage age is connected both with increase in the importance of opinion of contemporaries, and with the advent of reflexion, formation of more and more realized and adequate self-representations about inner aspirations, personal features and interests. These representations at younger teenage age start to develop gradually in little differentiate structure of personal identity. Individual and social emotion experiences not only construct the identity maintenance, but also simultaneously correct its structure according to social norms and rules.

In average group of teenagers identity starts to develop in complete formation, connecting norms of adults and contemporaries, the present and the future of teenagers. Thus values and attitudes of a concrete environment are generalized, passing to advanced age in the general concept of norms and rules of that society into which the teenager is integrated. To the senior teenage age realized and differentiated structure of identity is designed, it is a complex system in which external estimations refract representations about the personal value and uniqueness and adapt for own individuality. Thus, both kinds of experiences promote formation more or less realized identity's structure in many respects defining process of teenager's socialization at different levels (group, family, society). Domination of social emotions at this age can lead to conformism (at 32% of teenagers with strongly distinct social emotions). With this fact also connected the specification of socialization and identity formation at Russian teenagers. Unlike their foreign contemporaries, they didn't show aspiration to self-categorization, they don't search such group which would correspond to their representations about them-selves. The aspiration to match norms of associates, domination of social, instead of individual emotion experiences, probably, is connected with the fact that the majority of children are accepted by both groups- contemporaries, and adults. An exception are only teenagers with negative identity which do attempts of searching new group and categorization of themselves in surrounding, as they often rejected by schoolmates. Social and individual emotion experiences of teenagers with negative identity have essential differences both in cognitive and intentional components that lead to infringement of their socialization. Thus cognitive component of individual emotion experiences at this group of teenagers is less differentiated in comparison with intentional which has more certain structure and, apparently, carries out compensational function.

If in Ivanova's, Konchalovskaya's and Beljaeva's works the dominating parameter was identity in Dubovskoj E.M. and Grinfeld I.L.'s works, on the contrary, research was focused on the analysis of role of emotion experiences in the process of socialization.

The materials received by Grinfeld I.L., have shown that the role of social and individual emotion experiences in the process of socialization does not depend on a social accessory of teenagers and money's quantity of their parents [Grinfeld, 2003]. There was revealed tendency in teenagers from different families which appears in increasing of consciousness and adequacy of self-representations and future images connected with emotional saturation of individual experiences and expansion of a circle of social emotion experiences. To 11 classes positive dynamics of these indicators existing during the period with 7 on 9 classes goes down.

Substantially coincides not only dynamics, but also the maintenance of emotion experiences of the teenagers belonging to various social groups. The social emotions connected with career, the property and social roles (as theirs, and their parents) are as much as possible sated. Study and family roles are not priority in the maintenance of both components of social experiences. Also expressiveness of individual experiences, anyway, their intentional component with the years goes down. Apparently, this data reflects the general for all teenagers' standards and the attitudes connected with real values of a modern Russian society.

The most significant distinctions in the maintenance of experiences exist at pupils of 11 classes. For teenagers from families with different material abundance and different educational level there is sharp difference in sensibleness and adequacy of self-representations and the future images in these period. Pupils of a comprehensive school are more socialized and adapted for an actual situation, while pupils of a private school slopes to display of personal and social infantilism. There are considerable differences between pupils of different groups in estimation of a future. Pupils of a private school are more aimed at the future, have more accurate representations about it while pupils from other school have brightly expressed signs of alarm and uncertainty.

Domination of one kind of emotion experiences, apparently, can carry out and compensation function as materials of research of teenagers with negative identity has already shown. Pupils of private school from material abundance families more often show negative individual emotion experiences connected with family situations, and pupils of a comprehensive school – the negative social emotion experiences connected with career, the further training – as the ways of overcoming of material difficulties and finding of freedom.

The empirical data also has shown that process of socialization and social identity formation for all teenagers is essentially facilitated in that case when standards are not generalized social norms, but the cultural values set in the form of concrete characters (art, historical) and mediated by aesthetic experiences. The analysis of experiences, first of all the social emotion experiences connected with the attitude to values and norms, gives the chance to build for teenagers more adequate for acceptance and internalization ways of mastering of moral and behavior standards. The obtained data shows also that only through development of emotional sphere it is possible to construct educational process so that to combine individuality, personal growth and socialization of children and teenagers. The most prominent aspect in the process of socialization are the social emotions to some extent connected with aesthetic standards as the culture emotionally perceived as a unit, gives safeness and stability, necessary for successful socialization.

In E.M.Dubovskaya's research was done the comparative analysis of process of socialization in big (megacity) and small cities [Dubovskaya, 1999]. It has been proved, that at the teenagers living in greater and small cities, representations about life and their own future essentially differ. These work also contains materials, opening a role of values and standards as socialization mediators and showed how to optimize the ways of their translation by adults for formation of positive social emotions and group and social identity of teenagers

As a whole, the empiric data reflects laws of socialization and identity formation in those age which are the most informative to clarify transition from variability and ambiguity to stability in various socialization spheres.

Both theoretical and the empirical data shows, that it is incorrect and unproductive to divide processes and mechanisms of socialization and identity formation. We must state their interrelation, defining as the maintenance self image and motive's hierarchies and ways of realization of these motives in frameworks set by society and culture. Such approach connecting socially-psychological both individually-psychological borders and meaning their dynamics as across (displacement from external barriers to internal and back), and on a vertical (comprehension of the person's individuality and his place in the world), is represented to the most productive. It is represented also that the most adequate for such consideration of dynamics of changes of external and internal borders is the discourse socialization – individualization, and optimum mechanisms, combining these directions in development are individual and social emotion experiences.

The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, project 07-06-00333а.

Transl. by T.D.Martsinkovskaya

Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards. The titles are given in author’s translation [in square brackets].

Andreeva G.M. Psikhologiya sotsial'nogo poznaniya [Psychology of social knowledge]. M.: Aspekt Press, 2000. 288 s. [in Russian]

Belinskaya E.P., Tikhomandritskaya O.A. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya lichnosti [Social psychology of the person]. M.: Aspekt Press, 2001. 301 s.[in Russian]

Belyaeva O.V. Dinamika lichnostnoi identichnosti v podrostkovom vozraste [Dynamic of personal identity at teenage age]: avtoref. dis. ... kand. psikhol. nauk / Psikhologicheskii institut RAO. M., 2001. 20 s.[in Russian]

Dubovskaya E.M. Sravnitel'noe issledovanie otnosheniya k budushchemu u podrostkov bol'shikh i malykh gorodov [Comparative research attitude to the future teenagers in big and small cities] // Sotsial'naya psikhologiya: khrestomatiya. M.: Aspekt Press, 1999. S. 458–462. [in Russian]

Grinfeld I.L. Dinamika protsessa formirovaniya sotsiokul'turnoi identichnosti v podrostkovom vozraste [Formation of social-cultural identity at teenagers]: avtoref. dis. ... kand. psikhol. nauk / Psikhologicheskii institut RAO. M., 2003. 21 s. [in Russian]

Ivanova I.V. Vliyanie perezhivanii na razvitie lichnostnoi identichnosti u detei starshego doshkol'nogo i mladshego shkol'nogo vozrasta [Influence of emotion experiences on development of personal identity in children of the senior preschool and younger school age]: avtoref. dis. ... kand. psikhol. nauk / Psikhologicheskii institut RAO. M., 2001. 20 s. [in Russian]

Kategoriya perezhivaniya v psikhologii i filosofii [Category of emotion experience in psychology and philosophy]: monografiya / pod. red. T.D.Martsinkovskoi. M.: Prometei, 2005. [in Russian]

Konchalovskaya M.M. Osobennosti stanovleniya lichnostnoi identichnosti v doshkol'nom i mladshem shkol'nom vozraste [Specify of formation of personal identity at preschool and younger school age]: avtoref. dis. ... kand. psikhol. nauk / Psikhologicheskii institut RAO. Moskva, 2006. 20 s. [in Russian]

Martsinkovskaya T.D. Russkaya mental'nost' i ee otrazhenie v naukakh o cheloveke [Russian mentality and its reflexion in humanitarian sciences]. M.: Agentstvo “Blits”, 1994. 155 s. [in Russian]

Martsinkovskaya T.D. Sotsial'nye emotsii i ikh rol' v protsesse sotsializatsii cheloveka [Social emotions and their role in the course of socialization of the person] // Psikhologiya zrelosti i stareniya. 1997. Osen'. S. 13–23. [in Russian]

Metodologicheskie problemy sovremennoi psikhologii – paradigmal'nyi i mezhdistsiplinarnyi aspect [Methodological problems of modern psychology – poli-paradigm and interdisciplinary aspect] / ed. by T.D.Martsinkovskaya. M.: Smysl, 2005. [in Russian]

Shpet G.G. Filosofsko-psikhologicheskie trudy [Philosophy and psychology works]. M.: Nauka, 2005. 479 s. [in Russian]

Accepted 22 November 2008. Date of publication: 24 June 2009.

About author

Martsinkovsaya Tatyana D. Ph.D., Professor, Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, ul. Mokhovaya, 9, str. 4, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Suggested citation

APA Style

Martsinkovskaya, T. D. (2009). Emotional experience (perezhivanie) as socialization and identity formation mechanism in modern changing world. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 3(5). Retrieved from [in Russian and English].

Russian State Standard GOST P 7.0.5-2008
Martsinkovskaya T.D. Emotional experience (perezhivanie) as socialization and identity formation mechanism in modern changing world [Electronic resource] // Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya. 2009. N 3(5). URL: (date of access: [in Russian and English]

Back  to top >>

Related Articles