Sociocultural Theory

Key concepts:

  • Factors such as society and history play a role in an individual's motivation.


  • Soviet theorist Lev Vygotsky (1856-1934), studied how sociocultural and historical influences affect a person's motivation. He used the ideas of philosopher Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) to help him understand how history and society have an impact on motivation.
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  • Vygotsky stated that learning and language originated in the sociohistorical context.
  • Sivan (1986) also proposes that knowledge comes form the sociohistorical context.


  • Other theories that focused more on an individual argued that factors such as poverty, racism, and individual goals interfere with motivation.