Sociocultural Theory

Sociocultural theory is a concept introduced by Lev S. Vygotsky to examine how children are influenced by the societies they grow up in and the cultures that they are a part of. Vygotsky “believed that parents, caregivers, peers and the culture at large were responsible for the development of higher order functions.”1 The higher order functions he was referring to included “voluntary attention, intentional memory, planning, logical thought and problem solving, learning, and evaluation of the effectiveness of these processes.” 2

Sociocultural theory addresses how students’ learning can take place on multiple planes.

  • When discussing sociocultural learning theory, Vygotsky described learning on the individual psychological plane as what occurs when a person observes different circumstances around them, analyzes their personal experiences, and develops their own understanding of a situation.
  • Learning on an interpersonal plane involves communication between individuals and the knowledge resulting from these social interactions.
  • A community plane that includes the history of a group, its culture, and any changes in habits and established rituals over time also affects the development of individuals within that group.

1. Cherry, 2012, An Introduction to Sociocultural Theory section, para.1 ...
2. Lantolf, 2000, p.2 ...


  1. Cherry, K. (2012, April 10). What Is Sociocultural Theory?. Retrieved from
  2. Lantolf, J P. (2000). Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning. Oxford University Press.
  3. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Harvard University Press, 14th edition.

Social Success Mediation Theory

Social Success Mediation Theory states that the acquisition of ideas about social success and the skills needed to acquire it are formed during media experiences and social experiences. This theory also posits that ideas about social success are mediated by the social role models, social success narratives and social communities associated with those experiences.

Social role models are the individuals who were present in my participant’s media experiences and social interactions that aided them in coming to an understanding of their lives with others as well as an understanding of themselves as individuals.

Social success narratives are specific forms of social narratives that help individuals mediate their understanding of success within their interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. They are interactions between individuals that can be described in story form and they are also various experiential moments for one or more individuals that can be pondered over during intrapersonal reflections. Social success narratives exist in storylines found in all types of media and they are experiences individuals live through every day.

Social communities are spaces that take on certain characteristics and personalities in our mind because of the groups of people or emotional memories we associate with it. Neighborhoods, institutions, cultures, and digital spaces are all examples of social communities that exist in the social narratives we reflect back on at various times in our lives. Social communities help us reconcile our relationships with social role models because we can view them through the additional perspective of the environments that helped shape them.


  1. Degand, D. (2013). Social success skills: Black male high school students' perspectives on society and their media experiences (Doctoral dissertation, TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY).