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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 223-232

Cognitive Structure of Writing Disorders in Russian: What Would Luria Say?

Elena Kozintseva,1,2 Anatoly Skvortsov,1,2,3,4 Anastasia Ulicheva,5 and Anna Vlasova (Zaykova)1,2,3

1The National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
2The Centre of Speech Pathology and Neurorehabilitation, Moscow, Russia
3The Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia
4Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Moscow, Russia
5Laboratory for Communication Science, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received 23 April 2012; Accepted 23 April 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acquired disorders of writing in the Russian language have been reported for more than a century. The study of these disorders reflects the history of Russian neuropsychology and is dominated by the syndrome approach most notably by the writings of Luria. Indeed, our understanding of acquired dysgraphia in Russian speakers is conceptualized according to the classical approach in Modern Russia. In this review, we describe the classical approach and compare it to the cognitive neuropsychological models of writing disorders that are developed to explain dysgraphia in English and in other Western European languages. We argue that the basic theoretical assumptions of the two approaches – cognitive and classical or syndrome approach – share similarities. It is therefore proposed that identification of acquired cases of dysgraphia in Russian could potentially benefit from taking the cognitive neuropsychological perspective. We also conclude that adopting elements of the syndrome approach would substantially enrich the understanding of acquired dysgraphia since these offer an insight into processes not described in the cognitive neuropsychological approach.