Quasi-Development as an Illusion of Personal Growth


This article explores the concept of quasi-development from theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives. The study consists of two parts, examining the components and functional manifestations of quasi-development. A theoretical definition of the phenomenon of quasi-development is proposed. In Study 1, the perceptions of quasi-development in two groups of respondents were analyzed by using content analysis: one group consisted of 30 individuals without psychological education and the other of 10 individuals with a psychological background. The study revealed several features of quasi-development, including an attitude towards development where change occurs for the sake of change, an illusion of infinity of options and intensity of development induced by external influence, a desire to obtain a ready-made “recipe” instead of taking responsibility, a lack of correlation between life experience and emotional history, and a lack of a meaning regulator. In Study 2, key components of quasi-development and its connection with magical thinking were assessed by using data from 33 respondents without psychological education, but with experience of seeking psychological help and striving for self-development. The study also explored the correlations of quasi-development markers with the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale proposed by J. Tobacyk. The peculiarities of the social context of modern individuals and the ways of constructing identity were also considered. Finally, the article raises questions about the need for further research on the phenomenon of quasi-development.

Author Biographies

Svetlana N. Kostromina, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Svetlana N. Kostromina, Dr. Sci. (Psychology), Professor, Head of the Personality Psychology Department, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Her main research interests cover the topics of contemporary methodology of personality psychology, self-determination, personality sustainability, self-changes, processual personality approach, personality psychodiagnostics. Among her recent publications are Kostromina, S. (coauthored). Acquisition of Novel Concrete and Abstract Words Through the Textual and Graphical Context (2022); Kostromina, S. (coauthored). Broca’s Area Involvement in Abstract and Concrete Word Acquisition: tDCS Evidence (2022); Kostromina, S. (coauthored). Self-Determination as a Mechanism for Personality Sustainability in Conditions of Daily Stress (2022).

Maria V. Makarova, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Maria V. Makarova, Cand. Sci. (Political Sciences), Master’s degree in Psychology, is a Research Assistant at the Personality Psychology Department, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Her main research interests embrace existential psychology, methodological problems of personality psychology, identity, self-changes and personality development, phenomenology. Her recent publications include the following: Makarova, M. (coauthored). Hyperreflexivity as a Way of Interacting With the World: Role, Process, Manifestations (2021); Makarova, M. Anxiety and Psychological Defences in an Existential-Humanistic Perspective (2023).


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How to Cite
Kostromina, S., & Makarova, M. (2023). Quasi-Development as an Illusion of Personal Growth. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(2), 81–101. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.2.232