Psychophysiology of self-knowledge and personality development in physical culture university


Dr.Hab., Professor A.F. Popova
PhD, Associate professor A.A. Popova
Ural State University of Physical Culture, Chelyabinsk

Keywords: personality, Higher Self, creativity, physiology, psychology, university, self-knowledge, sport manager.

Introduction. Interest in self-knowledge is characteristic of a developing personality. It is a condition for an increase of one’s significance for others and of one’s usefulness in terms of more meaningful communication (establishment of trust-based relationships with one’s immediate – first of all business – circle). In other words, the need for self-knowledge, according to A.A. Ukhtomskiy, becomes actual not only with external stimulation, but also as a result of individual striving for self-actualization of the genetic predisposition in regards to temperament, character and intelligence [6].

In historical development this need is included in the structure of Homo sapiens, becoming one of the constituent elements of his culture.

According to N.A. Berdyaev, self-knowledge is a process of psychological growth, movement from self-centeredness to constructive self-improvement, from ignorance about one’s divine nature to theandricity [1]. Gaining insight into oneself then becomes finding meaning in life, a spiritual enlightenment, a salvation of the spirit and human essence in oneself.

Objective of the research was to actualize the issue of psychophysiology of self-knowledge and personality development of the future specialists in the sphere of physical education and sport.

Results and discussion. The essence of the issue of self-knowledge can be appreciated on the basis of the content of the scheme shown in Figure 1. There are three blocks in its structure:

  • self-knowledge as a psychophysiological phenomenon;

  • communication framework and unconventional ways of self-knowledge;

  • moral maximalism in self-knowledge and Higher Self development of a sport manager.

Self-knowledge (being a complex psychophysiological phenomenon) is hereby understood as the ability to learn the real and ideal “self” on the basis of one’s knowledge of oneself and attitude to oneself.

Figure 1. The essence of the issue of self-knowledge

Self-knowledge carried out by an individual sport manager is the knowledge of self-essence in its specificity (abilities, mistakes and weaknesses, feelings and emotions reflecting life processes as well as the boundaries of this knowledge). In view of the mentioned above “self” is not only an object of perception, but also a subject of thought (a purely reflexive “self” in relation to existential subjectivity).

Self-knowledge takes place on three organically interconnected levels: sensory, empirical and theoretical. From the standpoint of the theoretical level self-knowledge should be well formulated and verified (that is, it should be verifiable and supported by facts).

It is from this perspective that we developed a scheme of the process of self-knowledge of Higher Self of an individual sport manager (Figure 2). It consists of the following: 1) summarized information to which Higher Self reacts; 2) a list of questions and issues to be addressed; 3) ways of development of positive qualities of a sport personality. Feedback given indicates that the process shown in Figure 2 can take place several times in order to obtain information about oneself and increase efficiency of managerial actions to achieve business (professional) success [4]. The situation when the feedback is perceived by Higher (rather than Lower) Self is especially important. Therefore methods acceptable for it are of paramount importance and should be differentiated from the standpoint of self-improvement issues being solved [5]. Firstly, we are talking about the problems of sport personality development in the course of daily life. And, secondly, about solving large-scale problems of Higher Self development (or making crucial decisions relating to change of work or achieving success in another post).

Figure 2. The process of self-knowledge of Higher Self

It is recommended to make a real action plan taking into account assessment of resources for achievement of the goals set and desired deadlines for their implementation to solve large-scale problems. It is important to discuss the plans drawn up with people whose interests will somehow be affected in the process of self-improvement from the standpoint of Higher Self.

In the most general form the aspects of the sport manager’s personality development are as follows: health, ability to act (motivation and commitment), skills and personality. Qualitative results of self-knowledge include a healthy way of thinking (in many respects – strategic, rational, economic and institutional) as well as sensations (conscious feelings) and willingness to act in accordance with the put together program of achieving business success in the field of physical education and sports activity taking into account knowledge of limits of one’s abilities.

It is important for a sport manager to perceive himself as a personality. This becomes possible in the knowledge that his business activity and daily life, mental and physical activity, material and spiritual interests are balanced (without this tension and stress are likely to take place along with their manifestations unpredictable for the development of Higher Self). It is also good to accept one’s shortcomings, the presence of internal orientation, understanding of oneself and awareness of one’s purpose in life from the standpoint of achieving business success [3].

Development of the sport manager's personality is organically linked with his professional development and improvement of his competency level [2] (Figure 3).

The growth of the level (1-2-3) promotes an increase of the degree of manifestation of Higher Self of a sport personality able to work in more complex situations and time intervals. At the same time (as we have already mentioned above) balance is a key component of self-improvement and further self-knowledge of the sport manager’s personality.

Figure 3. Competency levels of a sport manager of a physical education and sport organization

Conclusions. Methodology of self-knowledge defined by both principles of logical thinking and aprioristic forms of sensibility of a sport manager’s personality can be applied with regard to the research topic in question. As shown herewith, it is particularly about the reflection of reality associated with its material and ideal creativity carried out in the course of real activity in the sphere of physical education and sport. 


  1. Berdyaev N.A. Samopoznanie: opyt filosofskoy avtobiografii (Self-knowledge: experience of philosophical autobiography) / N.A. Berdyaev. – Moscow: Kniga, 1991. – 448 p.
  2. Boydell T. Kak uluchshit' upravlenie organizatsiey. (Organization Administration: methods of improvement) Transl. from Engl. / T. Boydell. – Moscow: INFRA-M, 1995. – 204 p.
  3. Popova A.A. Sportivny menedzhment: tendentsii i zakonomernosti razvitiya (Sport Management: development trends and patterns) / A.A. Popova, S. G. Serikov. – Chelyabinsk: UralSUPhC, 2014. – 116 p.
  4. Popova A.A. Formirovanie i otsenka delovogo uspekha fizkul'turno-sportivnoy organizatsii predprinimatel'skogo tipa (Formation and evaluation of business success of physical education and sports business organizations) / A.A. Popova. – Chelyabinsk: UralSUPhC, 2009. – 34 p.
  5. Upravlenie personalom: obuchenie, kadrovy menedzhment (Human Resources: training, personnel management) / N.P. Vinogradova, A.A. Popova. – Kostanay: ChSU, Kostanay branch, 2015. – 264 p.
  6. Ukhtomskiy A.A. Fiziologicheskaya labil'nost' i ravnovesie : sobr. soch. (Physiological lability and balance: Col. works) – V. 6. / A.A. Ukhtomskiy. – Leningrad: LSU, 1962. – P. 136-141.

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The essence of the problem of self-knowledge is considered in view of psychophysiology and history. Particular attention is paid to the development of the personal "self" in a university of physical culture.

The paper describes self-knowledge as a phenomenon, namely gives a description of how it is displayed in certain forms of perception (of some comprehendible structure, which is changing with the development of sport manager's personality). It is a driving force of critical reflection and elimination of previous points of view (their denial in order to reach the next level of self-knowledge).

Given is an algorithmic representation of the process of self-knowledge of Higher Self of an individual sport manager. In the self-knowledge process the sport manager's personality rises from the rational-empirical to rational form of thinking. The latter then becomes the basis for cognitive reflexive acts (both reasonable, and rational).