Ekaterina Babintseva

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania

2019 to 2020
Fellow in Residence

Computer-Based Education in the Cold War United States and Soviet Union: Cyberdreams of the Information Age

This project examines Soviet and American attempts to use teaching computers to rationalize human learning in the second half of the 20th century. In the 1960s, Soviet and American psychologists developed different models to investigate and describe learning. Some of them defined learning as behavior engineering; some proposed that we think algorithmically, whereas others insisted that there is an element of guess, intuition, and creativity that is central to our problem-solving abilities. However, they agreed that properly programmed technologies could help people develop high-end cognitive skills, such as creativity, inventiveness, and critical judgment. This study offers a historical perspective for the contemporary world, in which the mind serves as the main production force, a new financial asset, and the subject of scrutiny and control.