Research of the Modern Infosphere from the Standpoint of Cultural-Historical Psychology in "Cultural-Historical Psychology" Journal


On November 15–17, 2022, the “L. S. Vygotsky and A. R. Luria: cultural-historical psychology and issues of digitalization in social practices» International Congress was held at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University. Moscow State University of Psychology and Education acted as a "strategic partner". The new, 3rd, issue of the journal "Cultural-Historical Psychology" can be regarded as a kind of "continuation" of the Congress. Precisely as a continuation, and not just as a publication of its materials - they came out as a separate collection (see: “L. S. Vygotsky and A. R. Luria: cultural-historical psychology and the issues of digitalization in social practices. International Congress, November 15-17 2022. Edited by of T. E. Sizikova, G. S. Chesnakova, Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, Novosibirsk: NSPU, 2022). The editors turned to a number of speakers of the Congress - psychologists and teachers from Russia, Spain, Brazil, Serbia, to prepare separate texts developing the topics and subjects that were discussed in their reports.

The theme of the issue is "Research of the modern infosphere from the standpoint of cultural-historical psychology". The introduction of the term "infosphere" itself (1970) is usually associated with the name of the American economist, sociologist and poet Kenneth Boulding. The phenomenon he refers to arose in culture and history long before the invention of IT, as did the reality that is commonly referred to as "mixed" (Mixed reality - MR) or "hybrid" and which "collects" MR into something whole. The authors, in fact, demonstrate how psychological penetration into the nature of this phenomenon is possible by means of an approach, the foundations of which were laid 100 years ago by L.S. Vygotsky. Vygotsky was a contemporary of the pioneers of cybernetics Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Carl Ludwig von Bertalanffy, and William Deming. In the USSR, the early works of physiologists N.A. Bernstein and P.K. Anokhin, performed during the life of Vygotsky were involved with research in this field, and A.A. Bogdanov in many respects anticipated in his "Tectology" the first steps of cybernetics by about 10-20 years. The paradox is that Vygotsky, having looked at a person in the optics of the most complex system of mediations of cultural properties and origin, having comprehended human development as mastering this system not as a colossal set of means, but by himself, without knowing it, found a psychological key to understanding the nature of the digital world, and to MR in general. Already “double stimulation” is the simplest model of the MR device and the infosphere. It is no coincidence that the “Vygotsky-Sakharov method” (including it) inspired J. Bruner to search for key ideas that later became the basis for modern cognitive psychology and the entire family of cognitive science, without which the development of computer science is unthinkable. It is also of no coincidence that the student of L.S. Vygotsky A.R. Luria had a powerful, widely recognized influence both on the cognitive science family and, indirectly, on computer science. In the late 60s - early 70s. another student of Vygotsky, a friend of A.R. Luria A.N. Leontiev got carried away by the “information approach” in connection with the analysis of the problem of mental image modeling. He got carried away so much that Luria jokingly remarked to him: “You will be beaten for your bits” (from the story told by V.P. Zinchenko). The highly experienced and wise Alexander Romanovich in a dialogue with K. Pribram, P.K. Anokhin and N.A. Bernshtein has already been able to preliminarily assess how reliable the bridge between psychology and computer science will be, on which tourist crowds of amateurs walk today, not knowing about the strength of the structure.

The term "Artificial Intelligence" 50 years ago caused understandable alertness, and even rejection, among philosophers, psychologists, even mathematicians. Especially when it was considered as a replacement for natural intelligence, and not as a replacement for a number of its functions that can be “redelegated” to a machine, freeing up natural intelligence for creation, including of new forms of AI. And "liberation" - an arbitrary act, according to Vygotsky - is necessary for strengthening. A person cognizes and cognizes himself through his “strengths”, concentrated in “essential forces”, “higher mental functions”, etc. Through them, human weaknesses also become clear. The evolutionary transition "from weakness to strength" is a trite empirical picture for school textbooks. Therefore, it is natural that at the peak of the development of "strength", in particular the instrumental power of AI, new "weaknesses of a person" and his "natural intelligence" are exposed. Meaning lags behind achievements, the reflection of hindsight is not immediately able to assess what the “foresight” has done in a frantic technological race, where there was simply no time to rest and think. To comprehend - the “work of meaning” is unhurried, in its essence, therefore we “do not catch up” with ourselves in our own achievements, becoming somewhat reminiscent of gifted children (in the issue you will also find an article on giftedness from the angle of the topic of interest to us).

In doing so, the point was missed. According to Vygotsky, the system of mediations is, first of all, a system of social connections of people through culture, which unite millions, billions of them into a new community, including those who do not even suspect the existence of each other. As noted by B.D. Elkonin (and here he feels for the main message of Vygotsky), mediation is, first of all, mediation, everything else is its projection. Such as the Internet. The human world, compressed in a “digit”, its space and time is a compressed, folded community, no less alive than those people who hold devices in their hands, press buttons on a keyboard, click a mouse, etc. If it is not recognized on the monitor as a person's alter ego, then the opposite happens - dissociation. And in the networks we see digital traces of the multiplied loneliness that exists before and without any IT.

The authors of the issue are looking for ways (theoretically, experimentally, practically) through which "digital footprints" can lead people to each other and, above all, to themselves, finding a source of strength for this in the infosphere.

And one more very important circumstance. The issue will see the light on the eve of the 85th anniversary of outstanding researcher of development Lyudmila Philippovna Obukhova, which she could (should!) have celebrated on July 22, 2023. We are sure that she would have been among the contributors to this issue, decorating it with her article. Lyudmila Philippovna is a School within a School: scholarly, pedagogical, in some places "motherly" - not only to her students, but to all of child psychology. In the pages of this issue we will remember Lyudmila Philippovna. Our memory of her is love. And inspiration for further research into the most important in a person - the desire and ability to develop with others, the generation of meaning through development.  All of this, by virtue of our abilities, we strive to pass on to those who will come after us.

All articles of the issue are published in open access at
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