Soviet Theory of Reflexive Control in Historical and Psychocultural Perspective: A Preliminary Study




In the ongoing 'information war' between the United States and the Soviet Union, a new method of exerting influence has captured the recent attention and interest of Western Sovietologists and military and political analysts. This new method is the Soviet theory of reflexive control, which, briefly stated, can be defined as, 'a means of conveying to a partner or an opponent specially prepared information to incline him to voluntarily make the predetermined decision.' Several authoritative studies have been published which describe in depth and in detail the scientific and mathematical components of reflexive control, and its various military and technical applications. However, less attention has been devoted to an examination of the underlying historical and psychocultural factors which may have contributed to the development of this particular orientation toward decision making. The present research effort represents an attempt to narrow this gap in our understanding of the evolution and significance of the theory of reflexive control, and to develop a psychohistorical framework within which the theory may come to be better understood by Western analysts of Soviet affairs. (Author)



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