Moulding student emotions through computational psychology: affective learning technologies and algorithmic governance
Recently psychology has begun to amalgamate with computer science approaches to big data analysis as a new field of “computational psychology” or “psycho-informatics,” as well as with new “psycho-policy” approaches associated with behaviour change science, in ways that propose new ways of measuring, administering and managing individuals and populations. In particular, “social-emotional learning” has become a new focus within education. Supporters of social-emotional learning foresee technical systems being employed to quantify and govern learners’ affective lives, and to modify their behaviours in the direction of “positive” feelings. In this article I identify the core aspirations of computational psychology in education, along with the technical systems it proposes to enact its vision, and argue that a new form of “psycho-informatic power” is emerging as a source of authority and control over education.