The Distortion of Ideas LO23001
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 06:59:06 EDT

Replying to LO22981 --

In a message dated 99-10-25 22:38:03 EDT, you write:

I am relpying to some segments of DP's contribution (L022981)

>'If that is what I am doing': That was a crucial issue for Polanyi. One
>gets the impression from Polanyi's work that a good deal of what we
>accept as knowledge, is not representational at all. There is some other
>(more efficient? more effective? less computational?) 'knowledge
>management' in the human mind (or the human body?).

- Most cognitive scientists agree in the representational model of
information. They differ along the lines of how the information is "coded"
but agree that it is "stored" in a representational format. I would
suggest a book on the topic..."How The Mind Works" Steven Pinker...a
MIT cognitive scientist for further investigation.

>If researchers become interested in contributing to this type of
>knowledge (as opposed to representational forms of knowledge) what
>should they do? Well, I found some examples of such alternative
>(non-classical?) research. For example:

>There seems to be a difficulty in having a research-like conversation
>about 'tacit knowledge'. We might try to build explicit knowledge about
>'tacit knowledge' by codifying its nature, location, validation, ...Or we
>might identifying the 'forms of life' (e.g., forms of interaction in a
>'shared information space') that produce such knowledge. In the former
>route, we seeks to improve our (explicit) understanding of tacit
>knowledge. In the latter route, we try to produce some new tacit
>knowledge (or extend the existing tacit knowledge).

- Again, in cognitive science "tacit knowledge" is described as implicit
knowledge or implicit memory. Much of my graduate research pursuits were
in the area of implicit memory investigation.

Implicit memory is having an ability to respond correctly, above chance
levels, to information without an "awareness" of having learned that
information. Some of the interesting research on brain damaged people, who
have "lost" long term memory capabilities, are that they can be exposed to
information and not have the neurological capabilities of demonstrating
"learning" in explicit tasks but still perform in implicit tasks above
chance levels. For example, they can be exposed to a puzzle, allow time
to pass, and then be asked to assemble the puzzle. In the majority of the
cases the time to finish the puzzle is faster than with subjects who have
not been exposed to the puzzle. The "learned" group has no conscious
recognition of having ever learned or even been exposed to the puzzle.
There are many types of implicit memory studies, on both healthy and brain
damaged people.

What the studies show is that by exposure we learn. Many cognitive
scientists believe that most learning happens far outside of ones
conscious awareness of the imprinting of information.

It would be safe to conclude that we learn a great deal through exposure
of information...all stimuli is an exposure to information. There is an
enormous amount of research in cognitive science about this.

"There seems to be a difficulty in having a research-like conversation
about 'tacit knowledge'."

I would suggest reading some review articles in the Implicit - Explicit
Memory area.

Just some thoughts on the matter,


[Host's Note: In association with, this link... I heard Steven Pinker give a nice talk last week...

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker


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