Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge: An Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious

Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge: An Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious

by Arthur S. Reber

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In this new volume in the Oxford Psychology Series, the author presents a highly readable account of the cognitive unconscious, focusing in particular on the problem of implicit learning. Implicit learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge that takes place independently of the conscious attempts to learn and largely in the absence of explicit knowledge about what was acquired. One of the core assumptions of this argument is that implicit learning is a fundamental, "root" process, one that lies at the very heart of the adaptive behavioral repertoire of every complex organism. The author's goals are to outline the essential features of implicit learning that have emerged from the many studies that have been carried out in a variety of experimental laboratories over the past several decades; to present the various alternative perspectives on this issue that have been proposed by other researchers and to try to accommodate these views with his own; to structure the literature so that it can be seen in the context of standard heuristics of evolutionary biology; to present the material within a functionalist approach and to try to show why the experimental data should be seen as entailing particular epistemological perspectives; and to present implicit processing as encompassing a general and ubiquitous set of operations that have wide currency and several possible applications. Chapter 1 begins with the core problem under consideration in this book, a characterization of "implicit learning" as it has come to be used in the literature. Reber puts this seemingly specialized topic into a general framework and suggests a theoretical model based on standard heuristics of evolutionary biology. In his account, Reber weaves a capsule history of interest in and work on the cognitive unconscious. Chapter 2 turns to a detailed overview of the experimental work on the acquisition of implicit knowledge, which currently is of great interest. Chapter 3 develops the evolutionary model within which one can see learning and cognition as richly intertwining issues and not as two distinct fields with one dominating the other. Finally, Chapter 4 explores a variety of entailments and speculations concerning implicit cognitive processes and their general role in the larger scope of human performance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195106589
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 09/05/1996
Series: Oxford Psychology Series , #19
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 870,490
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.43(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introductory Remarks
1.1. On Learning
1.2. On Evolution
1.3. On Measuring the Contents of Consciousness
1.4. On Intelligence and Instruction
1.5. A Note on Terminology
1.6. A Rapid Historical Overview
1.7. Summary
1.8. A Personal Aside
2. Implicit Cognition: The Data Base
2.1. The Polarity Fallacy
2.2. On the Primacy of the Implicit
2.3. On Functionalism
2.4. Some Assumptions
2.5. Experimental Procedures
2.6. Empirical Studies of Implicit Learning
2.7. Methodological Issues in Implicit and Explicit Learning
3. Evolutionary Considerations: The Primacy of the Implicit
3.1. Some Introductory Remarks
3.2. The Evolutionist's Line
3.3. An Evolutionary Context for the Cognitive Unconscious
3.4. Hypothesized Characteristics of Implicit Systems
4. Implicit Issues: Some Extensions and Some Speculations
4.1. Implicit Learning and/or Implicit Memory
4.2. On Rules
4.3. Knowledge Representation
4.4. On Consciousness
4.5. Prediction and Generation of Events
4.6. Nativism and Empiricism
4.7. Afterwords
4.8. In Summary

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