Shimamura_Chp 5

Shimamura_Chp 5 - Chapter 5 Act II The Art of Knowing...

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Chapter 5 1 Act II: The Art of Knowing Chapter 5. What Do You Know? You know that the object in Figure 5.1 is a pipe., but the fact that Margritte added Ceci n’est pas une pipe ( This is not a pipe ) forces us to re-evaluate what the painting represents. The point of course is that the painting represents a pipe, but it is not a real pipe. Magritte’s meta-art statement bears on the dual nature of paintings. They represent real-world objects but are actually flat canvases on which paint is applied. The relationship between real objects and how they are represented is particularly relevant to the art of knowing. Our vast storehouse of knowledge includes perceptual knowledge of objects and space and semantic knowledge of facts, concepts and word meanings. We use this knowledge to explore the world around us. Unconsciously Yours One often unappreciated aspect of our knowledge consists of habits, skills, and preferences that guide our behavior. These unconscious or “implicit” forms of knowledge drive what we are see, though we are seldom aware of their expression. For example, as you read this sentence you are rapidly processing the meaning of words and relating them to your existing knowledge base. This feat requires extraordinary sensory and conceptual skills, yet we are so fluent with the process that we are not even conscious of rapidly converting these little black symbols into meaningful words. Likewise, when we ride a bicycle, play a musical instrument, or perform any other well-trained skill, we don’t have to remember how to do it; this kind of knowledge is expressed in the act of doing. Another kind of implicit knowledge is the occurrence of a thought that just seems to pop into mind without any idea of how it got there. Such occurences offer clues to the streams of neural activity that are coursing beneath our conscious awareness. They often drive our preferences and desires, though we are often oblvious of their influences. In this section we explore ways in which unconscious forms of knowledge act on our perceptions and preferences. Sensory Skills Frequent exposure to the sensory world has moulded our brains so that regularities in visual patterns are readily detected. For example, we know how light is reflected off surfaces, how shadows are cast upon objects, and how size varies with distance. Perceptual knowledge is acquired through constantancies that are part of the world that are so ingrained that our brains habitually use this knowledge to guide our senses. We form expectations of we should see, sometimes at the expense of what we are actually seeing. It is as if our brains are always making educated guesess about what our eyes will encounter. When you look at the illustration in Figure 5.2a (next page), our brains interpret it as a 3-D
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This note was uploaded on 11/04/2010 for the course PSYCH 39E SEM taught by Professor Shimamura during the Spring '10 term at Berkeley.

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Shimamura_Chp 5 - Chapter 5 Act II The Art of Knowing...

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