How Shh Tract differs from Dr. Reber

For an academic study which on a number of points closely tracks Shh Tract, see Arthur S. Reber, “How to Differentiate Implicit and Explicit Modes of Acquisition’” in Scientific Approaches to Consciousness, Jonathan Cohen and Jonathan Schooler, eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997. Also: Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge, An Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious,” Oxford University Press (Clarendon Press), 1993. Professor Reber is also the author of a Dictionary of Psychology where one can find definitions of the terms “implicit learning,”, “explicit learning”, “tacit knowledge”, “declarative knowledge” and so forth. For example:

“Implicit learning” is defined as “ A term coined by A.S. Reber for learning that takes place largely independent of awareness of both the process of acquisition and the content of the knowledge so acquired. Material that has been learned in this fashion, often termed “procedural knowledge,” can be used to guide behavior, make decisions and solve problems, although that individual is typically unaware of the complex knowledge held that enables him or her to act in this fashion.

“Explicit Learning” is “Learning that takes place consciously and results in knowledge that is available to consciousness; learning of which one is aware.”

From the first reference above:

“Implicit acquisition systems have a long evolutionary history and can be found operating in virtually every species of even modest neurological complexity.” (p. 152)

“Our subjects are conscious of the fact that they have learned something. They are aware that cognitive change has taken place during the learning phase of the experiment, they know that they know something they did not know before. They have a “feeling of knowing.”

“The quick review of the literature included here strongly supports the notion of a hierarchically structured mind/brain with a foundational implicit acquisition and representation system that operates largely independently of consciousness, hovered over by an explicit cognizing system whose operations are intimately tied to consciousness.” (p. 151).

Shh Tract differs from Dr. Reber as follows:

“Implicit learning” is really the one and only mode of cognition. “Explicit learning” is merely either an understanding and putting into words of one’s own “tacit knowledge” or else an understanding of someone else’s proffered “knowledge” without integrating it into one’s own (tacit) view of the world.

The proof is that “explicit learning” simply cannot be intentionally or predictably integrated into one’s “cognitive unconscious”. No amount of effort will do it. The cognitive unconscious makes knowledge in completely unpredictable ways. That is its job.

No wonder tachistoscopists are frustrated in their efforts to insert specific content into the cognitive unconscious (p. 141, first reference above). The cognitive unconscious has a mind all its own. “Implicit learning” makes things part of your world. It gives you what you see when you “look out” at the world.

Obviously, “explicit learning” (which is learning by means of words) does make use of one’s existing “cognitive unconscious” (or per Shh Tract, one’s “conceptual structure”). But it doesn’t change that structure at all. No “cognition” occurs.