Implicit Learning

Another Method for Implicit Learning with ShhTract:

Skip randomly down the page (let your mind choose where it stops). As you visit a particular page again and again over time, your mind will stop more often--perhaps once every paragraph; then more than once every paragraph.

When you stop on a phrase, wait for a moment, maybe a second, until the sound of the words comes into your mind without any effort on your part. (This is different from normal reading, in which you try to grab at the sound as quickly as possible, feeling almost as if you are "pronouncing" the word in your mind).

To use Shh Tract, above all never "pronounce" the words in your mind.

Be sure to blow out (Say Shh!) at the moment your mind sees the word or phrase, and until the sound comes into your mind. This act--it can be very slight--seems to be essential for activating ShhTract!

Do not try to focus on the words. In fact, try NOT to recognize them. Let them just FLIT through your mind without trying to grasp their meaning.

Nonetheless there will be some kind of understanding of the words. But you will not be able to remember the meaning. It is conscious in one way but unconscious in another way. If you try to remember, you will just shut down ShhTract. You may not see any meaning at all. You may see it only indistinctly. But that is just part of the phenomenon of cognition. The main thing is that your conscious mind is not in control. Your mind is building knowledge in its own way and in its own time.

At the beginning of this website, it was stated that ShhTract would prove that cognition is instantaneous and unconscious. The "proof" meant was that it will eventually become clear to you personally that when you are conscious of ANYTHING, for example, anything at all on the printed page (conscious in a way that you can remember what you are reading), ShhTract is not functioning. The magic is gone. On the other hand, you will be absolutely certain that when you see without recognizing, something in your mind has changed.

Also, it will become clear that unless whatever is happening is absolutely instantaneous, ShhTract is not functioning. You have to wait a second until the sound comes into your mind, but that doesn’t mean cognition takes all that time. Cognition seems to occur when your mind fist touches on the word or phrase.

ShhTract has nothing to say about the physical correlates of cognition. The only thing it does speak of is the way one can allow cognition to occur. A scientist looking for the physical correlates of cognition will certainly be handicapped if he does not distinguish example, between "implicit learning" (learning with ShhTract) and "explicit learning". "Explicit learning" will not lead him to cognition.

What ShhTract says about "explicit learning" (learning without ShhTract) is that it is not cognition. It is a way of understanding and remembering someone else’s ideas. Obviously, there are physical correlates to the process of "explicit learning" too. These physical correlates are activated but not changed by use. But the physical correlates of cognition are different.

"Explicit learning" requires the mind to understand proposed concepts in the light of knowledge one already has. Cognition does something else. Cognition CHANGES the "knowledge one already has". "Explicit learning" is under our control. With enough thought and study, we can grasp someone else’s ideas. Cognition is not under our control. No amount of study will make it happen. It cannot be controlled or predicted.

ShhTract certainly has implications for the field of education. By and large, education involves explicit learning. It is usual for educators to speak of teaching children to use their minds or open their minds. Actually, through homework and testing it by imposing a regimen of explicit learning through homework and testing, it makes actual cognition impossible. Cognition involves a willingness to give up what we know. School demands that we store it up and remember it.

Education which took ShhTract into account might, first, teach children to distinguish between what they know "implicitly" or "tacitly" and what they know "explicitly", and to recognize that "explicit" knowledge is merely tentative or provisional, but that that it is not the way to have NEW thoughts. It is only "food for thought," "food" that cannot be used to develop the mind as long as children are engaged in a struggle to remember !

Educators might also teach children techniques of using ShhTract, and encourage them to consider that the most important type of learning occurs only when immediate recall is not necessary; that "implicit learning" happens unconsciously, and is likely not become available to the conscious mind for an unpredictable time. So that to be a little uncertain about one’s knowledge of the world is a very good thing; and insights may come suddenly and unexpectedly.

Sentences and paragraphs are foreign to cognition. Concepts build up individually, becoming more complex. "Explicit learning" certainly makes use of concepts one as built up through implicit learning, but it doesn’t itself build them up further.

Various articles by Arthur Reber, such as his very fascinating "The Cognitive Unconscious: An Evolutionary Perspective," are available at Google Scholars. But his book (Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge) is easily obtainable through Amazon. These are very important works! Dr. Reber is definitely onto something!


Ayn Rand takes the position that concepts are formed by the conscious mind. See, for example, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Expanded Second Edition (April, 1990), p. 150: "Abstraction as Volitional".

Rand’s position on this point obviously cannot be valid if, as ShhTract claims, cognition is completely unconscious!

Yet of course cognition would still be volitional in the sense that it cannot occur unless the person --usually intentionally--activates ShhTract!