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Implicit Knowledge

18 November, 2015 - 17:33
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Some knowledge that people have is unreportable - that is, they know or have the knowledge but are unable to report it verbally.

Sometimes there is a mismatch between conscious understanding and unconscious understanding. That has to do with mental representation - which is how an object is represented in a persons mind. There is going to be a partial or complete match between what the object is, how it is understood consciously and how it is understood unconsciously.

Someone can 'represent' an object to themself by thinking about it. How much they understand is going to vary depending on the object and how much they think about it. Their unconscious and conscious understanding of course is going to influence decisions made related to the object. Unconscious and conscious understanding also would help form how the feelings are related to the object and how decisions are formed related to the object.

How do thoughts and emotions work to trigger a mental experience? They must combine in some sort of 'cognitive architecture' or brain wiring. The total workings of the different processes the human brain brain uses is termed in cognitive science a 'cognitive architecture' (Thagard, Paul):

  • A cognitive architecture is a general proposal about the representations and processes that produce intelligent thought.
  • A cognitive architecture is a proposal about the kinds of mental representations and computational procedure that constitute a mechanism for explaining a broad range of kinds of thinking.
  • A complete unified general theory of cognition would provide mechanisms for explaining the workins of perception, attention, memory, problem solving, reasoning, learning, decision making, motor control, language, emotion and consciousness.

Thinking seems fairly simple; however. Everyone thinks, and humans didn't need to study what thought was in order to understand how to think - so it couldn't be that complicated. Thoughts influence our view of the world, however (and therefore help shape our reasoning and decision making). - Here is (Prinz, Jesse):

  • Thoughts are mental episodes that require the use of concepts. Thoughts may be unbidden or automatic, but they are not merely copies of the stimuli that impinge on our senses. They go beyond mere sensations and present the world as being a certain way. Thoughts can occur through processes of deliberation and can be affected, in many cases at least, by reasoning.

Thoughts can cause emotions. Typical thoughts that might cause emotions are appraisals and evaluations. If someone has a strong attitude about a thought it will probably generate more emotion than a thought that is more neutral. Thoughts are cognitive; however. Non-cognitive causes of emotion are primarily perceptual states like a smell causing disgust or a sudden change in vision (since perceptual is by definition what we 'perceive'). The non-cognitive correlates of emotion is theorized to be physiological arousal (like taking drugs or listening to music for example (other examples are weather and exercise)) (however some theories attach a cognitive component to the physiological aspect (Spinoza for example says every emotion comprises both a judgment and either pleasure or pain)).

So a lot of things cause and affect emotions in the brain. It is important to understand these causes (especially thoughts - since those are most under your control) if someone is to understand how your emotions influence your decisions and how your decisions influence your emotions. - (Prinz, Jesse):

  • In sum, we have seen that there are several possible candidates for the constituents of emotions: cognitive states, such as appraisals, levels of arousal, emotional valence, perceptions of bodily change, action tendencies, or some combination of these.