02 July 2008

Looking for Wisdom, Experience is the Key to Intuitive Good Judgment, Not Credentials

There is a world of difference between someone who is good at their job, and someone who is just putting in time, going through the motions. The world needs a lot more of the former, and a lot fewer of the latter.
A few years ago neuroscientists discovered that the human brain has dual systems for receiving and analyzing sensory impressions, one conscious and one unconscious. In the unconscious, that is the non-declarative system, our sensory impressions are compared with previously stored images. We all have an inner picture book of stored experiences based on what has happened to us previously in life. We also remember the outcome -¬ did it end well or badly? With the aid of these stored sensory impressions, we unconsciously assess the situation at hand and can predict the outcome. This capacity is especially helpful in complex and information-rich situations with a great deal of noise.

The more variations of a situation we have experienced, the richer our picture book will be and the more probable it will be that we recognize the situation at hand.

“It can be a matter of smells, gestures, an ineffable combination of impressions that makes what we call intuition tell us something,” says Lars-Erik Björklund. “We have a memory that needs to be filled up with sensory impressions.”

However, these memories are stored only if they affect us. In other words, for experience to be built up, there must be commitment.

This means, according to Lars-Erik Björklund, that we can never read or calculate our way to all the knowledge and abilities we need in our professional life. Practical experience is indispensable and needs to be revaluated. An uncertified teacher with ten years of experience in the profession can be a much better teacher, assuming that this person is committed to the job, than a newly certified teacher, no matter how knowledgeable he or she is in terms of subject matter knowledge. __ScienceDaily
Most schools tend to emphasize test taking and regurgitation of learned facts, instead of experiential learning that involves all the senses that can engage the child's mind. Exceptions include Montessori, Waldorf, and similar curricula--including some homeschool curricula. Young minds are capable of building a wealth of experiential and procedural knowledge, as well as factual didactic knowledge. Government schools and many university programs ignore that potential, and as a result, young minds are shortchanged into believing they know more than they know.

Young brains myelinate from the back to the front, and young minds coincidentally develop abilities that correspond with the development of the brain. Children (and young animals) pass through developmental "critical periods" when the developing parts of the brain need to be trained with appropriate sensory input for full development to occur.

Most people are familiar with the "feral child" phenomenon. These children passed through critical developmental periods without the sensory input their young brains needed to develop normally. But what about other analogous "feral characteristics" of children that limit their potential, that we take as normal. Critical periods of development in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood that were missed by current methods of child raising?

Intelligence as measured by IQ tests follows a bell shaped frequency curve in the population. The same seems to be true for Executive Function (EF)--an even more important ingredient for life success than IQ. Both IQ and EF are significantly heritable, but within the range of capacity the child inherits, how much of the potential is actually developed by the child's environment?


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Blogger Richard Sharpe said...

Well, it really depends.

Just because someone has lots of experience as an applications programmer does not mean they will be good at systems/kernel/firmware programming ...

And while experience counts, some people take a lot less time to get to the point where they are more useful than others.

Wednesday, 02 July, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Here is the basic point: the same person with relevant experience is wiser and more intuitive than without relevant experience.

Rather than compare apples and oranges, or even compare one apple to another apple, let's compare a single unripe apple to itself at peak ripeness.

Most humans never ripen.

Thursday, 03 July, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Neither do most apples--the "ripe" apples I purchase at the grocery store are flavorless and odorless compared to the time when apples were picked when ripe.

Saturday, 05 July, 2008  

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