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Implicit Learning and Tacit KnowledgeAn Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious$
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Arthur S. Reber

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195106589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195106589.001.0001

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Evolutionary considerations: the primacy of the implicit

Evolutionary considerations: the primacy of the implicit

(p.73) 3. Evolutionary considerations: the primacy of the implicit
Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge

Arthur S. Reber

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the foundations of the evolutionary model and develops the formal theory. The model is based on the assumption of the primacy of the implicit and axioms derived from Wimsatt's model of “generative retrenchment” to make several rather surprising predictions about differences in implicit and explicit systems. Specifically, implicit functions should be more robust than explicit; emerge earlier in development; retain their effectiveness well into old age while consciously modulated functions wane; show relatively little in the way of individual-to-individual variation; be uncorrelated with intelligence; and show a pattern of cross-species commonality in basic operations. The existing literature on these topics is discussed.

Keywords:   evolutionary biology, implicit functions, generative retrenchment, cognition, age-related functions, individual differences, interspecies comparisons

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