RE: Silent memes

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Sun 06 Jul 2003 - 14:26:40 GMT

  • Next message: Douglas Brooker: "Re: Silent memes"

    Keith wrote:

    <<They divided a group of undergraduates in two and taught one half how to make a typical Neanderthal stone tool by using elaborate verbal explanations along with practical demonstrations. The other half they taught by silent example alone. One thing this experiment dramatically revealed was just how tough it is to make stone tools; some of the undergraduates never became proficient. But more remarkable still was that the two groups showed essentially no difference either in the speed at which they acquired toolmaking skills or in the efficiency with which they did so. Apparently learning by silent example is just fine for passing along even sophisticated stone tool-making techniques.">>

    Well, learning by silent example is just fine for passing on sophisticated techniques to educated college undergraduates anyway. It's not immediately apparent to me whether two decades of language use facilitated this silent learning or not.

    Nevertheless, there's no reason remembered images of watching people perform tasks couldn't be considered primordial nouns and verbs. It's a fascinating line of inquiry. Thanks.

    Richard Brodie

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