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Jen Benson's picture

implicit knowledge

From taking classes in cognitive psychology, I have learned that unconscious or implicit knowledge does guide behavior. Knowledge of how to walk or play an instrument (and as Professor Grobstein pointed out, learning a language) are examples of implicit knowledge because they do not require conscious thought to guide behavior. Even social processes can be guided by unconscious knowledge. Upon meeting someone, mental representations of information associated with aspects of that person, such as their race, can be activated without our conscious knowledge and guide our perception of that person and subsequent treatment of them. These processes all seemingly fall outside the realms of the I-function, but we still seem to hold people accountable for them. This for me creates an interesting distinction between personal accountability and the I-function.

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