Monday, August 3, 2009

Unlearning 101: Education

Unlearning 101: Education:
St. Louis's Gateway Arch is one of the world's largest optical illusions. It appears to be much taller Gateway-arch than it is wide. The reality is that it is as high as it is wide. The problem is that the illusion can't be overcome just by taking another look -- only an objective measurement will do.

The relationship to unlearning is this: You can't simply rely on what you see to be the sole determinent of truth. In many cases only objective measurement will do.

For example, as I explained in this video, people often "see" patterns when none exist. Alternatively, we tend to view people based more on their surroundings and Gateway2environment than on who they truly are.

If you want to unlearn, my recommendation is to recall the old phrase: "Trust but verify."

"We are so good at seeing patterns that often we see them where none exist." Anonymous


  1. Optical Illusions are hard to calculate but how exactly do we unlearn them? Also for the video students only took the online one the second time because of the fact that the printed one wasn't there and if the printed one wasn't there it was obviously not that informative for it to be cancelled out of the program list. That's what the students were thinking.

  2. How to unlearn optical illusions? Great question. I think it actually might have a lot to do with looking at art and "Trust but verify."

    But, in the first case the majority chose Print + Web. No one chose print alone. No doubt no one wanted print only.

    The second time they mostly chose web only. But is was different students. They didn't know that one option was cancelled.

    So, what happened in people's heads that the absence of something they didn't even know about changed the way they made their decision.

  3. I think that if they saw print and web versus just web they would have thought: "If print is not classed separately it obviously is not that useful." And so they all did not want to pay extra for something they did not even think was a good purchase as it was not important enough to be classed alone. A very conservative way not taking risks. They thought that as they did not know what the printed one was they would not want to buy it.

  4. So are you saying that just be calling print out gives it a perceived value?

    That's pretty clever.

    My only quibble might be that probably they didn't have the thought "If print is not classed separately it is obviously not that useful" in words. It probably happened so fast that they didn't even know they were thinking it.

    You buy that?

  5. And also many kids these days are less inclined to read print than to go on the internet. For research a lot more kids use the internet instead of books. Yes i buy your point.

  6. So true. Actually on the reading print thing. My hypothesis is that most people never read. They search the net, get what they want, and leave.

    Close reading is a completely different skill that very few people have. (including many of the teachers I've met) it's about comparing and contrasting what someone is saying in Print. Then going back and thinking which thing which person said that makes sense.

    Like any other skill it needs practice, practice, practice. it's true for a golf game, music and anything else owrth doing.

    The only way to get to good at it is to practice.

  7. Exactly and most in this generation never get to practice. I'm sure books will soon be a dying art in the future.

  8. That's a place we disagree. Here's just one an example.

    Suppose you could point your cell phone at a printed page, click a button, and the smart phone automatically goes to a video that plays on the phone?

    How about a Printed sheet that connected your phone to the top ten rap songs that week?

  9. Michael, i do not know one kid out of all my friends who enjoys reading. I am sure that in the future Computers will be the new age and technology would have developed in terms of computers. Books will be a dying art. No one is going to bother writing a book anymore. Its all typing now and ideas and what would be books will just be posted on the internet.

  10. I'm sure that's true. But that may be a problem going forward. Turns out that reading is the best way to get great at thinking. And thinking is the best way to get done what you want to get done.

    Any thoughts about why none of your friends enjoy reading? I know kids your age who enjoy reading.

  11. There are all types of kids. Many of them i know. All of these types are above the age of 15.

    Type 1- The Non-Reader- This is someone who does not read anything and always is on the internet

    Type 2- The Subject Reader- This reader only reads for the school books that are assigned to him and nothing more


    Type 3- This is the type who has a large amount of knowledge but pretends for whatever reason he reads it all

    Type 4- The Genuine Reader- This type uses books and internet and generally just enjoys reading.

  12. Nice.And helpful. Any thoughts on how you can recognize the 15%? I think the others are pretty easy to figure out how to recognize.