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V. Common Knowledge

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Norman discusses how humans have common knowledge about certain things. He’s talking about how memory ties in with the human thought process. For example, he brings up how many typists may not have memorized the keyboard but with experience and time the typist can type with accuracy, speed, and ease. He then states that “the knowledge is still mostly in the world, not in the head” (Norman 56). As a skilled typist, you just start to type whatever letters you need to type subconsciously. It’s similar to breathing as it comes naturally to you over time. For instance, I know that when I type I don’t use a lot of my brain to indicate where each letter on the keyboard is since it just flows naturally to me. Instead, I just think about what I’m going to write and then I type it out without straining my brain or eyes. Norman then goes on to explain the sub categories of knowledge which are the knowledge of and the knowledge how. “Knowledge of –of what psychologists call declarative knowledge–includes knowledge of facts and rules like knowing to stop at a red light.  Knowledge how is what psychologists call procedural knowledge or the knowledge that enables a person to perform music, to stop a car smoothly with a flat tire on an icy road, to return a serve in tennis, or to move the tongue properly while saying the phrase “frightening witches” (Norman 57). The knowledge of  is easy to write down and teach while the knowledge how is easy to demonstrate.  Basically, the knowledge of  is common knowledge known just by living everyday life while knowledge how is knowledge you must learn through experience.  Thankfully, visual aids help us with these everyday inventions on top of our knowledge of the world. Norman uses the example of how a keyboard lights up every time it’s in use. For example, when I’m driving in a car, a green square surrounds whatever position the car is in whether it be in P(ark), R(everse), D(rive), N(eutral) etc. and serves as a reminder to me. I think it’s interesting how certain things have become “common knowledge” such as stopping at a stop sign, going at a green light, knowing there’s 4 seasons in a year, knowing new york city is a major city in the united states and so on. What exactly makes something common knowledge or how long does it take for something to become common knowledge? I guess only time and the people influenced will be the only deciding factors. Well for now, I know that it is declarative knowledge (of) that the _____ for Dummies books are for people who want to know more about that specific topic which makes the book a procedural knowledge (how); pretty interesting if you ask me.

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Written by minjikwon

September 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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