From looking at my blog posts and thinking about the reading that we’ve done, I feel like the main point of this class is about our thought processes. We are always trying to link things back to other things and then asking why. We’re always asking why. A major part of this is psychology. I don’t know if this is just my experience because I’m a psych major and I usually relate everything back to the mind in some way. Our thought processes show how we get from one idea to the next and from that we can determine why.
Until now I somehow have never heard of this technique, nor have I ever used it. After researching it, however, I feel like that’s something that I already do as I’m reading or analyzing a text. It’s quite similar to how my brain works as I’m going through a reading. I always try to find the main point so that I know what to work off of and then I’ll find separate things to elaborate on so that I practically make mental categories with the information in my head. I usually try to think of examples in my life or with information that I already know so that I can relate to it more and then I continue to relate it back to other things. I think this is an awesome method because it really does help you to further understand what you’re reading. I’m not sure why I haven’t been introduced to it before.
To be honest, I don’t really think I see myself in his essay. It was far too much information and way too dry for me to relate to anything. I was slightly interested during parts where I could link his reasoning back to a psychological standpoint but other than that it was not an enjoyable read for me. I have a hard time making it through articles that are as lengthy as that and by the end of it I felt like I still had not gained any knowledge of the subject because I didn’t understand what his point was.
This article was incredibly interesting to me because it dealt a lot with the human mind and learning which deals with my major. I’m very curious about how the mind learns to do things and how it processes new information. I was most interested in part A of section 2 of the article where it talks about how information gets into the brain. It talks about both conscious and unconscious processing. Conscious processing deals with recognizing patterns, remembering, visualizing, abstracting, deducing, inducing, etc and unconscious processing deals with mediating of received and self-generated information. I’m interested in this because I want to know how cognitive development works. I’m in a lot of psych classes right now and they deal with learning but most of them only deal with those conscious processes. I’m curious about how the unconscious processes lead to learning and why they aren’t talked about as often.
My nugget come from letter D under section 5 of the reading. It is entitled The Language Problem and it reminded me a lot of something we talked about in philosophy called the Chinese Room Argument. This is an argument against artificial intelligence. Basically, there is a man in a room who does not understand the Chinese language but he has boxes full of Chinese symbols and an instruction manual that tells him how to form words and sentences in the Chinese language. Then, imagine that there are people outside of the room sending symbols into the room that are questions in Chinese and by following the instructions in the manual, the man in the room is able to send out symbols that are answers to those questions in Chinese. Even though the man is technically answering questions in Chinese, does he actually understand the Chinese language? No! He’s just spitting out information that he’s told to. That’s the same way with computers. They may be able to communicate with us in the same language we speak, but they have absolutely no understanding. In other words, they have the syntax but they lack the semantics.
One thing that really surprised me about this experience was how easy it was to do it for such an extended period of time. I thought it was going to be difficult to sit and do this assignment for 90 minutes but honestly I could have gone on for much longer. I feel like the reason for this is because I’m fairly interested in the topic that I was researching. I started with the simple statement that gravity pulls everything down. I then googled gravity and after looking at a few pages of that, I went on to research Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. This is where my research started to get interesting. I branched off into so many things that were absolutely fascinating. I learned about black holes, physics, space time, and how geometry can be used in all of those things. I found that, even though I went on a lot of different tangents while I researched, all of my research was very organized. If I wrote it down on paper it would be quite easy to follow and I think that says a lot about how I think. I love writing lists. I stay organized by having a clear set of directions in an easy to follow list. That way, I’m able to go through the list and slowly get things done. I think my research is the same way because I slowly go through each little topic pertaining to the subject and by doing that, I learn about the topic as a whole. I’m loving doing these associative trails because they really do help me see my thinking in a way that I never did before.
- Existing skills and dispositions-
- Critical thinking
- Ability to research
- I like questioning things
- Naturally curious
- Resources, frameworks, methods, strategies and practices-
- The internet
- VCU writing center
- Time managment
- New resources and skills-
- New research opportunities
- Thinking of questions in different ways
One trail was interesting because it showed how the person jumped back and forth between the same things before they finally came to a conclusion. It was confusing and jumbled but in their own way, it helped them get to a specific point in their thoughts. On the completely opposite side, someone had an associative trail that was so organized and easy to follow that it was obvious where their conclusion came from. Both of these are so different but they just show that everyone thinks differently and there is no one way of thinking that’s better than another. There are so many ways to arrive at a conclusion and it’s more about the process than the end result.
This is like a bread crumb trail of thinking. When you look back on where you’ve been once you get to where you’re going (or where your thoughts are going) you see all the little pieces of information that have brought you to your conclusion. You see the things that have influenced you and that have caused your thoughts to go off on tangents. It helps to look back on your associative trail because it shows you why and how you’ve come up with the final product. It also helps you to understand the way you think a little better which is good because you don’t usually think about how you think.