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Thinking without language?

Etaoin Shrdlu cooper17.spamless at xs4all.nl
Fri Nov 26 05:56:45 EST 1999

> When you first start playing Tetris, or driving, one
> isn't very good, and in my case there is a lot of verbal thinking going
> on.  "That piece will fit and fill the row" etc.  As you gain experience
> and have already solved the problems, you simply recognize a situation,
> and reapply the same solution.
> I'm willing to accept that different people think differently, but for me
> I would consider verbal thinking very important...

In teaching horses to jump, which they do not do naturally, I have observed
them learning how to take even a jump they've never seen before, of a type
unfamiliar to them, exactly in stride. Are you saying the horse starts out
by saying to itself, "Oh, look, there's something to jump over; now, last
time it was different... OK, now I see how to apply what I've been learning,
it's a four-strides-with-a-bit-of-restraint type fence" (and yes, they do
often practice on their own, working on the approach, so we're not talking
about rider-to-horse communication here, and anyway a rider cannot force or
direct a horse to jump well, only to jump at all, and sometimes not even
that) and then gradually learns not to depend on this verbal track? Gestalt
interpretation is more important than verbal information in learning a
variable reaction situation which can be repeated in the face of entirely
new stimuli, at least in my experience.

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