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7. “Skills” compound into representations (and then abstractions).

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7. “Skills” compound into representations (and then abstractions). Smile

[read about Fischer's Dynamic Skill Theory http://fab-efl.com/page11/page12/index.html]



Humans have the unique capacity of forming high level abstractions — as far as we can tell, only humans reach the same 'height' of cognition. By abstractions, I mean the usage of metaphors such as liberty, justice, and even art, in a deeply meaningful way. Can toddlers understand liberty, justice, and art the same way adults can? No, they cannot. After they have fostered many skills across many different domains, children from around the age of two begin to form concrete representations — that is, skillful word choice that represent their current higher level skill sets.

From then on these higher level skill sets and their verbal representations become intertwined and mostly inseparable from each other. This is the phenomenon of first language acquisition (and balanced multilingualism, if acquisition begins at these young ages).

When sets and complex systems of representations form their own sets and systems, they become what we scientifically call abstractions.
This level of complexity is beyond animals and toddlers. Humans only begin to form abstractions around the age of 12 and beyond. It takes that long for the brain to prepare the groundwork for abstract level cognition. This leads into the next maxim.

Q. Identify a set of actions that you may have processed into representations. Discuss your thoughts on the trip you made from actions to representations.


*It is debatable that primates and/or dolphins may reach at least the first level of abstractions (ab1). However, proving they have specific ab1, ab2, ab3, or ab4 level of abstractions is highly problematic. Why? It is problematic because we have scientific measurement protocols (like rubrics) that we use to very reliably to measure human cognitive development. I have conducted these tests in Japan and can attest they work very well. However, they are conducted via highly structured interviews scientifically designed to test cognitive potential during the interview process in their native language. This interview is only valid in the participant's mother tongue (if you want to test their true potential). So, now you can see where the problem lies -- since we cannot cannot communicate with any other animals in their mother tongue (yet), we cannot honestly use the same testing procedure and call it valid. Hopefully, we will find more reliable ways of doing this in the future!

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