The Unlearning Organisation LO9697
Mon, 2 Sep 1996 15:20:14 -0400

In a message dated 96-08-29 (LO9594) Brock writes:

>I don't understand, Jeff and Michael, why you are objecting to the word
>'unlearn' in this context. It seems to me that "reducing automaticity, the
>entrainment, the deep pathways" carries the same meaning exactly that the
>term "unlearning" conveys in a much more succinctly. "Lossening the grip of
>the past?" - sounds like unlearning to me.

....[Story about changing work routines on a particular machine]

>We were applying 'unlearning' to a very basic psychomotor activity. Is it
>not possible that there could be a parallel in higher level skill areas? Do
>we not have embedded automatic responses to situations which we decide are
>inappropriate, and then have difficulty breaking the habit?

I basically reject the word, "unlearning", because I think it
misrepresents what actually is happening. It may appear that a person is
"unlearning" a behavior, but I think a better description is that the
person is learning a new behavior, and the relative strength (not the
actual strength) of the old behavior is lessening.

By the way, I liked your story, and it brings out an important point:
that prior learning affects current learning in some predictible ways.
Your example highlights the fact that responses previously learned in a
context can inhibit the expression of new behavioral connections.

-Jeff (


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