Wednesday, March 05, 2008


OK, I have been wanting to blog about this really interesting book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell that I borrowed from my colleague Jeremy. The premise of "rapid cognition" is that people have an innate intuitive knowing about things that is sometimes (often? always?) smarter than logical reasoning. Gladwell cites art experts who sensed at a glance that a statue for sale was a fake, despite scientific tests authenticating the age of the marble etc. This is the same way that writing instructors look at a student's draft and know it's not their work - whether too much help from a friend or borrowed entirely. Students ask us what website or database we use to check - such as the infamous and expensive anti-plagiarism site "Turnitin". I think they would not like to know that we can often just tell in a "blink."


Blogger Michael Faris said...

I haven't read Blink but I wonder if I can agree that even our "blink" responses of "this is plagiarized" aren't logical. Isn't there a logic behind it? Doesn't it just become "naturalized"? I'm not saying it's totally logical, but it seems to me that it's logical. We know what a student's writing generally "sounds" like, we know this doesn't "sound" like that student, and we suspect plagiarism. It seems pretty logical to me.

10:08 PM  
Blogger PaulaMc said...

I just set aside Blink to read because I also am fascinated by the unconscious workings of the mind. A great little book along this line is Guy Claxton's Hare Brain Tortoise Mind.

8:26 AM  

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