Perkins et al.: New Conceptions of Thinking

This article is part of my research on dispositions.  I have already blogged on an article which goes into great depth about the nature of dispositions.  Just a few thoughts from this particular article, which argues that dispositions are best developed through enculturation.

The authors make some interesting arguments about four distinct but mutually reinforcing ways in which enculturation occurs:

  1. “Cultural exemplars are artifacts and people modeling or otherwise exemplifying cultural knowledge. (p. 79)
  2. “Direct transmission of key information is the straightforward teaching of concepts, vocabularies, and information related to cultural knowledge.”
  3. “Involvement in cultural activities entails hands-on practice using aspects of cultural knowledge.”
  4. “Involvement in cultural interactions refers to learner/learner and mentor/learner interpersonal exchange using and embodying cultural knowledge.” (p. 80)

It struck me that three of the four (1, 3, & 4) are more efficiently enacted in face-to-face settings with human interaction.  Transmission, however, may be just as easily enacted using a machine.  A great deal of enculturation, and thus dispositional learning (becoming), depends on human interaction.


Perkins, D., Jay, E. & Tishman, S. (1993). New conceptions of thinking: From ontology to education. Educational Psychologist, 28(1): 67–85.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s