In 7 Quotes or Less: Mechanisms of Everyday Cognition, eds James. M Puckett and Hayne W. Reese

Posted on May 8, 2009 by


The Book:  Everyday Cognition, edited by James M. Puckett and Hayne W. Reese, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1993.


The reason laboratory-based researchers do not study interesting questions is that they feel they should study more fundamental questions that should lead to broader generalizations. (20)

– From “What is Everyday Cognition” by Leonard W. Poon, Deborah J. Welke, William N. Dudley

I’ve wondered this question for a bit on the way up from high school through college.

For example, in my 10th grade biology class, I wanted to know real badly exactly how people grew taller and had these random growth spurts ala Avery Johnson from 5’3 in his senior year of high school to his current 5’11, or Brian Urlacher from his 5’9, 160 lb frame at the start of college to his current 6’4, 250 lb hulking monstrosity, or Dennis Rodman from 5’8-5’10 before college to his current 6’8.  What the fuck, why was I stuck being 5’7? I’ve really never found out.  All I kinda learned was DNA transcription and have only been able to blame my lack of height on the genetics inherited from my 4’8 mom ever since.  Thank you 10th grade biology!  The questions suck.

I wonder the extent of its truth today in academia.


The postformal thinker knows she or he is helping create the eventual truth of a social interaction by being a participant in it and choosing to hold a certain view of the truth of it.  (83)

-From “It’s Worth the Trouble!  Unique Contributions from Everyday Cognitive Studies” by Jan D. Sinnott

A quote that summarizes the ethnographic, participant-observer viewpoint.  The viewpoint that takes into account the biases of the article writer/observer of a phenomena.


Indeed there is some evidence that children may be particularly apt to immediately accept misinformation because of their unwillingness to challenge the authority of adults (Ceci et al. 1987)

From “Individual Differencees in Eyewitness Accuracy and Suggestibility”  by Jonathan W. Schooler and Elizabeth F. Loftus via Ceci, S.J. Ross, D.F. & Toglia, M.P. (1987).  Age differences in suggestibility:  Narrowing the uncertainties.  In S.J. Ceci, M.P. Toglia, & D.F. Ross (Eds.), Children’s memory (pp.79-91).  New York:  Springer-Verlag

It felt like I was always dealing with conflicting information.  What I learned in one context, an adult would say another.  I would just go with whatever adult or older person was by me at the time.  One time in kindergarten a kid told me to say “fuck”.  I knew that was a bad word and felt dirty saying it, but the kid was older than me, so I said it anyway and that earned me a seat next to the supervising 6th grade girl in authority.

But I was in no position at all as an undersized, quiet, Asian kid to say otherwise whether it was against my teachers or my parents.  Whatever they said was alright by me!

Then one day, when I was in 6th grade my self, my teacher pronounced, perhaps out of mild frustration “the book isn’t always right.”

Talk about a world lit by fire.

Up to that point, I had thought that everything we learned in school from an authority figure be it the teacher or the book was just correct.  After that statement, I was immediately put on edge and hellbent on looking for all kinds of mistakes.


When told that there were no camels in Germany and that Berlin was in Germany, they [Central Asian peasants] refused to draw the seemingly obvious conclusion that there were no camels in Berlin.  Instead, they tended to express uncertainty about whether there were camels in Berlin the absence of relevant experience.  (104)

From – “Everyday Reasoning and the Revision of Belief” by Michael Chapman via Luria A. (1976).  Cognitive development. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

So what happens here is that the Central Asian peasants are just paying attention to whether or not the statement is actually true.  They aren’t paying attention to the logic games played by the scientists; the scientists simply expect the peasants to accept that the statement that there are no camels in Germany, and with Berlin being in Germany, Berlin has no camels.

This reminds me of this scene from The Wire where some boy is being asked a bunch of hypotheticals about his sister.


They see school as a place where one responds passively because active work toward solutions to problems is pointless, where knowledgeable adults are not resources for overcoming obstacles, where the purpose of their activity is mysterious and unknowable.  (145)

From “PIFS:  Everyday Cognition Goes to School”, by Joseph Walters, Tina Blythe, Noel White

This quote describes students with low PIFS profiles, students who lack a feel for the expectations of school and a sense of self-efficacy.  PIFS stands for Practical Intelligence for School and was a project in the 1990s that explored the question of what students needed to know in order to succeed in school.

The quote actually reminds me of what I actually thought about school from grade up to high, and I think I’ve done OK, as far as schooling’s gone.