A few more ideas encountered reading and conversing… among them…

Reading another Malcolm Gladwell book, “What the Dog Saw,’ a collection of essays he wrote for the New Yorker… in “The Art of  Failure” on “choking” vs. “panicking,” Gladwell proposes that they are exact opposites… (link here… )

On “choking” he tells the story of Jana Novotna, near to beating Stefie Graf, and suddenly playing like a beginner… and on “panicking”, the story of a student scuba diver, when encountering a non-working secondary air source (breathing in a lung full of water,) grabbing for her buddy’s mouthpiece, meanwhile forgetting her own less visible working primary mouthpiece…

In the Novotna case, she was so awestruck at the circumstances, that she began paying too much attention to her own performance, thereby switching from her “implicit” skills to her “explicit” skills, from the motions governed by a more automatic system, to a consciously focussed, aware system… the explicit system being that used by a beginner trying to consciously learn a skill, and the implicit being the practiced, comfortable, more physically based skills of an expert.

In the scuba near-accident, the student panicked and was unable to think at all, (stress wipes out short term memory,) but only to focus on what she could see… her buddy’s mouthpiece…

So Gladwell says choking is thinking too hard, panicking being unable to think. And of course both of these are deadly states in certain circumstances, and finding ways to train against them are very much needed.

The part of the essay which intrigued me was the discussion of explicit and implicit learning, which recall my earlier entries on ambient vs. focused attention, focused vs. peripheral vision, conscious and subconscious.

Googling these subjects brings up a plethora of research into such matters, fascinating studies of eye motion, MRIs of brain activity, learning curves… all sorts of studies, observations, questions relating to the relationships, differences and balancing of these two ways of interfacing with the world.

And I feel that immersive media can play a role in both making use of, and discovering further qualities and added value, in these areas.

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