THE COGNITION OF ” FINGERSPITZENGEFUHL”

In the extensive and interesting 5GW dialogue Dan raised the perceptive quality called “fingerspitzengefuhl” or ” fingertip feeling” for the detection of patterns that strike us as undefinably not quite right. Essentially this would be an intuitive form of cognition and (IMHO) an evolutionary legacy that allowed our distant ancestors to avoid being eaten by large mammals with sharp teeth long enough at least to get about the business of procreation.

As it stands there is evidence for a physiological basis for ” fingerspitzengefuhl”.

Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide of the always supremely informative Neurolearning Blog

very conveniently posted this week on what sounds to be related or identical brain activity to ” fingertip feeling” in the parietal lobe region:

Decision Making Under Uncertainty

Understanding thinking: The Feeling of Knowing

Intuitive thinking may be a form of very fast processing triggered by, at least in some instances, anamolies that while subtle, provoke heightened brain activity because there is a sudden discrepancy in the “flow” or pattern that your brain had been expecting.

Tentatively, it would appear that this phenomena may not be just a fixed, finite, neurological reflex but also a cognitive skill-set that can be honed to a higher level of efficiency. SEAL and DELTA force training or certain high levels of martial arts proficiency may increase the

” fingerspitzengefuhl” sensitivity.

Hmmmm…Obi Wan may have been right after all !

3 comments on this post.
  1. Dan tdaxp:

    A very quick, self-promoting comment before I retire for the night. It seems that fingertip feeling is not only something for an assassin on a dancefloor to rearrange someone’s fingertip feelings, but something that would be re-arranged in any intrapersonal conflict.

    Most of our interactions are in small groups (work, family, etc), where most rules as unspoken and relationships are built on trust and feeling. Anyone good at rearranging the minds of others in these groups — of massaing their fingertips, so to speak — would have an advantage in the network’s power relationships.

    Supposedly, there is an Afghan proverb that reads:

    If you see an old man, sit down and take a lesson; if you see an old woman, throw a stone.”

    That’s one way to keep your fingertips from being numbed through massage.

    -Dan tdaxp

  2. phil:

    Back when I was in the Army I remember reading an infantry manual that was discussing reasons that a unit out on a patrol might want to stop for a kind of security halt. The manual listed several things such as hearing a noise, seeing some kind of sign of enemy presence etc, but one of the reasons it listed was a hunch. If you just had a hunch that the enemy was near. I was surprised to see this, because I had always assumed that massive gov’t bureaucracies wouldn’t be open to something like a hunch. But in writing these manuals they draw on combat experience and if you are trying to train soldiers for the real world then you have to defer to experience over whether the mainstream, conventional wisdom of a society would reject it as being unproven or some kind of kooky psychic mumbo jumbo.

  3. tonglong:

    Evening…,

    I enjoyed reading your post as it is relevant to today and I thought I’d add another comment.

    Its an interesting topic and should be discussed. Ill check back soon for any added comments, thanks.

    It would be great to get this thread really active again!

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