Rolf Reber (Univ. of Oslo)
“The role of metacognitive experiences in critical feeling”
Combining insights from the philosophy of education and empirical psychology, the talk introduces the concept of critical feeling, which is defined as the strategic use of feelings to optimize outcomes. After presenting proficiencies and strategies of critical feeling, fluency theory is applied to the Confucian idea that humans can shape appropriate behavior with the aim to act spontaneously and appropriately. Training, which includes repetition of cultural forms, is aimed at refining one’s taste, at having a feeling for what is true, and at instilling behavior that is morally good. Selective exposure to cultural forms increases processing fluency which is the subjective ease with which a mental operation is performed; increased fluency, in turn, results in positive affect and confidence that what we read or hear is true. Fluency theory thus explains how people come to like cultural forms despite not necessarily liking the training itself. Finally, fluency theory predicts that when people are certain that they were exposed to the appropriate cultural forms, they can gauge the success of their training by assessing the subjective ease, the pleasure, or the perceived rightness related to an experience or action.