The Playlist of Awesome: Putting Perceptual Exposure to Practice

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  • First, you need a large number of superficially diverse, positive examples. Think about what this implies: a diverse selection means that it’s better to have a selection of small but good examples, instead of longer, bigger chunks. Smaller chunks allow you to work through more examples in the same period of time. So: pick smaller snippets of code, or little snatches of essays, instead of complete programs or long articles, ones that take hours to finish reading.
  • ‘Positive’ examples means that you’ll have to pick what is good. Don’t worry if you have to use your judgment to pick at the beginning. You may have the presence of mind to know that your taste for a good picture or a good piece of writing might be suspect when you are starting out. No matter. Pick the examples that you admire most. Your taste will improve, and so will your picks.
  • Then go through your Perceptual Exposure Playlist at a leisurely pace, never spending more than a couple of minutes per example. Don’t reflect, don’t think, just browse.
  • Close your playlist and move on. One tricky thing is that during this exercise, you probably wouldn’t feel as if you’ve learnt anything consciously (one of the most salient features of perceptual learning is that the learners can’t articulate whatever it is that they’ve picked up during the process, or sometimes even whether they’ve learnt anything at all). What you’re trying to improve is a subconscious sense of ‘good’.
  • Schedule updated sessions to create new playlists, and review old ones. As your perceptual abilities improves, you should find that your evaluation of old playlists will shift over time.
  • Concrete examples: Rule of Thirds. Narrative in Writing