Two weeks of a chest cold, and one of bronchitis. It's a wonder I can even type. Some quick thoughts on the recent post:
The fastest form of learning I know of is the Garcia effect: taste aversion after one trial of a nauseating substance. Individual vocabulary terms during language acquisition can be that fast. Acquiring and learning to use new concepts, however, tends to take rather longer.
At least two types of bad knowledge acquisition seem to happen among readers. In the first, the reader trusts the author to present accurate knowledge about the world, and the reader extracts new but incorrect knowledge from the material by context. However, the reader might lack the skills to evaluate the correctness of the knowledge, or the reader might overvalue the reliability of the author. An infamous mainstream example of this would be Robert Browning's use of the word "twat" in his poem Pippa Passes, which he thought meant "a nun's headgear" from its context in an earlier poem. (NB: it doesn't.)
There's also the "double bind", described below, which -- hypothesis -- induces psychological stress in order to convince the reader of a counterintuitive premise. (A stage magician will "force" an audience member to choose the three of clubs during a card trick.) This is not a simple extraction of (incorrect) knowledge from context. Note that if one already accepts the premise, the double bind acts as a reward, not a stressor. Note, too, the meaningful content of the premise is not closely related to the form of the double bind.
The knowledge learned from the double bind appears to be more deeply held than knowledge taken naively from context. Is knowledge learned from the double bind more quickly learned than knowledge learned from context? Anecdotally, texts with double binds appear to be texts readers are prone to re-read. Perhaps because these crucial passages are read multiple times, the premise is 'naturally' reinforced in the mind of the reader, rather than any deeper psychological association caused by the method.
(The ideas in the last two paragraphs could, in principle, be tested experimentally, I think.)
I feel like there's something important just below the surface here: learning theory, theories of mind and autism, structuralism, and psychological projection all seem connected. It'll be interesting to learn what the neural correlates are, if any. Hopefully the physical functioning of the higher processes of the brain will be able to be understood by the higher processes of the brain, i.e., there will be a high level of abstraction. But that's just a hope, and if anything there's empirical evidence against it.