Every year when teaching my "autism and reasoning" class, I have another chance to delve into cognitive science. And each time, I'm reminded of how much is involved even in apparently "meaningless" tasks like memorizing and reproducing complex shapes like (excuse the low fidelity) this one:
This is similar to another skill often dismissed as meaningless: speed. As I noted earlier in connection with math tests:
many people assume that speed tests (especially multiple choice speed tests) measure only rote knowledge. But they’re also a great way to measure conceptual understanding. Performance speed reflects, not just rote recall, but also efficiency, and efficiency, in turn, is a function of reasoning, strategizing, and number sense.When it comes to our computers, we place high value on speed and memory capacity; perhaps for the same reason, we increasingly dismiss these same things in humans. But they correlate, not just with those skills that are being supplanted by computers, but with higher level skills still matter for the foreseeable future.