chapter  15
10 Pages

Extensions and Speculations

The main business of this book has been completed. We have reviewed the functional significance of imaginal and verbal symbolic processes in relation to problems of meaning, perception, learning, memory, and language. We have found that each of these overlapping areas could be conceptualized reasonably consistently within the framework of a model based on the postulated functional characteristics of the two symbolic systems. The empirical gaps and theoretical uncertainties nevertheless remain substantial even in the most thoroughly investigated of the above areas, so the broader enterprise that the book represents has only begun. Specific lacunae and the direction that research might take to fill them have been identified throughout the book, and it is unnecessary to re-emphasize them here. However, other relevant topics were treated only briefly if at all, usually because the factual evidence presently available is insufficient to warrant a detailed discussion of the area in terms of the variables and concepts on which our attention centered. I am referring particularly to such topics as physiological correlates and theories of imagery; the traditional cognitive research areas of concept formation, problem solving, and creativity; and the practical implications of the two-process approach for education. In this final chapter I will briefly discuss each of these topics, pointing to relevant findings where available, and suggesting possible directions that research might take in order to further our understanding of the theoretical or practical problems in those areas, and at the same time improve and extend the two-process theory itself.