4111 James Hall


Broeklundian Professor, Emeritus


Born in Philadelphia, PA (March 11, 1940). Taught at the University of British Columbia, Canada (1966-70), Fulbright Professor, University of Innsbruck, Austria (1977-78), Visiting Professor, University of Wales, Bangor, Bangor Wales, UK (1994-95). Broeklundian Professor since 1998.

B.A., 1961, University of Pennsylvania
M.A., 1965, Brown University
Ph.D., 1967, Brown University


We've spent more than three decades studying implicit learning. In a nutshell, implicit learning is the process through which knowledge about the world about us it picked up largely independently of awareness of both the process and products of that learning.

Recent work has taken us into a wide array of issues and areas, such as:

1. Implicit learning in patients with traumatic brain injury: In a nutshell, implicit functions survive intact. Research carried out by Noam Fischman, Leib Litman and our collaborator at Peninsula Hospital, Richard Waxman. Two papers are in preparation. This work has implications for new forms of cognitive rehabilitation with this population.

2. Implicit learning in autism: Our studies here also find normal implicit learning in autistic patients, but with a caveat. It is only normal when encoding functions are intact. That is, these patients are normal when processing geometric forms but, not surprisingly, have difficulty with sequences composed of faces expressing particular emotions. Chris Smith was responsible for this work. A paper reporting these findings is in preparation.

3. Implicit functions and their role in aesthetics: This work combines the classic approach based on Zajonc's work with implicit processing to construct a new theory of aesthetics. The first paper on this topic by Diane Zizak and Arthur Reber appeared in Consciousness and Cognition in 2004.

4. Human in the loop: Interlocking implicit functions with feedback about biological function and a novel theory of computability. This work, largely theoretical in nature, is being developed by our lab and Steve Kercel at the University of New England. Two papers on this approach have been written.

5. The time course of consolidation. The issue here is whether implicitly acquired knowledge consolidates like explicit knowledge. How long it takes and how the various kinds of procedures used to assess it function. The work is due primarily to the efforts of Leib Litman. One paper appeared in Evolution and Cognition, two others are in preparation.

6. Bilingualism and creativity. The search here is for the underlying elements that are responsible for the oft-observed correlation between fluency in more than one language and increases is divergent thinking and creativity. Tolya Kharkhurin is the creative bilingual behind this project. A paper on the findings is in preparation.

Note: Arthur has retired from teaching He will be spending the 2005-06 academic year at the University of British Columbia. In the Fall of '06 he will return and reopen the lab. New students wishing to pursue doctoral training at that time are welcome to apply.

Selected Publications


Reber, A. S. (1986, 1995, 2001). Dictionary of psychology. London, Penguin/Viking. Second edition, 1995, Third Edition, (A. S. Reber & E. S. Reber, 2001)

Reber, A. S. (1993). Implicit learning and tacit knowledge: An essay on the cognitive unconscious. NY: Oxford University Press.

Papers and Chapters

Reber, A. S. (1992). The cognitive unconscious: An evolutionary perspective. Consciousness and Cognition, 1, 93-133.

Reber, A. S. (1997). Caterpillars and consciousness. Philosophical Psychology, 10, 437-450.

Litman, L. & Reber, A. S. (2002). Some hints about the time course of consolidation of implicitly acquired knowledge. Evolution and Cognition, 8, 145-155.

Don, A. J., Schellenberg, E. G., Reber, A. S., DiGirolamo, D. M., & Wang, P. P. (2003). Implicit learning in individuals with Williams Syndrome. Developmental Neuropsychology, 23, 201-225.

Reber, A. S. (2003). Some, perhaps surprising, consequences of the "cognitive revolution." Cognition and Evolution, 9, 102-115.

Zizak, D. M. & Reber, A. S. (2004). The structural mere exposure effect: The dual role of familiarity. Consciousness and Cognition, 13, 336-362.

Kercel, S. W., Manges, W. W. & Reber, A. S. (2004). Wiring a human-in-the-loop. In Proceedings of meetings of Human-Machine Interface Technologies, Columbus, OH, September, 2004.

Kercel, S. W., Manges, W. W. & Reber, A. S. (2005). Some radical entailments of Paul Bach-y-Rita's discoveries. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 4, 551-565.

Reber, A. S. & Allen, R. (in press). Implicit and explicit learning. In A. Cleeremans, P. Wilken & T. Bayne (Eds.) Oxford Companion to Consciousness. London: Oxford University Press.