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> What I do think is essential is what I can only term "elementary
> cognitive psychology" -- tech writers need to know about perception
> and learning styles to be really effective writers. Knowing all the
> grammar in the world doesn't help if you fail to consider how the
> eye moves as we read and what happens when the brain expects a
> verb and smacks into a noun instead.
The only problem with this idea is that it confuses the critical art with
the creative art. Elementary cognitive psychology may have something to tell
us in explaining why good writing is good and bad writing is bad. That does
not mean that the knowledge of this psychology will actually help you write
any better. There is a problem of complexity here. People write well based
on long practice, good editing, and an innate sensibility, not out of a
functional application of either grammar or psychology.
You can use trigonometry (or calculus, or some other sort of math) to
explain the trajectory of a ball in flight. But baseball teams do not send
their hitters to math class to improve their hitting. The act is to complex
to do by the application of rules. It must be done by the application of
innate ability honed by constant practice.
Senior Technical Communicator
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Canada, K1J 9B8
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com