Admittedly, I didn’t know what “hypocognition” meant until reading Unknown Unknowns: The Problem of Hypocognition. Even though I am trained as a psychologist, the word hasn’t come across my radar. Oops! Kaidi Wu and David Dunning write about hypocognition as “the lack of a cognitive or linguistic representation for an object, category, or idea.” We often don’t have a way to know what we don’t know. For example, the authors mention that the typical 60 year old will recognize 48,000 words in a dictionary of 600,000 of them.
My translation: there is so much more to become aware of, particularly in expressing emotions, naming color nuances, and maybe even learning a new language with its unique vocabulary.
It’s time for those of us at an Expressive Age (50 to 75) to become less hypocognitive by exploring new interests, friendships, and activities. Self-expression takes us into the territory of new discoveries, feelings, thoughts, and sensations. I am proud to be a hypocognate but I want to be able to express more!