First-Person Education and the Biofunctional Nature of Knowing, Understanding, and Affect

  • Asghar Iran-NejadEmail author
  • William Stewart


This chapter outlines a new 1st-person approach to educational research and practice and compares it with the traditional 2nd/3rd-person education. The chapter also reports three studies in support of the hypothesis that the acquisition of 2nd/3rd-person knowledge engages different processes from the acquisition of 1st-person knowledge. Second/third-person knowledge acquisition may be defined as internalization of external knowledge by means of such cognitive processes as elaboration, application, and evaluation all of which presuppose, rather than cause, understanding. First person knowledge acquisition, by contrast, may be defined as the reorganization of the learner’s own biofunctionally-embodied intuitions resulting in new-understanding outcomes such as realization, revelation, and insight. A noteworthy implication is that 1st-person knowledge acquisition, remembering, acquisition of surprising knowledge, and acquisition of insightful knowledge all involve essentially the same knowledge acquisition processes. Any differences may be attributed, e.g., to whether the prerequisite understanding is routine or new with extensive, affectively-rich, biofunctional reorganization.


Knowing Understanding Affect Biofunctional embodiment Intuition 2nd/3rd-person education 1st-person education 



Correspondence about this chapter may be sent to Asghar Iran-Nejad, Ph. D., University of Alabama, 309 Carmichael Hall, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406; e-mail: An early draft of this paper was presented (and published in the proceedings) of the CELDA 2009 conference as Iran-Nejad, Steward, & Parizi, (2009). Knowing, understanding, and affect: A first person perspective. Proceeding of the IADIS International Conference, Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital age, November 20–22, Rome, Italy. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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