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Page history last edited by Kathryn Thacker 11 years, 5 months ago




          A person with expertise is one who consistently performs exceptionally on representative tasks in a particular area. Currently, a psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson has the greatest “expertise” in the area of expertise. He emphasizes that expertise in a particular domain requires intensive practice on a daily basis, which leads into Ericsson’s notion of practice actually being more important than inborn skill. Researchers also emphasize that experts deliberately challenge themselves and practice tasks in their specific area. Frequently, researchers agree that for an individual to qualify as an expert, he or she must gain intensive practice for at least ten years in his or her area.


K. Anders Ericsson



           It is important to understand that each person’s expertise is context specific. Researchers who focus on the study of memory have found that a strong positive correlation exists between knowledge about a specific area and memory performance in that particular area. Through research, it has also been found that experts remember material more accurately than nonexperts as far as recognition and recall are concerned. This holds true whether memory is tested immediately after the material is presented or after a long delay. Although this is true, people who have expertise in one area typically do not display outstanding general memory skills in basic cognitive abilities.


            Interestingly, expertise is also involved as a main component in explaining own-race bias, which is when people are generally more accurate in identifying members of their own ethnic group than members of another ethnic group. In explaining this phenomenon, it can be argued that people develop expertise for the facial features of the ethnic group with whom they frequently interact, which tends to be people of their own race.



            Expertise also affects the phases of problem solving as experts are more likely than novices to use top-down processing in order to perform well on different components of problem solving in their area of expertise. On a basic level, experts and novices differ in their knowledge base, with experts have a more carefully learned and organized knowledge structure. As discussed, experts’ memory skills tend to be quite specific, which allows experts’ memories to be substantially better than novices’ memories in their area of expertise. Further into the phases of problem solving, experts are more likely than novices to use the means-ends heuristic strategy effectively. As experts’ operations are more automatic than novices, the experts’ responses also tend to be faster and more accurate than novices’ responses. Finally, experts perform better than novices in the area of metacognition, which means that experts are better at monitoring their own problem solving.




Related Links:

1) The Cognitive Psychology of Expertise and the Domain of Interpreting

This article by Robert R. Hoffman surveys findings from cognitive science research on expertise, with a focus on applications to the domain of simultaneous interpreting.


2) Expert Performance

This article by K. Anders Ericsson and Neil Charness discusses the structure and acquisition of expert performance.


3) Expertise and Political Psychology

This article identifies the effects of expertise with empirical findings that contribute to many growing literatures in psychology and political science.


4) Expertise in Cognitive Psychology

This study tested the hypothesis of long-term working memory in a study of soccer players.


5) Expertise in Problem Solving

This work by Chi, Glaser, and Rees focuses on the indication that the analysis of expertise in semantic knowledge domains is relevant to understanding the nature of intelligence.


6) Haste Does Not Always Make Waste: Expertise, Direction of Attention, and Speed Versus Accuracy in Performing Sensorimotor Skills

This article examines the attentional mechanisms governing sensorimotor skill execution across levels of expertise.


7) How Can Expertise be Defined?

This work by Robert R. Hoffman defines expertise and explores implications of research from cognitive psychology.


8) Issues in Cognitive Psychology

This journal article discusses expertise, including its acquisition and implications for professional education.


9) Notes on the Psychology of Expertise

This work by Armstrong explains five qualitative differences between experts and novices.


10) Social and Cognitive Factors Affecting the Own-Race Bias in Whites

This study investigates factors, including expertise, associated with own-race bias in face recognition.



Created by: Kathryn Thacker

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