How Can Expertise be Defined? Implications of Research from Cognitive Psychology

  • Robert R. Hoffman

Abstract

In Cognitive Psychology, the experimental study of expertise involves applying concepts and methods from a number of areas: problem-solving, learning, and ergonomics, to name just a few. The study of expertise provides a focus for basic research on many phenomena of cognition, such as memory limitations and reasoning biases. It also provides a focus for discussion of issues in cognitive theory, such as those involving knowledge representation. The psychological study of expertise has been invigorated in recent years by the advent of expert systems, but studies of expertise can be found even in the earliest psychological research. Furthermore, a great deal of the research in the tradition of judgment and decisionmaking can be regarded, in hindsight, as studies of expertise (e.g., linear decision models of the reasoning of economists). Clearly, the literature of psychological studies of expertise is vast.

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© Robert R. Hoffman 1998

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