Ability and Expertise in Act Generation.
OKLAHOMA UNIV NORMAN DECISION PROCESSES LAB
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Act generation is a process used by decision makers to create a set of possible actions that might solve a problem. Since previous research has shown college students to generate incomplete sets of possible actions in act generation, the sets of actions generated by experts were examined in the first of two experiments to see if they were more complete. In the first of the two experiments, graduate psychology students were given an act generation task on a subject at which they were expert. Verbal behavior was recorded to aid in the description of expert performance. In the second experiment the same graduate psychology students were given a task at which their expertise should be of little or no value and were compared to a group of undergraduates. Measures of act generation performance in both experiments included measures of quantity and quality of actions generated. Since excellent act generation performance of graduate psychology students was found in tasks at which they were either expert of non-expert, divergent intellectual ability was implicated as the source of their excellence. In conclusion, while high intellectual ability was shown to be valuable in generating a nearly exhaustive set of actions, the issue of the effect of expertise on act generation performance remains unsettled.