Comprehension Processes in Mechanical Reasoning
Final rept. 1 Jun 1985-31 May 1988
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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Several lines of research investigated how people reason about mechanical devices. One avenue explored the use of diagrams in conjunction with texts to understand a particular machine. Another project investigated the psychological processes that distinguish people who score high or low in a psychometric test of mechanical ability. A third project examined the visual scanning and decision processes that are used to evaluate a kinematic display of a machine in motion. A fourth project was a simulation model of how a person might generate the kinematic imagery to represent a machine in motion. A fifth project examined the cognitive processes in a visually-based test of pure reasoning Raven Progressive Matrices. A sixth project examined the use of kinematic computer displays in understanding a complex device. These projects together provide an overview of the psychological processes used in mechanical comprehension, as well as indicating why some people are better at mechanical comprehension than others. Keywords Mechanical ability, Individual differences, Comprehension of texts and diagrams.
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