How Do Experts Solve Unfamiliar Problems: A Preliminary Study (Hoe Lossen Experts Onbekende Problemen op: Een Vooronderzoek)
INSTITUTE FOR PERCEPTION RVO-TNO SOESTERBERG (NETHERLANDS)
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A largely unanswered question in the literature on problem solving is how experts solve unfamiliar problems. Do they resort to weak methods of search and analysis similiar to those used by novices Or do experts who have acquired powerful processes of reasoning in one domain apply those processes to solving problems in areas where specific solution methods have not been worked out An initial attempt at answering this question was made in the present study. The domain chosen was experimental design. Subjects with varying levels of experience with designing experiments were asked to think aloud while they were designing an experiment in the, to them, unfamiliar area of sensory psychology. The results showed that experts quickly translated the unfamiliar problem into more abstract and familiar terms with which they could retrieve an experimental paradigm from memory. In contrast. novices only used a very general idea of what an experiment should look like, and hence could not provide as many details as the experts. The results further showed that experts have acquired powerful strategies for understanding the problem and evaluating designs. They can apply these strategies to unfamiliar problems. Novices apparently lack these strategies. Keywords Dutch language Netherlands transfer of training.
- Operations Research