HotAIR - RESEARCH QUESTION -- Can It Get Any Simpler Than This? (Chapter 43)


Can It Get Any Simpler Than This? (Chapter 43)

A look at skillfully written science

by Tom Bobbsey, AIR staff

We would be interested in hearing from any reader who can do the apparently impossible: summarize this research paper even more concisely, more clearly than its authors have done.

Here is the report's title and abstract.

"Impact of Intuitive Theories on Feature Recruitment Throughout the Continuum of Expertise," K.E. Johnson and C.B. Mervis, Memory and Cognition, vol. 26, no. 2, March 1988, pp. 382-401. (Thanks to Lisa Talman for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, who are at the Psychology Department, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, explain that:

Expertise in object domains involves both the perceptual learning of the differentiating and higher order features that are indicative of concepts and the elaboration of intuitive theories. Triad-similarity judgments, feature-salience ratings, and verbal protocols were used to investigate the effects of theories on the recruitment of features across different categorization contexts, as well as the degree to which expert categorization skills transferred to less familiar domains. Whereas novices considered features that indicated overall similarity to be more perceptually salient than were modified parts that indicated taxonomic relations, experts found them equally salient. Experts' theories were instrumental in directing feature recruitment in contexts involving identification, image generation, and similarity decisions. Experts' theories also supported the transfer of categorization skills to related, less familiar domains. The relation of mutual dependence between perceptual learning and theory development throughout the continuum of expertise is considered.

If you know of a similarly impressive research report, please send the complete citation to AIR's editor.

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