12 Expertise, Skill, and Everyday Action

People always seem to be doing something.

-- Vallacher & Wegner, 1987, p. 3

The everyday world is just that: what people do in daily, weekly, monthly, ordinary cycles of activity.

-- Lave, 1988, p. 15

The performances of experts, and our performance of routine everyday actions such as getting dressed or driving to work, pose a serious challenge for a consciousness-centered cognitive theory. These activities are clearly goal-directed, but seem to be performed with a kind of mindlessness often associated with automaticity ( Langer, 1978, 1992). Mindlessness in this sense is sometimes evoked to explain how experts are apparently able to attend to high-level aspects of their tasks while performing lower-level components automatically, and how it is that we make such everyday errors as pouring coffee on our breakfast cereal. At the same time, expert and routine performance is closely tuned to environmental regularities, relying on informational support from the environment.

In this chapter, I discuss some of the research on expertise and on everyday action, considering its implications for understanding experienced cognition. The central theme of my argument is that understanding the role of consciousness in expertise and in everyday action depends on recognizing that action can be described at multiple levels and that high levels of skill are associated with informational constraints on cospecification and egolocative processing.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Experienced Cognition


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 358

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?