The Psychology of Expertise: Cognitive Research and Empirical AI

By Robert R. Hoffman | Go to book overview

goal for knowledge acquisition is to acquire both types of knowledge, then certainly at least two different methods should be employed. For acquiring declarative knowledge, appropriate methods include those requiring introspection and verbalization, such as structured interviews. Although think-aloud problemsolving methods elicit declarative knowledge, the requirement to explain the behavior can be intrusive. For this reason, such think-aloud protocols can be used to elicit declarative knowledge; however, the problem-solving behavior accompanying verbal protocols cannot also be safely used to infer procedural knowledge.

Problem solving, when experts are not asked to explain their behavior, or are asked only to verbalize thoughts that naturally come to working memory, can be very useful for inferring procedural knowledge. If domain-general procedures are being used for task performance, intermediate declarative states of knowledge in conscious awareness can be used to infer those domain-general procedures (as is currently done by Rasmussen and others studying problem solving). If domain-specific procedures are used, the situational characteristics and behavioral outcomes can be analyzed to infer the specific and finely tuned procedural rules.

The theory and research reviewed here suggest that experts may often rely heavily on nonverbalizable types of knowledge. The fact that most of our knowledge elicitation methods rely on verbalization should be at least somewhat disconcerting. Given the existing results thus far, which indicate the parallel and often independent nature of learning systems, perhaps current practices in knowledge acquisition should be modified. In addition, researchers should progress toward identifying the divergence and convergence provided by various forms of knowledge elicitation.


References

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