Thinking across Cultures

By Donald M. Topping; Doris C. Crowell et al. | Go to book overview

24
Predecision Processes in Chess: Masters, Experts, and Novices

Dianne Horgan, Keith Millis, Terence Horgan, Robert A. Neimeyer Memphis State University

Current research on expertise emphasizes stages in the development from novice to expert. Although these stages are thought to be similar for the development of expertise in any domain, much of this work has focused on chess. In fact, Newell and Simon ( 1972) call chess the "fruitfly" of cognitive psychology. (See Holding, 1985, for a comprehensive review of chess research.)

Anderson ( 1985) identifies three stages. In the cognitive stage, a person learns a set of domain-specific facts relevant to the skill, and uses these facts in conjunction with previously learned, domain-general, problem-solving procedures. Next there is the associative stage, in which one learns, and begins employing, domain-specific problem-solving procedures. Finally there is the autonomous stage, in which these domain-specific procedures are employed more rapidly and automatically. A chess master is in the autonomous stage.

Dreyfus and Dreyfus ( 1986) have identified five similar stages from novice to expert. Stage 1 is the Novice stage where a person learns action rules which use context-free features, i.e., features that are recognizable without benefit of prior experience in the specific domain. Next the Advanced Beginner, through experience, starts learning to recognize domain-specific features, and learns procedural rules which use these features. The third stage, Competence, is characterized by a hierarchical use of rules. The learner at this stage is able to choose an organizing plan, goal, or perspective; and then to invoke only a small set of features and rules which are the most important, given that plan. Stage 4, Proficiency, is characterized by the emergence of "holistic similarity recognition." The performer spontaneously sees the current situation as similar in certain salient ways to previous ones, and thereby spontaneously sees an appropriate organizing plan. Finally, in the Expert stage, the performer spontaneously sees not only an organizing plan, but also the

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