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Expert-Novice Differences on a Recognition Memory Test of Physics Diagrams Documents

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Expert-Novice Differences on a Recognition Memory Test of Physics Diagrams 

written by Adam Feil and Jose P. Mestre

This study used a recognition memory test and specially constructed pairs of physics diagrams to measure differences between physics experts and novices (who have not taken college physics) in the way simple physics diagrams are encoded in memory. Results show that although physics experts encode aspects and features of physics diagrams that novices do not, in some specific cases novices encode features that experts do not. Physics experts were more likely to encode features of diagrams that were more relevant to the physics depicted. This suggests that the knowledge and experience of physics experts influences the way in which they conceptualize physics diagrams, even in the absence of a question prompt.

Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010

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