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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by David T. Brookes, Brian H. Ross, and Jose P. Mestre
In this paper we present the results of two experiments designed to understand how physics students' learning of the concept of refraction is influenced by the cognitive phenomenon of "specificity." In both experiments participants learned why light bends as it travels from one optical medium to another with an analogy made to a car driving from paved road into mud and vice versa. They then learned how to qualitatively draw the direction of refracted light rays with an example of a glass prism. One group learned with a rectangular prism example while a second group learned with a triangular prism example. In a transfer test, the participants revealed how, even when they seemed able to implement the refraction concept, their responses were biased by the example they had seen. Participants frequently violated the refraction principle they had just learned (reversing the bend direction) in order to make sure their response matched the surface features of their learning example. This tended to happen when their test question looked superficially similar to their learning example. We discuss the implications of these results for physics instruction.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Learning Theory
= Transfer
- Problem Solving
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
Optics
- Geometrical Optics
= Refraction - Flat Surfaces
= Refractive Index
- Lower Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Researchers
- application/pdf
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105
IES Grant:
DE R305B070085
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
01.40.Ha
Keywords:
Expertise, Specificity, Transfer
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 1, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 9, 2012 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 7, 2011
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
D. Brookes, B. Ross, and J. Mestre, , Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (1), 010105 (2011), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105).
AJP/PRST-PER
D. Brookes, B. Ross, and J. Mestre, Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (1), 010105 (2011), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105>.
APA Format
Brookes, D., Ross, B., & Mestre, J. (2011, April 7). Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 7(1), 010105. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105
Chicago Format
Brookes, D, B. Ross, and J. Mestre. "Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7, no. 1, (April 7, 2011): 010105, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105 (accessed 20 July 2024).
MLA Format
Brookes, David T., Brian Ross, and Jose P. Mestre. "Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7.1 (2011): 010105. 20 July 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "David T. Brookes and Brian Ross and Jose P. Mestre", Title = {Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {7}, Number = {1}, Pages = {010105}, Month = {April}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A David T. Brookes %A Brian Ross %A Jose P. Mestre %T Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise %J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. %V 7 %N 1 %D April 7, 2011 %P 010105 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Brookes, David T. %A Ross, Brian %A Mestre, Jose P. %D April 7, 2011 %T Specificity, transfer, and the development of expertise %J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. %V 7 %N 1 %P 010105 %8 April 7, 2011 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010105


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