Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 3 Reading Response

The Chase & Simon (1973) reading sought to explain the differences in thought processes between novice and master chess players. The researchers noticed that while there was no difference in the number of moves or depth of moves considered, the master players were considerably better at reconstructing chess piece positions from images flashed before them for 5 seconds. This is because chess masters short-term memorize the positions of the pieces in five or so chunks of four or five pieces, rather than memorizing the individual position of every piece. They discovered that the chess masters were more skilled at viewing a chess board visually, rather than analytically, observing color and goal of the chess piece layout to remember where the pieces went, similar to remembering small or irregular words.
The Chi et al (1981) reading sought to explain the differences in ways that novice and master students approach physics problems. Master students tend to apply broad, sometimes abstract, categories to different types of physics concepts in order to more quickly and accurately remember them. They also would not settle on an equation to use for a math problem until they had determined the category of equations that the question was asking for. This was partly due to the fact that the master physics students had seen many more physics problems than the novice students, so they had many more equations to sort through, but this also had to do with the fact that with more breadth of knowledge came more experience with physics and therefore the ability to chunk the information.

Both of these readings discussed the reality of chunking information into manageable pieces or categories as a method of remembrance or analysis. Chase and Simon first introduced this concept in their 1973 paper, and then Chi et al (1981) expounded upon the concept by applying it in the academic setting of physics rather than the leisurely application of a chess game. Both studies found that master players with a wider breadth of experience were better able to chunk information into manageable pieces, whether strategic or abstract, to remember and utilize the information.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting comment on chunking information. Do you think that chunking is a good skill to have in general? Apparently, our short term memory is terrible, but if we know how to chunk we can remember a great deal more. Before having read these papers, I knew about chunking as a way to memorize meaningless information like a string of numbers. However, chunking may be useful for more complex analysis.