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Nasipit, Talamban, 6000 Cebu City, Philippines

Final Term Paper

Applications of Cognitive Psychology in Expert Performance

Submitted By:
Chua, Felixter Leone See
O, Wesley Clarence Sy
Ong, Arthur Louie Yu
Pacio, Lance Brandon
Vasnani, Neelesh Naresh
BSIE 3rd year students

Submitted to:
Mr. Alaine Liggayu
IE 325 MW 11:00am 12:30pm Instructor
Department of Industrial Engineering

Submitted On:
March 27, 2015





Applied Theories and Principles



Methodologies and Procedures



Popular Examples








I. Introduction

Experts all around the world are changing society and improving it in
every way possible. Systems, programs, functions, workspaces and etc are
evolving because of the influence of experts. These experts are responsible
for the advancement of our lifestyles. Each year technology and science
improve simply because there are experts out there who have done work and
due to their performance, are able to breakthrough new discoveries. Experts
and their performances have limitations and it is these limitations that keep
the world organized and secure. A good example would be that an expert
should best stick to one field of expertise. This is because it is focus that
brings out the most potential benefit on the specific field. Famous experts
such as Bruce Lee, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan
all have one thing in common: They were able to improve and change the
game of their specific fields because they were all driven, passionate and
focused. Influences are given by performances. The better the expert
performs, the bigger the influence done on the specific field of play.

Experts serve as great influences and should not be taken for granted.
Their success has paved the way to new insights on how to deal with things.
No one starts out an expert. They are called experts because they have
found breakthroughs and have mastered a specific set of skills. Innovations
and success cannot be achieved by people who do not learn or excel in
his/her certain field. It is important for us to learn from the performances of
these experts and follow their footsteps. Metaphorically, experts have

already dug out the tunnel --- they have already done the hard and
challenging part and our only job is to cross it; our job is to learn from the
ideals and visions created by the experts.

The unique thing about being an expert is that you have to keep a
standard of performance if you want to continue being branded as an expert.
Determination drives experts to further accomplishments. This expert
performance is something that has become a need if this world has to
continue to innovate. The world would not be as productive and progressive
as it is today without these expert individuals. That is why in the study of
human factors, there is a prevailing need to acquire these skills to match the
performance of these experts. Throughout this paper, it will be discussed
how cognitive psychology can be applied to acquire the skills needed for
expert performance; various theories and procedures will be explicated to
supplement this.

II. Applied Theories and Principles

The Merriam-Webster definition of an expert is having, involving, or

displaying skill or knowledge in a particular field gained from experience or
training. It can also be defined as having comprehensive and authoritative
knowledge. Expertise is when one shows special skill in certain subjects
gained through professional training (Ericsson, 2000). Now an expert may

not necessarily be all about the profession. Many people say experts were
born expert like Mozart who was a musical genius from even his early ages
(Elson II, 2003).

Robert Glaser (Michelene T.H. Chi, Robert Glaser, Marshall J. Farr, 2014)
says that the studies on expertise began in the late 1960s when artificial
intelligence (AI) was being made. Many inferences were made when
Greenblatt made a chess program that would make every best plausible
move when up against an opponent (Greenblatt, Eastlake & Crocker, 1967).
The program could make this best move through extensive searches while
many other psychologists found that more experienced chess players need
not search as hard due to the fact that those players could identify patterns
and moves in mere seconds (deGroot,1966).

The Nature of expert performance is divided into seven (Michelene T.H.

Chi, Robert Glaser, Marshall J. Farr, 2014). They excel in their own domains; it
is very hard for an expert in one field to shift their skills to another field. Take
the chess players stated above, the likelihood of an expert chess player
being able to quickly become and expert fictional book author is very slim
because those are two very separate fields. Experts also perceive meaningful
patterns in their domain. For example, an Industrial engineer has had much
experience when it comes to scheduling the production process. That
engineering can easily tell how to organize the production schedule as the

orders come in because theyve seen it before. This ties in to the next point;
experts are fast. That same engineer could quickly fix any problems that
come in the way with little error. Chase (1983) conducted a study with cab
drivers, and they could recognize the shortest route to their destination after
taking traffic to considerations. Experts also have better memory when it
comes to their fields. They show superior short-term memory not because
they exceed the human limit, but because everything is so automatic with
them that their brains dont use up as much, allowing for greater storage.
Experts see and understand problems in their domain deeper. Take the
engineer from before, if a problem would rise up, lets say a rush demand for
a certain product. The engineer would be able to see how that order will
affect the remaining resources, and they would begin thinking of ways to
deal with the new problem. This is also the sixth point; experts take more
time to understand the nature of the problem. Experts being able to solve
problems faster was stated above, but this point is that experts will
understand the nature of these problems, as opposed to novices that would
immediately use equations and algorithms. Lastly, experts self-monitor.
Experts will often recheck what theyve done (Simon and Simon, 1978). They
want to be as accurate as possible to uphold the standards at which they are
called experts.

There are many things that constitute an expert and his/her

performance. Christopher D. Wickens, Justin G. Hollands, Raja Parasuraman,

Simon Banbury (2012) states that expertise is strongly linked to cognitive

psychology. The researchers used Engineering Psychology and human
Performance (4th edition) by Christopher D. Wickens, Justin G. Hollands, Raja
Parasuraman, Simon Banbury as the guide in making this study.
Expertise is, almost by definition, inexorably linked to both memory
and learning.(Christopher D. Wickens, Justin G. Hollands, Raja Parasuraman,
Simon Banbury, 2012, pg.208) Experts learn learn and remember things in
their domain that provide advantages when it comes to performance.
(Cellier, Eyrolle, Marin, 1997) noted that the expert performance is:
obtained through training and practice in a domain/field, gives a significant
performance advantage, and involves specialized and specific knowledge.
While defining an expert is easy, determining experts are much more
complex. Experts may not always be more reliable than the less experienced
(Ericsson and Ward, 2007). They based it on processes that are intrinsic,
which means that those are areas that define the domain of expertise.
Intrinsic tasks are vital in the domain like how industrial engineers need to be
good managers. Contrived tasks are areas that are not central to the domain,
but are still useful in the overall performance. Cognitive Psychology is a
contrived task in IE though it may not be at the core of IE, it still provides an
advantage as the engineers will be able to better understand the human

To further relate memory and expertise, Wickens et al. noted that

chunking, which is a method of encoding memory, is one of the things that
constitute an expert. The template theory was proposed by Gobet and
Clarkson (2004) and it says that continuous use of similar chunks help the
brain form a template of those chunks that allow easy retrieval. This
means that the brain can use it capacity for other things. Chase and Ericsson
(1981) later studied that expertise can lead to certain chunking patterns.
These patterns allow for easier recall and a better understanding of the
chunks. This also goes with Ericsson and Kintschs (1995) Long-term Working
Memory concept which states that skilled use of stored memories develop
them into the long-term memory. This helps the expert in storing the vast
information and data that their domain holds. The template theory stores the
frequently-used chunks and the Long-Term memory allows the expert to
easily retrieve the data. It adds another advantage that increases

Being an expert is all about learning whats in the domain. Its the
familiarizing oneself to the elements of that field. Training and learning is the
key to becoming an expert. There is a cognitive load theory that was first
coined by Kalyuga, Chandler & Sweller (1998) known as the expertise effect.
The expertise effect helps reduce the overall cognitive load for learners with
greater experience. This frees the brain for more advantageous processes
like error prevention and understanding the problem. When used for actual

experts, one can see how automatic intrinsic tasks become for experts as
they have much greater capacity due to the fact that their brains make their
action almost involuntary. To put it simply, the expert effect can be seen in
training learners. This helps their overall performance as it reduces the
capacity required to do the task at hand.

Wickens et al. says that knowledge is not stored as random strips of

data, but it is stored in an organized manner in the long-term memory.
Collins & Quillan (1969) even went on and said that we store broader
information apart from narrower ones. When one becomes an expert, the
structure of ones long-term memory changes. It becomes easier to recall the
information regarding that domain. The retrieval is more fluid-like and this
helps improve performance. A mental model reflects ones understanding of
a system (Caroll & Olson, 1987). Mental models can be incorrect and
incomplete based on the individuals own perception. These can be changed
over time, but that often takes a while and needs a greater amount of energy
than structuring the model itself. Experts show incredible flexibility when it
comes to the mental models of their domain. They can also adjust their
solutions to a problem even under stress better than a novice.

In terms of attention, experts are better at handling multitasking

situations (Bahrick & Shelley, 1958). Experts can scan their multitasking
environment better than novices (Fisher & Pollatsek, 2007, Shinar, 2008,

Kramer & Wickens, 1997). They can pick up the necessary information better
than others because of their mental models. Wickens et al. states that
experts are more resistant to interruption. They have devised interruption
management strategies to help deal with any obstacles along the way. Their
attention is more flexible than a novice. They can allocate cognitive
resources to more important task due to their familiarity and understanding
of their domain. Expectancy allows an individual to focus on areas where
action is more likely to happen. Experts can anticipate the areas where
problems or complications can occur due to their mental models. They are
able to assign values to each area. These values aid with expectancy. The
areas with higher expectancy are more likely to capture ones attention.
Because of the very detailed mental models experts have, they can see
which areas need the most attention (Wickens et al, 2012).

When it comes to visual perception, an individual has to get a good

grasp of their field of view before they can act. Searching is the process of
looking for certain details in an environment. There is a trade-off between
speed and accuracy of a search (Drury, 1996). Experts are less likely to make
errors in their search due to their long-term memory of the domain (Wickens
et al, 2012). They can clearly see whats wrong. A second search is often
done in order to recheck areas of uncertainty and scan for any missed

Decision Making is vital for a human being. We make decisions every

day, but some decisions are harder to make than others. Uncertainty and
rick, Time and Time pressure and familiarity and expertise are key features in
decision making (Wickens et al, 2012). Focusing on Familiarity and Expertise,
experts can quickly pick the correct option when provided with a decision
making problem (Lipshitz & Cohen, 2005). There are two ways an expert can
make decisions. The first way is automatic and effortless while the other way
requires more analyses and deliberations. The more effortless decision
making was coined by Hammod (1987) as Holistic Decision Making. Zambok
& Klein (1997) found that experts can tell domain-related differences and
choose the right solution after taking that into account. Being exposed to
correlated decision over and over again makes the expert more familiar with
the problems. This allows the expert to choose accordingly. The retrieval time
for the experts long-term memory is quite short (Shriver, 2009). The
philosophy here is, It worked once. Itll work again. This familiarity has
proven to be a hindrance in certain cases. The nature of the problems may
be similar, but certain core elements may be different.


Methodologies and Principles

We often attribute expert performance or expertise to special talents as

this superior performance usually looks so natural and effortless. There is

however a certain amount of knowledge and training required to reach the
highest levels of achievements, and the traditional way of looking at born-

talent as everything is slowly being minimized, and thats a very good thing.
In recent studies, scientists tried to measure the experts supposedly
superior powers in aspects like speed, memory, and intelligence with
psychological tests, and no general superiority was found. They found out
that this superiority was domain specific, for example, the expertise of chess
experts was limited to chess positions and did not excel in other types of
memory challenges. Moreover, although a factor, not even IQ could
distinguish the best among chess players, artists, and even scientists. This
allows for deliberate practice and training that can be acquired to attain
expert performance in desired fields. Consequently, there are many
procedures studied and highlighted by the practitioners in this field that can
be used in acquiring expertise.

One area where cognitive superiority benefits professionals a lot is

decision making. Decision making is important in our daily lives as much as it
is in the corporate setting. Thus expertise in decision making is valued a lot.
Experts generally look at the decision and intuitively pick the correct choice,
while novices may ponder for some time and make a poor choice. The best
way to become better at this is experience. Exposure to the same set of
correlated cues leads to same assessment, and improves it overtime. This is
often achieved with decision making systems that offer dummy situations. As
mentioned, expertise does not come guaranteed with practice, and so the
extent to which expertise can be acquired in decision making is limited, in

fact the most limited compared to other areas. The reason to this being the
unpredictability factor of life, wherein even delays in decision making can
cause new factors to arise, reducing the margin for error.

Attention is another area where expertise is desired in the industry. This

involves paying attention to complex tasks and minimizing the time involved.
There is method called fractionation task training wherein training of tasks is
done in an isolated manner. Since experts in attention cite automation as a
key, training in parts can make your attention focus more on a singular task,
which makes you do better in multitask situations like driving or flying.
However, many doctors in the field think it is better to train the whole task,
rather than its singular ones. A procedure called visual scanning is usually
done where the environment is analyzed to prepare the attention required
and at the same time, interruptions are tackled. This training method makes
novices achieve close to expert performance.

Expertise in avoiding human error is another commonly talked about

topic in expert performance. With our world so focused on quality and
perfection, it is important to learn how to match experts in increasing our
reliability how often we fail. The most common way of training to avoid
human error is repetitive practice, with the use of monitoring tools like event
or fault trees.

These event trees monitor errors committed in tasks, and

make it possible to see where youre making the error. Aside from practice,

other factors like stress, interruptions, and low confidence must be

eliminated to achieve expert performance in this area.

Our world lives because of the acquisition of knowledge and its learning.
Experts that can organize this knowledge and learn it efficiently and deeply
are commended. Many novices train hardly to match these experts when it
comes to learning. One of the most common ways to learning better is still
the traditional repetition technique. The more you do something, the more
you learn new things about it and youre learning on that subject is
strengthened. Another factor that you have to look into is the distribution of
practice. It is better to practice multiple times with reasonable amounts of
time intervals, rather than mass practice all at once. There also many other
factors to consider when trying to improve learning, and it is one area that
requires immense focus and determination to master. A related factor that
also contributes to learning is memory, which is discussed next.

Memory is another factor where everyone tries to perform remarkably

well due to its advantages in tackling either education or employment and
even in daily activities. Novices take a considerable amount of time in order
for them to memorize words, sentences and procedures but experts
somehow perform memorization in a shorter period of time. Most experts
perform well due to some methods like chunking in order for them to retain
information much quicker and encoding these information in the long term

memory well. It would require great procedural skills which would provide
experts a measurable performance advantage in the methods they
specialize. One example is in circumstances which requires vigilance and
situational awareness. Most experts acquire the advantage in conditions
which require these attributes due to the fact that they are able to easily
encode vital information required in every situation. By being easily able to
encode, they would have an ample more time for analysis and decision
making right for the situation.

Another controversial attribute is multitasking. Most people believe that

they are able to multitask fairly well. However, most people find themselves
unable to focus on an activity when they get into multitasking. Experts,
though, could perform multitasking quite well. This is because they are able
to practice their specific tasks until it becomes an automatic process wherein
it only takes lesser amount of focus to do well in every activity involved.

Visual search is another trait which provides advantage in certain

situation especially when it comes to information gathering. Experts use
certain techniques like keywords to spot the desired word or finding
particular shapes which aid in finding the total figure. Another factor which
helps experts perform visual search quite well is due to the frequency of use
wherein a student who uses a particular book frequently is able to find the
lessons faster compared to students who are new to the book.


Popular Examples

Henry Ford (1863 1947)

Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor
Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass
Although Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line, he
developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle class
Americans could afford. In doing so, Ford converted the automobile from an
expensive curiosity into a practical conveyance that would profoundly impact the
landscape of the twentieth century. His introduction of the Model T automobile
revolutionized transportation and American industry. As owner of the Ford Motor
Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is
credited with "Fordism": mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high
wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace.
His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical
and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships
throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Ford left
most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control
the company permanently.
As a child, ford loved to assemble and disassemble watches and became a
watch repairman. When his mother passed away, Ford left the family farm and
began to work as a machinist and later serviced steam engines. Ford became an

engineer and made his first vehicle called the Ford quadricycle which was similar to
a car. After many successful attempts in making vehicles, he then partnered with
people to create the Ford Motor Company where the assembly line technique was
implemented. Using his expertise and training in creating machines and trying to
make production more efficient, his cars turned out to be cheaper to make and cost
saving. He was also able to increase daily salaries to the workers. Ford then carried
his experience in the car industry and manufacturing processes to make airplanes
during the First World War

Peugeot Company
The Peugeot family of Valentigney, Montbliard, Franche-Comt, France,
began in the manufacturing business in the 18th century. In 1842, they added
production of coffee, pepper, and salt grinders.[15] The company's entry into the
vehicle market was by means of crinoline dresses, which used steel rods, leading to
umbrella frames, saw blades, wire wheels, and ultimately bicycles.[16] Armand
Peugeot introduced his "Le Grand Bi" penny-farthing in 1882, along with a range of
other bicycles. Peugeot then ventured into automobiles and won many rally
competitions. Peugeot added motorcycles to its range in 1903, and they have been
built under the Peugeot name ever since. Peugeot now is the leading French Car
brand worldwide
The companys experience in the manufacturing industry, supply and
exposure to different kinds of metals and levers made the transition to automobiles
very easy. Peugeot knew the domain and the elements of the automobile industry

so establishing the processes were much easier because of the expertise shown in
the field of automobiles and manufacturing.



As experts continue to influence and inspire individuals through their

incredible performances, there would be people who continue to study on
how they are able to attain their special skills and talents.

It is usually shown that there is a need for great passion, motivation and
hard work in order to attain the performance considered as an expert. Most
experts, with their drive of passion, are motivated to continue, practice and
experience specific areas and through this, they get a chance to discover
new ideas while performing well in the areas they have been focusing.

It doesnt mean that being an expert requires doing what is expected of

you but being an expert requires continuous motivation and hard work in
order to acquire new knowledge and understanding because before you can
learn further ideas, you have to go through and master existing ones. By
mastering these existing ideas and formulating knew ones continuously is
when you get to be called an expert. Everyone can be an expert. By knowing
your passion and perusing it, you can practice these areas and effortlessly
learn new concepts relating to these areas. Because as Einstein quotes:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it
will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. So all you need is to find
your strength and improve this in order to soon become an expert.


Christopher D Wickens, Justin G Hollands, Raja Parasuraman, Simon
Banbury (2012). Engineering Psychology & Human Performance (4th

Ericsson (2000). Expert Performance and Deliberate Practice.

Michelene T.H. Chi, Robert Glaser, Marshall J. Farr (2014). The Nature

of Expertise.
John L. Elson II (2003). Expert and Novice Performance in an
Industrial Engineering Virtual World Simulation.

K. Anders Ericsson, Jacqui Smith (1991) Toward a General Theory of