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Feil & Mestre 2008 Faculty Retreat PosterPDF


Title:Using a Recognition Memory Test to Measure Expert-Novice Differences in the Encoding of Physics Diagrams
Author(s):Feil, Adam
Contributor(s):Mestre, José
Abstract:It has long been known that physics experts categorize physics problems based on the underlying physics principles involved and physics novices tend to categorize physics problems based on surface-features. This current study used a recognition memory test and specially constructed pairs of physics drawings to measure differences between physics experts and novices in the way simple physics diagrams are encoded. Results show that physics experts encode some aspects and features of physics pictures that novices do not, and in some cases, novices encode features that experts do not. Physics experts were more likely to encode features of pictures 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 pictures, even in the absence of a question prompt. These results suggest that one factor which may limit the effectiveness of introductory physics instruction is that physics novices may pay attention to, and remember, aspects of examples shown that are not particularly relevant to the physics principle being explained. Future studies will examine methods that may help direct novices’ attention to relevant features of problems and examples. This poster was also presented at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) conference, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Issue Date:2007-08
Genre:Conference Poster
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-05-03

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