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      Expertise Differences in the Comprehension of Visualizations: a Meta-Analysis of Eye-Tracking Research in Professional Domains

      , ,
      Educational Psychology Review
      Springer Nature

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          The magical number 4 in short-term memory: a reconsideration of mental storage capacity.

          M N Cowan (2001)
          Miller (1956) summarized evidence that people can remember about seven chunks in short-term memory (STM) tasks. However, that number was meant more as a rough estimate and a rhetorical device than as a real capacity limit. Others have since suggested that there is a more precise capacity limit, but that it is only three to five chunks. The present target article brings together a wide variety of data on capacity limits suggesting that the smaller capacity limit is real. Capacity limits will be useful in analyses of information processing only if the boundary conditions for observing them can be carefully described. Four basic conditions in which chunks can be identified and capacity limits can accordingly be observed are: (1) when information overload limits chunks to individual stimulus items, (2) when other steps are taken specifically to block the recording of stimulus items into larger chunks, (3) in performance discontinuities caused by the capacity limit, and (4) in various indirect effects of the capacity limit. Under these conditions, rehearsal and long-term memory cannot be used to combine stimulus items into chunks of an unknown size; nor can storage mechanisms that are not capacity-limited, such as sensory memory, allow the capacity-limited storage mechanism to be refilled during recall. A single, central capacity limit averaging about four chunks is implicated along with other, noncapacity-limited sources. The pure STM capacity limit expressed in chunks is distinguished from compound STM limits obtained when the number of separately held chunks is unclear. Reasons why pure capacity estimates fall within a narrow range are discussed and a capacity limit for the focus of attention is proposed.
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            Meta-analysis: recent developments in quantitative methods for literature reviews.

            We describe the history and current status of the meta-analytic enterprise. The advantages and historical criticisms of meta-analysis are described, as are the basic steps in a meta-analysis and the role of effect sizes as chief coins of the meta-analytic realm. Advantages of the meta-analytic procedures include seeing the "landscape" of a research domain, keeping statistical significance in perspective, minimizing wasted data, becoming intimate with the data summarized, asking focused research questions, and finding moderator variables. Much of the criticism of meta-analysis has been based on simple misunderstanding of how meta-analyses are actually carried out. Criticisms of meta-analysis that are applicable are equally applicable to traditional, nonquantitative, narrative reviews of the literature. Much of the remainder of the chapter deals with the processes of effect size estimation, the understanding of the heterogeneity of the obtained effect sizes, and the practical and scientific importance of the effect sizes obtained.
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              Expert and exceptional performance: evidence of maximal adaptation to task constraints.

              Expert and exceptional performance are shown to be mediated by cognitive and perceptual-motor skills and by domain-specific physiological and anatomical adaptations. The highest levels of human performance in different domains can only be attained after around ten years of extended, daily amounts of deliberate practice activities. Laboratory analyses of expert performance in many domains such as chess, medicine, auditing, computer programming, bridge, physics, sports, typing, juggling, dance, and music reveal maximal adaptations of experts to domain-specific constraints. For example, acquired anticipatory skills circumvent general limits on reaction time, and distinctive memory skills allow a domain-specific expansion of working memory capacity to support planning, reasoning, and evaluation. Many of the mechanisms of superior expert performance serve the dual purpose of mediating experts' current performance and of allowing continued improvement of this performance in response to informative feedback during practice activities.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Educational Psychology Review
                Educ Psychol Rev
                Springer Nature
                1040-726X
                1573-336X
                December 2011
                July 2011
                : 23
                : 4
                : 523-552
                Article
                10.1007/s10648-011-9174-7
                0372fa9c-bd41-447c-b80f-c665755a6152
                © 2011
                History

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