Representation of Diagrams in Memory after Short Exposures
AAPT Summer Meeting: Syracuse, NY
Prior studies reveal that physics experts categorize problems based on deep-structure, while novices categorize problems based on surface features. Given the limited capacity of short term memory it is reasonable to expect that, following short exposures, experts represent diagrams of physics situations in memory in terms of the deep structure depicted, with surface features supporting the representation rather than being central to it. In contrast, novices should largely rely on surface features in forming their representations. These hypothesized differences should, in turn, lead to differential recall performance as surface features and deep structure are manipulated in a recall task. To physics experts, a pair of diagrams that share surface features but differ in deep structure should appear more different than a pair that share both surface features and deep structure; to a novice they would appear to be equally similar. We report preliminary findings of such a recognition memory experiment.