Attention differences in viewing physics diagrams among experts and novices

Jason W. Morphew, Jose P. Mestre, Brian H. Ross, Natalie E. Strand

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

It is known that experts identify/perceive meaningful patterns in visual stimuli related to their domain of expertise. This study explores the speed with which experts and novices detect changes in physics diagrams. Since change detection depends on where individuals direct their attention, differences in the speed with which experts and novices detect changes to diagrams would suggest differences in attention allocation between experts and novices. We present data from an experiment using the "flicker technique,” in which both physics experts and physics novices viewed nearly identical pairs of diagrams that are representative of typical introductory physics situations. The two diagrams in each pair contain a subtle difference that either does, or does not change the underlying physics depicted in the diagram. Findings indicate that experts are faster at detecting physics-relevant changes than physics-irrelevant changes, however there is no difference in response time for novices, suggesting that expertise guides attention for experts when inspecting physics diagrams. We discuss the cognitive implications of our findings.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages227-230
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 18 2015
Event2015 Physics Education Research Conference - College Park, MD
Duration: Jul 29 2015Jul 30 2015

Conference

Conference2015 Physics Education Research Conference
Period7/29/157/30/15

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  • Cite this

    Morphew, J. W., Mestre, J. P., Ross, B. H., & Strand, N. E. (2015). Attention differences in viewing physics diagrams among experts and novices. 227-230. Paper presented at 2015 Physics Education Research Conference, . https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2015.pr.052