Organizational Psychology

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Irina Blinnikova1, Yulia Ishmuratova2
  • 1 Lomonosov Moscow Sate University, 11, Build. 9, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation
  • 2 Psychologial Institute of Russian Academy of Education, 9/4 Mokhovaya st., Moscow 125009, Russian Federation

Analysis of cognitive competence of chemists: comparison between novices and professionals using eye tracker

2019. Vol. 9. No. 1. P. 13–33 [issue contents]
Relevance. Global computerization of work makes it relevant to pay more and more attention to the cognitive competence of professionals. Identifying its structural and functional characteristicsis difficult due to latent knowledge and unconscious components of cognitive processing. These difficulties can be overcome by analyzing eye movement. Purpose: to explore the cognitive architecture of problem solving by specialists with different professional experience, to identify peculiarities of using knowledge at different stages of professionalization, to describe different levels of cognitive competence. Professional chemists were chosen as subjects for the investigation since this area of knowledge implies special ways of processing and representing the information essential for solving professional problems. Methodology. Both professional chemists (n = 22) and novices (n = 20) were asked to identify the substance molecule by choosing the correct answer from the given list (these could be either formulas or substance names). The task execution time, errors and eye movement indicators were recorded using the SMI hardware and software. Finding. More experienced chemists out performed less experienced ones in the speed and accuracy of molecule identification. In order to understand what was behind this “superiority”, we compared solving processes of different versions of the task and analyzed indicators of the subjects’ eye movements. The novices were less successful in situations where they were asked to match the images of the molecule with its name, which indicated the difficulties they had with the transition between different forms of representations. As for eye movements, the professionals showed shorter first fixations (indicating a faster orientation in the task) and a shorter average duration of fixations (indicating faster processing of information in general). Different strategies for task solving were identified. Professionals relied more on their knowledge,trying first to identify the molecule, construct a mental representation and then use it to select theanswer. The novices tried to find the solution in the presented information. Value of results. The revealed “superiority of experts” was due to a faster orientation in the task, faster processing of information, the use of representative strategies and more developed abilities to switch between different formats of representations.

Citation: Blinnikova I., Ishmuratova Y. (2019) Analiz kognitivnoy kompetentnosti spetsialistov khimicheskoy otrasli na osnove sravneniya dvizheniy glaz u nachinayushchikh i opytnykh professionalov [Analysis of cognitive competence of chemists: comparison between novices and professionals using eye tracker]. Organizacionnaâ psihologiâ (Organizational Psychology), vol. 9, no 1, pp. 13-33 (in Russian)
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