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Expertise promotes facilitation on a collaborative memory task

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The effect of expertise on collaborative memory was examined by comparing expert pilots, novice pilots, and non-pilots. Participants were presented with aviation scenarios and asked to recall the scenarios alone or in collaboration with a fellow participant of the same expertise level. Performance in the collaborative condition was compared to nominal group conditions (i.e., pooled individual performance). Results suggest that expertise differentially impacts collaborative memory performance. Non-experts (non-pilots and novices) were relatively disrupted by collaboration, while experts showed a benefit of collaboration. Verbal protocol analyses identified mechanisms related to collaborative skill and domain knowledge that may underlie experts' collaborative success. Specifically, experts were more likely than non-experts to explicitly acknowledge partner contributions by repeating back previously made statements, as well as to further elaborate on concepts in those contributions. The findings are interpreted according to the retrieval strategy disruption theory of collaborative memory and theories of grounding in communication.
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Keywords: Collaborative memory; Expertise

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA 2: University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA 3: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, IL, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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