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Hierarchic Organization and Memory Recall

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The authors examined the hierarchic levels of templates' organization of performance in familiar and unfamiliar key patterns conditions by expert and nonexpert typists. Using a laptop computer with a specially designed keyboard together with special software, 60 expert and 20 nonexpert typists were asked to remember the locations of 10 keys and characters. Under the condition of using a familiar keyboard, experts performed better, independent of their templates' organization levels; however, in unfamiliar conditions, high levels of template organization affected performance. The results support the constraint attunement hypothesis (CAH) of K. J. Vicente and J. H. Wang, according to which goal-relevant constraints are defined by constructing a hierarchic abstraction. Attuning to a higher level of abstraction places constraints on the lower levels. The higher the levels of hierarchic abstraction that experts adopt, the greater the capacity achieved when attuning to these multiple constraints--thus allowing better recall. The importance of this paper is not only in its support of the CAH theory, but also in expanding the theory on elementary processes and simple motor skills such as typing.
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Keywords: expertise; memory recall; template organization

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Bar-Ilan University

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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