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An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be believed, by virtue of credentials, training, education, profession, publication or experience, to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual's opinion on that topic. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.

In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not always necessary for individuals to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority.

Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge, skills and personal characteristics and exceptional performance. Some researchers have investigated the cognitive structures and processes of experts. The fundamental aim of this research is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enable experts to be fast and accurate.[1]

Expertise

Expertise characteristics, skills and knowledge of a person (that is, expert) or of a system, which distinguish experts from novices and less experienced people. In many domains there are objective measures of performance capable of distinguishing experts from novices: expert chess players will almost always win games against recreational chess players; expert medical specialists are more likely to diagnose a disease correctly; etc.

The word expertise is used to refer also to Expert Determination, where an expert is invited to decide a disputed issue. The decision may be binding or advisory, according to the agreement between the parties in dispute.

Academic views

There are two academic approaches to the understanding and study of expertise. The first understands expertise as an emergent property of communities of practice. In this view expertise is socially constructed; tools for thinking and scripts for action are jointly constructed within social groups enabling that group jointly to define and acquire expertise in some domain.

In the second view expertise is a characteristic of individuals and is a consequence of the human capacity for extensive adaptation to physical and social environments. Many accounts of the development of expertise emphasize that it comes about through long periods of deliberate practice. In many domains of expertise estimates of 10 years' experience[2] deliberate practice are common. Recent research on expertise emphasizes the nurture side of the nature and nurture argument.[2] Some factors not fitting the nature-nurture dichotomy are biological but not genetic, such as starting age, handedness, and season of birth.[3][4][5]

In the field of education there is a potential "expert blind spot" (see also Dunning–Kruger effect) in newly practicing educators who are experts in their content area. This is based on the "expert blind spot hypothesis" researched by Mitchell Nathan and Andrew Petrosino (2003: 906). Newly practicing educators with advanced subject-area expertise of an educational content area tend to use the formalities and analysis methods of their particular area of expertise as a major guiding factor of student instruction and knowledge development, rather than being guided by student learning and developmental needs that are prevalent among novice learners.

The blind spot metaphor refers to the physiological blind spot in human vision in which perceptions of surroundings and circumstances are strongly impacted by their expectations. Beginning practicing educators tend to overlook the importance of novice levels of prior knowledge and other factors involved in adjusting and adapting pedagogy for learner understanding. This expert blind spot is in part due to an assumption that novices’ cognitive schemata are less elaborate, interconnected, and accessible than experts’ and that their p

In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not always necessary for individuals to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority.

Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge, skills and personal characteristics and exceptional performance. Some researchers have investigated the cognitive structures and processes of experts. The fundamental aim of this research is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enable experts to be fast and accurate.[1]

Expertise characteristics, skills and knowledge of a person (that is, expert) or of a system, which distinguish experts from novices and less experienced people. In many domains there are objective measures of performance capable of distinguishing experts from novices: expert chess players will almost always win games against recreational chess players; expert medical specialists are more likely to diagnose a disease correctly; etc.

The word expertise is used to refer also to Expert Determination, where an expert is invited to decide a disputed issue. The decision may be binding or advisory, according to the agreement between the parties in dispute.

Academic views

There are two academic approaches to the understanding and study of expertise. The first understands expertise as an emergent property of communities of practice. In this view expertise is socially constructed; tools for thinking and scripts for action are jointly constructed within social groups enabling that group jointly to define and acquire expertise in some domain.

In the second view expertise is a characteristic of individuals and is a consequence of the human capacity for extensive adaptation to physical and social environments. Many accounts of the development of expertise emphasize that it comes about through long periods of deliberate practice. In many domains of expertise estimates of 10 years' experience[2] deliberate practice are common. Recent research on expertise emphasizes the nurture side of the nature and nurture argument.[2] Some factors not fitting the nature-nurture dichotomy are biological but not genetic, such as starting age, handedness, and season of birth.[3][4][5]

In the field of education there is a potential "expert blind spot" (see also Dunning–Kruger effect) in newly practicing educators who are experts in their content area. This is based on the "expert blind spot hypothesis" researched by Mitchell Nathan and Andrew Petrosino (2003: 906). Newly practicing educators with advanced subject-area expertise of an educational content area tend to use the formalities and analysis methods of their particular area of expertise as a major guiding factor of student instruction and knowledge development, rather than being guided by student learning and developmental needs that are prevalent among novice learners.

The blind spot metaphor refers to the physiological blind spot in human vision in which perceptions of surroundings and circumstances are strongly impacted by their expectations. Beginning practicing educators tend to overlook the importance of novice levels of prior knowledge and other factors involved in adjusting and adapting pedagogy for learner understanding. This expert blind spot is in part due to an assumption that novices’ cognitive schemata are less elaborate, interconnected, and accessible than experts’ and that their pedagogical reasoning skills are less well developed (Borko & Livingston, 1989: 474). Essential knowledge of subject matter for practicing educators consists of overlapping knowledge domains: subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content matter (Borko, Eisenhart, Brown, Underhill, Jones, & Agard, 1992: 195). Pedagogical content matter consists of an understanding of

The word expertise is used to refer also to Expert Determination, where an expert is invited to decide a disputed issue. The decision may be binding or advisory, according to the agreement between the parties in dispute.

There are two academic approaches to the understanding and study of expertise. The first understands expertise as an emergent property of communities of practice. In this view expertise is socially constructed; tools for thinking and scripts for action are jointly constructed within social groups enabling that group jointly to define and acquire expertise in some domain.

In the second view expertise is a characteristic of individuals and is a consequence of the human capacity for extensive adaptation to physical and social environments. Many accounts of the development of expertise emphasize that it comes about through long periods of deliberate practice. In many domains of exp

In the second view expertise is a characteristic of individuals and is a consequence of the human capacity for extensive adaptation to physical and social environments. Many accounts of the development of expertise emphasize that it comes about through long periods of deliberate practice. In many domains of expertise estimates of 10 years' experience[2] deliberate practice are common. Recent research on expertise emphasizes the nurture side of the nature and nurture argument.[2] Some factors not fitting the nature-nurture dichotomy are biological but not genetic, such as starting age, handedness, and season of birth.[3][4][5]

In the field of education there is a potential "expert blind spot" (see also Dunning–Kruger effect) in newly practicing educators who are experts in their content area. This is based on the "expert blind spot hypothesis" researched by Mitchell Nathan and Andrew Petrosino (2003: 906). Newly practicing educators with advanced subject-area expertise of an educational content area tend to use the formalities and analysis methods of their particular area of expertise as a major guiding factor of student instruction and knowledge development, rather than being guided by student learning and developmental needs that are prevalent among novice learners.

The blind spot metaphor refers to the physiological blind spot in human vision in which perceptions of surroundings and circumstances are strongly impacted by their expectations. Beginning practicing educators tend to overlook the importance of novice levels of prior knowledge and other factors involved in adjusting and adapting pedagogy for learner understanding. This expert blind spot is in part due to an assumption that novices’ cognitive schemata are less elaborate, interconnected, and accessible than experts’ and that their pedagogical reasoning skills are less well developed (Borko & Livingston, 1989: 474). Essential knowledge of subject matter for practicing educators consists of overlapping knowledge domains: subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content matter (Borko, Eisenhart, Brown, Underhill, Jones, & Agard, 1992: 195). Pedagogical content matter consists of an understanding of how to represent certain concepts in ways appropriate to the learner contexts, including abilities and interests. The expert blind spot is a pedagogical phenomenon that is typically overcome through educators’ experience with instructing learners over time. [6][7]

In line with the socially constructed view of expertise, expertise can also be understood as a form of power; that is, experts have the ability to influence others as a result of their defined social status. By a similar token, a fear of experts can arise from fear of an intellectual elite's power. In earlier periods of history, simply being able to read made one part of an intellectual elite. The introduction of the printing press in Europe during the fifteenth century and the diffusion of printed matter contributed to higher literacy rates and wider access to the once-rarefied knowledge of academia. The subsequent spread of education and learning changed society, and initiated an era of widespread education whose elite would now instead be those who produced the written content itself for consumption, in education and all other spheres.

Plato's "Noble Lie", concerns expertise. Plato did not believe most people were clever enough to look after their own and society's best interest, so the few clever people of the world needed to lead the rest of the flock. Therefore, the idea was bor

Plato's "Noble Lie", concerns expertise. Plato did not believe most people were clever enough to look after their own and society's best interest, so the few clever people of the world needed to lead the rest of the flock. Therefore, the idea was born that only the elite should know the truth in its complete form and the rulers, Plato said, must tell the people of the city "the noble lie" to keep them passive and content, without the risk of upheaval and unrest.

In contemporary society, doctors and scientists, for example, are considered to be experts in that they hold a body of dominant knowledge that is, on the whole, inaccessible to the layman.[8] However, this inaccessibility and perhaps even mystery that surrounds expertise does not cause the layman to disregard the opinion of the experts on account of the unknown. Instead, the complete opposite occurs whereby members of the public believe in and highly value the opinion of medical professionals or of scientific discoveries,[8] despite not understanding it.

A number of computational models have been developed in cognitive science to explain the development from novice to expert. In particular, Herbert A. Simon and Kevin Gilmartin proposed a model of learning in chess called MAPP (Memory-Aided Pattern Recognizer).[9] Based on simulations, they estimated that about 50,000 chunks (units of memory) are necessary to become an expert, and hence the many years needed to reach this level. More recently, the CHREST model (Chunk Hierarchy and REtrieval STructures) has simulated in detail a number of phenomena in chess expertise (eye movements, performance in a variety of memory tasks, development from novice to expert) and in other domains.[10][11]

An important feature of expert performance seems to be the way in which experts are able to rapidly retrieve complex configurations of information from long-term memory. They recognize situations because they have meaning. It is perhaps this central concern with meaning and how it attaches to situations which provide

An important feature of expert performance seems to be the way in which experts are able to rapidly retrieve complex configurations of information from long-term memory. They recognize situations because they have meaning. It is perhaps this central concern with meaning and how it attaches to situations which provides an important link between the individual and social approaches to the development of expertise. Work on "Skilled Memory and Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and James J. Staszewski confronts the paradox of expertise and claims that people not only acquire content knowledge as they practice cognitive skills, they also develop mechanisms that enable them to use a large and familiar knowledge base efficiently.[1]

Work on expert systems (computer software designed to provide an answer to a problem, or clarify uncertainties where normally one or more human experts would need to be consulted) typically is grounded on the premise that expertise is based on acquired repertoires of rules and frameworks for decision making which can be elicited as the basis for computer supported judgment and decision-making. However, there is increasing evidence that expertise does not work in this fashion. Rather, experts recognize situations based on experience of many prior situations. They are in consequence able to make rapid decisions in complex and dynamic situations.

In a critique of the expert systems literature Dreyfus & Dreyfus (2005) suggest:

If one asks an expert for the rules he or she is using, one will, in effect, force the expert to regress to the level of a beginner and state the rules learned in school. Thus, instead of using rules they no longer remember, as knowledge engineers suppose, the expert is forced to remember rules they no longer use. … No amount of rules and facts can capture the knowledge an expert has when he or she has stored experience of the actual outcomes of tens of thousands of situations.[12]

[1] The role of long-term memory in the skilled memory effect was first articulated by Chase and Simon in their classic studies of chess expertise. They asserted that organized patterns of information stored in long-term memory (chunks) mediated experts' rapid encoding and superior retention. Their study revealed that all subjects retrieved about the same number of chunks, but the size of the chunks varied with subjects' prior experience. Experts' chunks contained more individual pieces than those of novices. This research did not investigate how experts find, distinguish, and retrieve the right chunks from the vast number they hold without a lengthy search of long-term memory.

Skilled memory enables experts to rapidly encode, store, and retrieve information within the domain of their expertise and thereby circumvent the capacity limitations that typically constrain novice performance. For example, it explains experts' ability to recall large amounts of material displayed for only brief study intervals, provided that

Skilled memory enables experts to rapidly encode, store, and retrieve information within the domain of their expertise and thereby circumvent the capacity limitations that typically constrain novice performance. For example, it explains experts' ability to recall large amounts of material displayed for only brief study intervals, provided that the material comes from their domain of expertise. When unfamiliar material (not from their domain of expertise) is presented to experts, their recall is no better than that of novices.

The first principle of skilled memory, the meaningful encoding principle, states that experts exploit prior knowledge to durably encode information needed to perform a familiar task successfully. Experts form more elaborate and accessible memory representations than novices. The elaborate semantic memory network creates meaningful memory codes that create multiple potential cues and avenues for retrieval.

The second principle, the retrieval structure principle states that experts develop memory mechanisms called retrieval structures to facilitate the retrieval of information stored in long-term memory. These mechanisms operate in a fashion consistent with the meaningful encoding principle to provide cues that can later be regenerated to retrieve the stored information efficiently without a lengthy search.

The third principle, the speed up principle states that long-term memory encoding and retrieval operations speed up with practice, so that their speed and accuracy approach the speed and accuracy of short-term memory storage and retrieval.

Examples of skilled memory research described within the Ericsson and Stasewski study include:

Much of the research regarding expertise involves the studies of how experts and novices differ in solving problems (Chi, M. T. H., Glasser R., & Rees, E.,1982). Mathematics (Sweller, J., Mawer, R. F., & Ward, M. R., 1983) and physics (Chi, Feltovich, & Glaser, 1981) are common domains for these studies.

One of the most cited works in this area, Chi et al. (1981), examines how experts (PhD students in physics) and novices (undergraduate students that completed one semester of mechanics) categorize and represent physics problems. They found that novices sort problems into categories based upon surface features (e.g., keywords in the problem statement or visual configurations of the objects depicted). Experts, however, categorize problems based upon their deep structures (i.e., the main physics principle used to solve the problem).

Their findings also suggest that while the schemas of both novices and experts are activated by the same features of a problem statement, the experts’ schemas contain more procedural knowledge which aid in determining which principle to apply, and novices’ schemas contain mostly declarative knowledge which do not aid in determining methods for solution.

Germain's scale

Relative to a specific field, an expert has: