Heather Sheridan, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Albany

Heather Sheridan, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Albany

In chess and many other domains of visual expertise, the remarkably efficient performance of experts reflects extensive practice with domain-related visual configurations (for a review, see Reingold & Sheridan, 2011). I will discuss several experiments that were designed to explore the perceptual component of chess expertise by monitoring the eye movements of expert and novice chess players. Experiment 1 demonstrated that the eye movements of experts (but not novices) rapidly differentiated between regions of a chessboard that were relevant versus irrelevant to the best move on the board. Similar to Experiment 1, Experiment 2 showed that chess experts (but not novices) rapidly identified complex chess-related visual patterns during a challenging chess-related visual search task. Finally, Experiment 3 showed that experts were better than novices at disengaging their attention from familiar (but suboptimal) chess solutions, when a better solution was available in a different region of the board (for a similar paradigm, see also Bilalić, McLeod, & Gobet, 2008). Taken together, these experiments highlight the perceptual component of visual expertise, while also demonstrating the flexibility of experts in adapting to a wide range of challenging experimental paradigms. I will discuss the implications of these findings for models of eye movement control and domain-general theories of visual expertise.

 

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