Expertise and intuition: A tale of three theories [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 19 (2):151-180 (2009)
Abstract
Several authors have hailed intuition as one of the defining features of expertise. In particular, while disagreeing on almost anything that touches on human cognition and artificial intelligence, Hubert Dreyfus and Herbert Simon agreed on this point. However, the highly influential theories of intuition they proposed differed in major ways, especially with respect to the role given to search and as to whether intuition is holistic or analytic. Both theories suffer from empirical weaknesses. In this paper, we show how, with some additions, a recent theory of expert memory (the template theory) offers a coherent and wide-ranging explanation of intuition in expert behaviour. It is shown that the theory accounts for the key features of intuition: it explains the rapid onset of intuition and its perceptual nature, provides mechanisms for learning, incorporates processes showing how perception is linked to action and emotion, and how experts capture the entirety of a situation. In doing so, the new theory addresses the issues problematic for Dreyfus’s and Simon’s theories. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Keywords Chunking  Consciousness  Decision making  Emotions  Expertise  Intuition  Memory  Pattern recognition  Template
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