The University of Sussex

Expert/novice differences in diagnostic medical cognition - a review of the literature

L. Cuthbert, B. du Boulay, D. Teather, B. Teather, M. Sharples, G. du Boulay

The nature of expertise has been studied in a wide variety of disciplines. Many of these studies have found that the development of expertise involves qualitative as well as quantitative changes in the cognitive skills and knowledge representations underlying performance. This paper seeks to review the literature which has sought to identify expert/novice differences in the field of diagnostic medical cognition. This literature is concerned with the way experts and novices make diagnostic medical decisions. Differences are identified in terms of hypothesis generation and testing, diagnostic reasoning and the organisation of relevant knowledge. Furthermore, experts' diagnostic reasoning is characterised as largely schema driven, with previous patient encounters influencing medical evaluations of current cases.

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