Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1987

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Robert Markley


The purpose of this study was to demonstrate differences in cognitive structure between novices and experts in the domain of art history. Novice subjects were six undergraduate students at a local university who had recently completed the introductory survey course in art history. Experts were five instructors of art at the university level and a person engaged in an art-related public service occupation. All experts had been involved in art as their major profession for over 10 years. A sorting task was used to elicit verbal protocol data. The protocols were then transcribed, scored, and analyzed using concept mapping and content analysis procedures. Most of the results were in the direction the hypotheses predicted, but failed to reach statistical significance. Several factors may have contributed to the lack of significance including small sample size, large variability, particularly within the expert group, and selection procedures that failed to predict group membership accurately. On the positive side, evidence was found to support the finding in the literature that individuals tend to classify novel exemplars in the direction of their dominant schemas.


Copyright 1987 Susan M. Beyerlein


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