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ERIC Number: EJ1057759
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Patterns of Response Times and Response Choices to Science Questions: The Influence of Relative Processing Time
Heckler, Andrew F.; Scaife, Thomas M.
Cognitive Science, v39 n3 p496-537 Apr 2015
We report on five experiments investigating response choices and response times to simple science questions that evoke student "misconceptions," and we construct a simple model to explain the patterns of response choices. Physics students were asked to compare a physical quantity represented by the slope, such as speed, on simple physics graphs. We found that response times of incorrect answers, resulting from comparing heights, were faster than response times of correct answers comparing slopes. This result alone might be explained by the fact that height was typically processed faster than slope for this kind of task, which we confirmed in a separate experiment. However, we hypothesize that the difference in response time is an indicator of the "cause" (rather than the result) of the response choice. To support this, we found that imposing a 3-s delay in responding increased the number of students comparing slopes (answering correctly) on the task. Additionally a significant proportion of students recognized the correct written rule (compare slope), but on the graph task they incorrectly compared heights. Finally, training either with repetitive examples or providing a general rule both improved scores, but only repetitive examples had a large effect on response times, thus providing evidence of dual paths or processes to a solution. Considering models of heuristics, information accumulation models, and models relevant to the Stroop effect, we construct a simple relative processing time model that could be viewed as a kind of fluency heuristic. The results suggest that misconception-like patterns of answers to some science questions commonly found on tests may be explained in part by automatic processes that involve the relative processing time of considered dimensions and a priority to answer quickly.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED); Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305H050125