An exploratory investigation of the effects on memory of prior domain experience and knowledge



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Three studies explored the relationship between experience and cognition. Scott (1981/1982) had found that marital status significantly influenced recall for a courtship story. Others have shown that more domain experience facilitates recall (e.g., Chase & Simon, 1973a) by increasing the number of schema variables (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983). The first study found differences between marrieds' and singles' descriptions of typical courtships. The second study measured experience in interpersonal relationships, based on a political experience scale (Fiske & Kinder, 1981). The third study found that experience in interpersonal relationships and politics significantly affected recall in both domains, but only weakly affected problem-solving. Correlations between experience and performance across domains indicated the domains overlapped; comparing subjects more or less experienced in both domains produced clearer effects of experience. Research into the cognitive effects of prior experience has potential applications in educational settings and implications for understanding human knowledge.



Memory, Experience