Friday, 12 December 2008

Chess Research - Visuospatial and articulatory interference in chess players' information intake

In a previous posting (Waters, Gobet & Leyden, 2002) it was reported that visual memory ability, and perhaps visuospatial intelligence, may be relatively unimportant factors in the long-term acquisition of chess skill. Personal experience, however, by many chess players recognises the importance of visuospatial skills in playing chess. This 2006 study by Pertti Saarilouma (Applied Cognitive Psychology (2006) 6:(1); 77-89) looked at the effects of a second task on interference with chess playing ability. The results showed that a second visuospatial task had a strong interferring effect on chess skill. An articulation interference task had little effect on chess playing skill. These results match closely my own, and likely most other players, personal experience.
Visuospatial and articulatory interference in chess players' information intake
Applied Cognitive Psychology (2006) 6:(1); 77-89
Pertti Saariluoma
University of Helsinki, Department of Psychology, Fabianinkatu 28, 00100 Helsinki 10, Finland

Modularity of the human information processing system has been widely accepted. Research based on this theoretical construction has been successful in many areas of cognitive psychology. Surprisingly little work has, however, been done towards understanding the consequences of modularity in thinking skills. In this paper the functions of visuospatial and articulatory processing will be compared in the context of chess skill to obtain information concerning the cognitive resources needed in this skill. Two experiments on chess players' information intake will be made, in which the effects of visuospatial and an articulatory secondary tasks will be compared. In both experiments a visuospatial secondary task causes strong interference, while an articulatory task has no effect on processing. So chess is a highly visual task but articulation, contrary to some pre-theoretical beliefs, has no real significance.

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