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    Nakhaeizadeh, Sherry Morgan, Ruth M. Rando, Carolyn and Dror, Itiel E. 2018. Cascading Bias of Initial Exposure to Information at the Crime Scene to the Subsequent Evaluation of Skeletal Remains,. Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 63, Issue. 2, p. 403.

    Bolger, Fergus 2018. Elicitation. Vol. 261, Issue. , p. 393.

    van den Eeden, Claire A. J. de Poot, Christianne J. and van Koppen, Peter J. 2018. The Forensic Confirmation Bias: A Comparison Between Experts and Novices. Journal of Forensic Sciences,

    Fahsing, Ivar A. and Ask, Karl 2018. In Search of Indicators of Detective Aptitude: Police Recruits’ Logical Reasoning and Ability to Generate Investigative Hypotheses. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, Vol. 33, Issue. 1, p. 21.

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    Zapf, Patricia A. and Dror, Itiel E. 2017. Understanding and Mitigating Bias in Forensic Evaluation: Lessons from Forensic Science. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, p. 227.

    Evers, Arnoud T. and van der Heijden, Beatrice I. J. M. 2017. Competence-based Vocational and Professional Education. Vol. 23, Issue. , p. 83.

    Robertson, James 2017. Managing the forensic examination of human hairs in contemporary forensic practice. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 49, Issue. 3, p. 239.

    Fahsing, Ivar and Ask, Karl 2016. The making of an expert detective: the role of experience in English and Norwegian police officers’ investigative decision-making. Psychology, Crime & Law, Vol. 22, Issue. 3, p. 203.

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    Ralph, Edwin and Walker, Keith 2014. The Potential of Adaptive Mentorship<sup>©</sup>: Experts’ Perspectives. Open Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 02, Issue. 08, p. 77.

    2014. Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Systems. p. 219.

    Thompson, Matthew B. Tangen, Jason M. and McCarthy, Duncan J. 2013. Expertise in Fingerprint Identification. Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 58, Issue. 6, p. 1519.

    Dror, Itiel E. Wertheim, Kasey Fraser-Mackenzie, Peter and Walajtys, Jeff 2012. The Impact of Human-Technology Cooperation and Distributed Cognition in Forensic Science: Biasing Effects of AFIS Contextual Information on Human Experts*. Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 57, Issue. 2, p. 343.

    Dror, Itiel 2011. A novel approach to minimize error in the medical domain: Cognitive neuroscientific insights into training. Medical Teacher, Vol. 33, Issue. 1, p. 34.

  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: December 2011

9 - The paradox of human expertise: why experts get it wrong



Expertise is correctly, but one-sidedly, associated with special abilities and enhanced performance. The other side of expertise, however, is surreptitiously hidden. Along with expertise, performance may also be degraded, culminating in a lack of flexibility and error. Expertise is demystified by explaining the brain functions and cognitive architecture involved in being an expert. These information processing mechanisms, the very making of expertise, entail computational trade-offs that sometimes result in paradoxical functional degradation. For example, being an expert entails using schemas, selective attention, chunking information, automaticity and more reliance on top-down information, all of which allows experts to perform quickly and efficiently; however, these very mechanisms restrict flexibility and control, may cause the experts to miss and ignore important information, introduce tunnel vision and bias and can cause other effects that degrade performance. Such phenomena are apparent in a wide range of expert domains, from medical professionals and forensic examiners, to military fighter pilots and financial traders.

Expertise is highly sought after – only those with special abilities, after years of training and experience, can achieve those exceptional brain powers that make them experts. Indeed, being an expert is most often prestigious, well-paid, respected and in high demand. However, examining expertise in depth raises some interesting and complex questions. In this chapter, I will take apart and reject the myth that experts merely have superior performance per se.

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The Paradoxical Brain
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