Within the framework of their long-term working memory theory, Ericsson and Kintsch (1995) propose that experts build memory structures for the task domain (retrieval structures) that allow them to encode information rapidly into long-term memory. Ericsson and Kintsch use chess players' memory as one of their most compelling sources of empirical evidence. In this paper, I show that evidence from chess memory, far from supporting their theory, limits its generality. I conclude that the principle of generic retrieval structure applies only in domains where there is a conscious, deliberate intent by individuals to improve their memory, and that other mechanisms exist (possibly in conjunction with retrieval structures) that permit a rapid encoding into long-term memory under other circumstances.
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