Understanding how search and pattern recognition interact is one of the important research questions in the study of expert problem-solving behavior. This paper examines the implications of a recent theory of expert memory, the template theory (Gobet & Simon, in press-a), on the theory of problem solving. Templates are chunks (Chase & Simon, 1973) that have evolved into more complex data structures, allowing values to be encoded into slots rapidly. It is proposed that templates facilitate search in three ways: (a) by allowing information to be stored into LTM rapidly; (b) by allowing a search in the template space in addition to a search in the move space; and (c) by compensating loss in the mind's eye due to interference and decay. The template theory accounts for the slight skill difference in average depth of search found in chess players, as well as for other empirical data.
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