Application of complexity theory to an information-processing model in science education

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University of Ioannina
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2001 (EN)
Application of complexity theory to an information-processing model in science education (EN)

Stamovlasis, D. (EN)

Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Σχολή Θετικών Επιστημών. Τμήμα Χημείας (EL)
Stamovlasis, D. (EN)

The current work examines the role of working-memory capacity in problem solving in science education. It treats an information-processing model with tools of complexity theory. Nonlinear methods are used to correlate the subjects' achievement scores with working-memory capacity. Data have been taken from the achievement scores in simple organic-synthesis chemical problems. The subjects (N = 319) were in grade twelve (age 17-18). Problems of various Z-demands (that is the number of steps needed to solve the problem) from two to eight were used. Rank-order sequences of the subjects, according to their scores, were generated, and each score was then replaced by the value of subject's working memory capacity measured by the digit backward span test. Then the sequences were mapped onto a one-dimensional random walk model and when treated as dynamic flows were found to possess fractal geometry with characteristics depending on the Z-demand of the problem. The findings were interpreted using concepts from complexity theory, such as correlation exponents, fractal dimensions and entropy. The null hypothesis was tested with surrogate data. (EN)

Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων (EL)
University of Ioannina (EN)

Nonlinear Dynamics Psychol Life Sci (EN)


Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers (EN)

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