ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 501-509.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00501

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Expertise reversal effect from a cognitive load perspective

ZHANG Dongmei1,2; LU Haidong1; ZU Yatong1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China)
    (2 School of Education, Yili Normal University, Yining 835000, Xinjiang, China)
  • Received:2015-04-28 Online:2016-04-15 Published:2016-04-15
  • Contact: LU Haidong, E-mail:


Expertise reversal effect research began in the mid-1990 s and focused on the interaction between learners’ prior knowledge and the effectiveness of instructional techniques within a cognitive load framework. The research paradigm of expertise reversal effect arises from the Aptitude-Treatment Interaction models. The cognitive load theory suggests that presenting redundant instruction to higher prior knowledge learners imposes a higher cognitive load resulting in the expertise reversal effect; whereas a motivation explanation suggests that the redundant information for higher prior knowledge learners may be a load on motivation resources. The theory has generated considerable experimental data for teaching designers to minimize extraneous cognitive load and maximize germane cognitive load enabling teaching methods to be adjusted for learners with different levels of prior knowledge. The emergence and development of the expertise reversal effect theory should involve improving research methods, broadening fields, and summarizing and analyzing contemporary achievements in the future.

Key words: expertise reversal effect, cognitive load, motivation, Aptitude-Treatment Interaction