Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 19 Issue 2 (March 2005), Pages 145-241

Biomedical knowledge: encapsulated or two worlds apart? (pages 223-231)


The present study investigated the role of biomedical knowledge in clinical case representations of experienced family physicians and advanced medical students. Two views on the role of biomedical knowledge were compared: The knowledge encapsulation and the two‐worlds view. According to the knowledge encapsulation view, biomedical knowledge still plays a role in the physician's clinical case representation, whereas the two‐worlds view assumes that it does not. In order to investigate this issue, participants were instructed to carefully study a short case description that was associated with a particular disease. Subsequently, medical students and family physicians were instructed to judge whether or not a presented target item was related to the case description. Targets were biomedical or diagnostic items that were either related or unrelated to the case. Findings were more in line with the knowledge encapsulation than with the two‐worlds view, in that physicians judged related biomedical items faster than unrelated items, and physicians outperformed medical students in judging related biomedical and diagnostic items. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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