Why are some people more knowledgeable than others? A longitudinal study of knowledge acquisition

Mem Cognit. 2003 Sep;31(6):902-17. doi: 10.3758/bf03196444.


The purpose of this study was to investigate correlates of knowledge acquisition within a real-world domain-basketball. The study employed a longitudinal design and involved two sessions, with approximately 2.5 months between sessions. Session 1 occurred near the beginning of the men's college basketball season, and Session 2 occurred after the season. There was an indirect effect of interest in basketball on new basketball knowledge, via exposure to domain-relevant information. In addition, prior basketball knowledge had a strong effect on new basketball knowledge distinct from an influence through basketball exposure. This finding suggests that prior knowledge may provide a framework into which new knowledge can be integrated. By contrast, there was no effect of fluid intelligence on new basketball knowledge. Although somewhat surprising given evidence that this aspect of intelligence may play a role in the acquisition of certain types of knowledge, this finding accords with the view that knowledge is a major determinant of various aspects of cognitive functioning, including learning.

MeSH terms

  • Aptitude*
  • Basketball
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires