Slowing down when you should: a new model of expert judgment

Acad Med. 2007 Oct;82(10 Suppl):S109-16. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181405a76.


The study of expertise in medical education has tended to follow a tradition of trying to describe the analytic processes and/or nonanalytic resources that experts acquire with experience. However, the authors argue that a critical function of expertise is the judgment required to coordinate these resources, using efficient nonanalytic processes for many tasks, but transitioning to more effortful analytic processing when necessary. Attempts to appreciate the nature of this transition, when it happens, and how it happens, can be informed by the evaluation of other literatures that are addressing these and related problems. The authors review the literatures on educational expertise, attention and effort, situational awareness, and human factors to examine the conceptual frameworks of expertise arising from these domains and the research methodologies that inform their practice. The authors propose a new model of expert judgment that we describe as a process of slowing down when you should.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • Judgment*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Teaching / standards*