How People Learn: How Experts Differ from Novices

Saturday, April 29, 2006 | 10:25 AM

Fascinating chapter in the book "How People Learn" about How Experts Differ from Novices;  It has significant repurscussions for Investors and where they get their information from.    


1. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices.
2. Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter.

3. Experts' knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: that is, the knowledge is "conditionalized" on a set of circumstances.

4. Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort.

5. Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others.

6. Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations.

Bottom line:  Experts first seek to develop an understanding of problems, and this often involves thinking in terms of core concepts or big ideas. Novices' knowledge is much less likely to be organized around big ideas; they are more likely to approach problems by searching for correct formulas and pat answers that fit their everyday intuitions.

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So, are all of the Wall Street types who are telling us to hop into commodities here experts? Or lemmings? Pigs possessed by Satan himself about to run off of the cliff in a final act of suicide? After runs that are greater in many instances than the runs on the Nikkei and Nasdaq into their blow off peaks. There are little sneaky things that people just aren't looking at.

The clueless believe the future can be divined through historical pricing action rather than looking at what is happening around them and what will likely happen in the future. The cracks appear to be showing up as we speak. And not just in the US. I have little doubt copper will return to 70c a pound at some point. Oil at $20? Maybe not. But oil sustained at $75? May go to $100 first in a total act of lunacy but pshaw to this entire commodity supercycle bull sh*t. Gold maybe different. Here kitty kitty kitty. If one more missing link falls into place, we are going to see an exact repeat of what caused the Japanese deflationary cycle repeat itself in China. Doesn't mean the outcome will be the same. It just means the circumstances will have been repeated. And it's looking mighty damn close to happening yet this year.

Them thar Wall Street experts telling anyone that now? Nikkei itself is looking mighty toppy. Looks like the Nikkei better hurry up and rally. Ain't no growth in Japan. Never was. Never mind you that consumer sentiment in Japan is at sixteen year highs. The same industries that have fueled the asset cycle in the US are the same ones that are driving the Nikkei higher. Consumer spending and consumer stocks in Japan haven't moved this whole cycle on the Japanese GICS indices. The Japanese domestic recovery is all bullsh*t. It always is.

Of course, I take an ass whipping for blowing all of this smoke for the last six months from everyone I know. Tops are a bitch to pick but I'm smelling blood in the water. Are the sharks circling for a rout? Who knows. I might be wrong. Market internals aren't so bad....yet. That is, unless you look deeper than most have the ability to look.

Any correction in commodities will be considered a buying opportunity as the Pavlovian retards who were rewarded for buying dips during the bull rush in as greedy bastards always do. Opportunity! I missed it three times but now I get a fourth chance! Except there comes a time when the behavior won't be rewarded. Is that time close?

Oh, I'm sorry. It's now financials that are going to lead us higher because the yield curve is no longer inverted. Well, most of the nonbanks have already been to the moon. And the banks were up 7-10% last week. Dividend of 3-4% tacked on. I guess they had their yearly a week. Can anyone tell me why JPM is a buy with a dividend yield of 3% and a messy integration which isn't generating profits that were expected? Maybe it should go up another 10% so the dividend yield is only 2+%. Time to belly up to the bar for another round of those new fangled cocktails. What's it called? Kamikaze?

Posted by: B | Apr 29, 2006 3:00:56 PM

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