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Chess experts store domain-specific representations in their long-term memory; due to the activation of such representations, they perform with high accuracy in tasks that require the maintenance of previously seen information. Chunk-based theories of expertise (chunking theory: Chase & Simon, 1973; template theory: Gobet & Simon, 1996) state that expertise is acquired mainly by the acquisition and storage in long-term memory of familiar chunks that allow quick recognition. This study tested some predictions of these theories by using fMRI while chessplayers performed a recognition memory task. These theories predict that chessplayers access long-term memory chunks of domain-specific information, which are presumably stored in the temporal lobes. It was also predicted that the recognition memory tasks would activate working memory areas in the frontal and parietal lobes. These predictions were supported by the data.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Neurosci

Publication Date





1641 - 1659


Adolescent, Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Functional Laterality, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Memory, Oxygen, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Play and Playthings, Time Factors