An expert ( Audio (US), also called cognoscente) is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual's opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.
Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority.
Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge and exceptional performance in terms of cognitive structures and processes. The fundamental research endeavor is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enable experts to be fast and accurate.
Famous quotes containing the word expert:
“John B. Watson, the most influential child-rearing expert [of the 1920s], warned that doting mothers could retard the development of children,... Demonstrations of affection were therefore limited. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight. Shake hands with them in the morning.”
—Sylvia Ann Hewitt (20th century)
“If you have any information or evidence regarding the O.J. Simpson case, press 2 now. If you are an expert in fields relating to the O.J. Simpson case and would like to offer your services, press 3 now. If you would like the address where you can send a letter of support to O.J. Simpson, press 1 now. If you are seeking legal representation from the law offices of Robert L. Shapiro, press 4 now.”
—Advertisement. Aired August 8, 1994 by Tom Snyder on TV station CNBC. Chicago Sun Times, p. 11 (July 24, 1994)
“If you want an expert on war, you get a retired general. Im not exactly a general, but I am retired.”
—Sydney Biddle Barrows (b. 1952)