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memory-in-chess | episodes

Memory in Chess

On today’s show, we are joined by our co-host, Becky Hansis-O’Neil. Becky is a Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri, St Louis, where she studies bumblebees and tarantulas to understand their learning and cognitive work.

She joins us to discuss the paper: Perception in chess. The paper aimed to understand how chess players perceive the positions of chess pieces on a chess board. She discussed the findings paper. She spoke about situations where grandmasters had better recall of chess positions than beginners and situations where they did not.

Becky and Kyle discussed the use of chess engines for cheating. They also discussed how chess players use chunking. Becky discussed some approaches to studying chess cognition, including eye tracking, EEG, and MRI.

Paper in Focus

Perception in chess


Detecting Cheating in Chess with Ken Regan

Becky Hansis-O'Neill

Becky is a PhD student in the biology department at University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL). She received her BS in Psychology and MS in Biological Sciences from Idaho State University (ISU). She has conducted research on topics such as behavioral pharmacology, developmental neurobiology, pollinator ecology, parasite-host interactions, population ecology, and stable isotope analysis. During her time at ISU, Becky discovered a passion for science communication while teaching undergraduate labs in general biology, ecology, and human anatomy and physiology. After her MS, she worked as the Education Specialist for the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH), managing educational programs and designing and implementing digital interactive components for public exhibits. Because of this, Becky moved on to work at an exhibit design firm, Ideum. She led full exhibit design-build projects that integrated interactive multimedia, custom software development, and both print and digital content creation while managing the Creative Services department. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at UMSL studying learning and behavior in tarantulas and bumblebees. Becky hopes to continue her career as a researcher when she is finished. In her spare-time she enjoys nature photography, dog training, gardening, and creating digital art.