Understanding as identifying broad, abstract principles
We may view understanding as noticing deeper principles - the broad patterns that underlie an issue. Understanding is then a mental process rather than an outward result.
Research shows that novices view physics problems in terms of superficial details (pulleys, inclined planes), but experts view the same problems in terms of principles (conservation of energy, momentum).
Spending a large amount of time with someone literally causes you to pick up their habits. Choose your friends wisely.
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Twenty-Five Useful Thinking Tools | Scott H Young