An examination of students' perceptions of the Kekulé resonance representation using a perceptual learning theory lens
Students in chemistry often demonstrate difficulty with the principle of resonance. Despite many attempts to mitigate this difficulty, there have been few attempts to examine the root cause of these issues. In this study, students were assessed for their perception of Kekulé structures based on perceptual learning theory, which is grounded in cognitive mechanisms of visual perception. The data from this assessment shows that students are perceiving inappropriate clues from this representation, which infers that the image itself might be an impediment to learning about resonance. Employment of a metarepresentational competence approach was used to address these misperceptions.