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Lecture 7

PSYC 471 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Spatial Memory, Bobby Fischer, Wesley Chu

Course Code
PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

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PSYC 471
Lecture # 7
How did Tiger Woods become the best golfer in history?
Research on the acquisition of expert performance, how we become experts= next 5 classes
How did Tiger Woods become the best golfer in history?
Research on the acquisition of expert performance
Had personal difficulties which affected his golf performance
Been following him since he was 16 years old, lots of detail of his life...but way too many in the
past year
He is one of the more interesting characters in our culture
Focusing on how he became an expert relates a lot to the research mentioned above
To consider the role of ability vs effort (or motivation) in achieving one’s goals
To understand the unique importance of deliberate practice in promoting expertise
Basic question always faced when we ask what we’re good at or what we should invest time in is: do
we have innate ability to do it?
We make many errors in judging our abilities of what we can do well in or what we can do good
Ericsson readings
Swedish research who emigrated to US, 1994 paper revolutionized how people think of
Cognitive psychologist and in 1994 article he speaks of research with many diff kinds of
experts (athletes, musicians, chess masters)
Class Survey
Expertise most common in:
Sports = 52%
Music = 22%
Fine arts = 15%
Language arts = 11%
Start age = 8
Hours per week = 8
To what extent do you attribute your good performance to...
Natural Talent = 45%
Training and Practice = 55%
Film Clips
Ericsson would say 0% is due to natural talent, and 100% training
Tiger Woods:
Music Prodigy:
Basketball practice:

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Expert Performance
Experts would say you cant possibly study our expertise because you aren’t an expert yourself,
so psychologists and researchers were held back, but Ericsson argued you can define expert
performance and find ways to measure it in controlled settings, even in a lab.
Consistently superior performance on specified set of representative tasks for the domain
that can be administered to any subject (under standardized conditions) [Ericsson]
In sports this is easy, if you say you're an expert for long distance running i can take you down
to a track and say okay run one mile and if you run it in 4 minutes i could say yeah you are
while if you take 12 id say you're not...also in swimming, standardized and with clear norms for
what would be an expert level
Ericsson would say there's some domains with not clear standards and norms, he speaks of wine
tasting...some people are supposed to be conaisseurs of wine and be able to judge if its
especially good vs less good and discriminate French from California wine, but when they do
controlled blindfolded studies they find the wine conaisseurs CANT distinguish the themselves experts but you cant demonstrate in controlled testing situation that
they are superior in their performance of judging wines
Gives other examples of domains where supposed experts are terrible and random, like people
who may advise you on which investments to make with your money...many financial experts
to recommend a stock or bond, and have done a number of studies where the experts construct
portfolios and compared with randomly selected portfolio (Even a monkey could select the
portfolio), and they find no difference in performance a year or two years later...they cant
anticipate what will happen in the markets
Clinical psychologists, the ones you think that are more experts because they've done it for 20-
30 years, will be no more successful with their clients than a psychologist just working for 3
months...hard to demonstrate in psychotherapy outcome literature that there's a developing
expertise among clinical psychologists
Experienced medical doctors: In terms of medical outcomes, after the 1st two years of practive
there is no longer a relationship between length of experience and outcome of patients.
Ericsson believes that when we are talking about expertise it is important to find
some standardized way of measuring it under controlled circumstances.
Par at golf: golf is set up to see if you're approaching expert standard or not. 18 holes,
and each has a par (standard of excellence of expertise, depending how long it is), every
hole you play you can see if you reach the standard of expert performer or not...and
across 18 holes you can see if you score is 72 or much higher than that
200 yards = 3 strokes
400 yards = 4 strokes
500 yards = 5 strokes
Average American golfer has a score of about 100 par.
The Expertise of Tiger Woods
A lot of evidence that he is an expert at golf and probably the most expert golfer in history of game
Many people would have suggested hes the best athlete on the planet right now because he is so far
superior to other elite performers in his domain
Youngest Junior Amateur
Youngest Amateur Champ (16, 17 and 18 years old against much older people)
3 x Amateur Champ

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14 Major Championships
Wins 30% of tournaments
Lowest Career Scoring Ave (69 and a half, next best golfer is at 71...striking difference actually,
3 standard deviations out from next pro golfer)
Highest Career Earnings
He is 36 years old (golfers tend to peak at mid 30s)
Tiger Wood's was the product of his dad's imagination. He began practicing at an earlier
age than any one else. He was playing better than most people when he was only 3-4
years old.
Young Tiger
Video clip
Most people aren’t surprised by these accomplishments
Golf prodigy
Tiger Woods at age 3 or 4
What role do talent and motivation play in the acquisition of expert performance?
Traditional view: Ericsson and Charness would say that traditional view throughout history with
outstanding performer, was that that's obviously evidence of a gift from god, that someone who can do
these kinds of things it must be a natural gift
Most common current view: Emphasizes giftedness and having some biological predisposition or
genetic endowment allowing one to excel in a particular domain...would not suggest its ALL because of
natural talent, but Ericsson would say:
“Giftedness for a given activity is necessary to attain the highest level of performance in that
Example: So many people who take up hockey at a young age but a few amount that take it
more intensely, and then only a few that take it professionally and the assumption would be
that what separates those thousands who were striving to the 10-20 who actually reach it is
probably natural abilities of some sort
It is natural for many of us to assumer that even though practice plays a role, what really
differentiates who will reach the highest level has to do with genetic endowment.
Performance= Ability X Effort
Howard Gardners theory of multiple intelligences:
Would say the most probable theory of giftedness or role of giftedness in expertise is put
forward by education researcher, Howard Gardner, who has theory of multiple intelligences,
suggesting that there's no single monolithic form of intelligence predicting whether we are
successful or not in our life, instead there's a spectrum of a variety of diff kinds of intelligences
with at least 7 distinct types being identifiable:
Gardner suggests they each have distinct biological underpinnings and are independent from
one another:
Each has a biological substrate and each is associated with specific brain function and brain
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