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Lecture 7

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PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

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 Objectives: • 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 in Ericsson readings • Swedish research who emigrated to US, 1994 paper revolutionized how people think of expertise • 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: 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 1 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 ◦ AverageAmerican golfer has a score of about 100 par. The Expertise of Tiger Woods • Alot 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 JuniorAmateur ◦ YoungestAmateur Champ (16, 17 and 18 years old against much older people) ◦ 3 xAmateur Champ ◦ 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 itsALL because of natural talent, but Ericsson would say: • “Giftedness for a given activity is necessary to attain the highest level of performance in that activity.” ◦ 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 Gardner’s 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 areas. 1) Linguistic-verbal= creative writers 2) Logical-mathematical= engineers 3) Spatial= architects 4) Musical= musicians 5) Bodily kinaesthetic= athletes and dancers 6) Interpersonal= managers, teachers 7) Intrapersonal= writers • He uses the terms intelligences rather abilities. • He defines it as “the biopsychological potential to process information in certain ways in order to solve problems or fashion products that are valued in a culture or community” • He uses intelligence because he thinks it is something that is actually connected with brain function. • Now he has expanded to 8 and a half intelligence ◦ 8 : intelligence about nature, natural life. ◦ ½: existential intelligence, ability to manage important philosophical issues. (not certain about this one) • Indicated professions associated with each type of intelligence, like Tiger Woods with amazing hand-eye coordination and athletic skill who would probably be high in bodily kinaesthetic skill • Psychologists would have two types of intelligence...Interpersonal= understanding other people, what motivates them, help them get along with each other, keen understand of interpersonal relations + also Intrapersonal= where you are able to use yourself to construct a model of how other people will behave and use your self and your awareness of self to help others understand things Howard Gardner’s Point of View • He would say there’s a big problem that most measures of intelligence only assess first two kinds. So we all may know IQ or rough idea of where we stand in intelligence but almost all of us would base it on intelligence tests that would only test Linguistic-Verbal and Logical- Mathematical. Other intelligences are largely neglected and further suggest that most of our education focus mainly on developing only first two (schools pay little attention to other intelligences, most school totally ignore interpersonal/intrapersonal even) “The single most important contribution education can make to a child’s development is to help her toward a field where her talents are best suited, where she will be satisfied & competent. We’ve completely lost sight of that. Instead, we subject everyone to an education where, if you succeed, you will be best suited to be a college professor. And we evaluate everyone according to that narrow standard of success. We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them identify their natural competencies and gifts, and cultivate those. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed, and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.” • Upper class parents resonate toward this philosophy, and there’s evidence that upper class parents are always looking to seek what area their child is gifted and as soon as they do, they're ready to pour a lot of money/attention/effort in helping child cultivate their area of giftedness...highly popular theory and Ericsson actually questions it, but one that many parents relate to ◦ In Asia, it is less common for parents to think in terms of natural gifts and to think “ my child is not good at this but they will be good at something else” • Example of interpersonal intelligence; correlations among intelligences: Gardner designed way to see if 2 or 3 year old has a strong degree of interpersonal intelligence (asks kid if they know diff things about other kids, and you get them to respond and show you whether they know the social map of their classroom), turns out some kids are really good and can show where everyone is playing and who they're playing with/while other kids have a total blank...but most are in the middle, so you get a normal distribution ◦ He then shows that interpersonal intelligence is NOT related to the other intelligences, it is distinct...Gardner would say certain kids are prepared to do well at musical tasks, and kids have diff innate abilities and we should spend more time making sure do other than math and verbal ability. Best Evidence for the Talent View? (Natural talent in facilitating acquisition of expert performance) • The performance of prodigies- children who acquire expert levels of performance at a very young age • Tiger Woods was a golf prodigy (did averageAmerican score at age 4) • Gardner notes that there have been so many prodigies in music suggesting some biological preparedness for these kids to excel at music at early age, find cases even with kids who didn’t have parents who were musical but talent emerged and became skilful nonetheless. ◦ Gardner is a very talented pianist, he teaches the piano, and he would say the evidence in music training is very clear that there seems to be a hereditary component. So that many of the greatest musicians, their talent became evident at a very young age. And he would argue this is because they are naturally gifted in that musical category. Ericsson sights research by Feldman who looked very carefully at the history of gifted musicians. He wanted to see if there was evidence for the role of being a prodigy. • Aprodigy is a child who shows adult level of expertise. Feldman (1986): • Music education researcher decided to actually intensively investigate some questions about child prodigies, looked at biographical and auto biographical info he could find about child music prodigies and looked at three separate questions: 1) The sequence of skill acquisition: Evidence of certain children who can skip a certain sequence of if you are learning music or to play golf, there's an order to which you learn how to do things...and he wanted to see if prodigies started further along or skipped an entire stage or put two together ▪ Feldman concluded that no they cannot. All the greatest musicians had to go through the exact same sequence, they just went through it at a faster rate. 2) The role of the environment: Whether it was the case that if a child is naturally talented it doesn't matter if they're supported or guided by parents, that talent will just emerge on its own • Feldman concluded that he didn't find any cases of great musicians who did not have parent who exposed,encouraged, and nourished them. The
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