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Attention 6 - Practice and Expert Performance.pdf

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PSYC 330
Richard Wright

6 - Practice and Expert Performance February-19-13 8:30 AM • We're all reallygood typist. But back in the day, there wasn't internet (@[email protected]), people weren't as good at typing (b/c computers… werenot as… amazing) I. Is highlevel performance due to inborn ability? • e.g.,being a short basketball player would put you at a disadvantage • Athletics is good for looking at people who are so well practiced that their performance is highly automatic • Still, people believein inborn/innate talent among world class athletes that makes them special • Galton -- intelligenceand skillsare inherited ○ He popularizedthis idea ○ Believedhigh-levelperformance was gainedthrough hard work ○ There may be hereditary base to talent (he was Darwin'scousin, after all)  Looking at judges, academic (limitedsample,yo) → many were related to each other • 11 y/o guitarist(James Bell)-- this kid is AMAZING ○ Alsoband of 5 5y/o guitarist -- they're so TINY but GOOD ○ Peoplewatch these and think this supports how talent is inborn • Key to success in any endeavour: start young and practice incessantly ○ e.g.,world class performer, athletes, scientists ○ Usuallybefore 10 y/o • But do child prodigieshave "natural" ability? • Mozart -- started piano when he was 3 y/o, composed when he was 6 y/o ○ Became one of the greater classical music composer ○ Mozart's father was also a musician, who wrote a book about how to teach children music ○ Pretty much by age 6, Mozart had ~3,500hrs of practice ○ Earliercompositions werequestioned (imitative,father's contribution?) ○ Hisacknowledged works started at 21y/o, by then he had way more than 10,000hrs of practice • Tiger Woods -- probably the best golfplayer who ever lived ○ Father started teaching him golf when he was still an infant (watch father play golf→ golfing when he was 2 y/o) ○ By 3 y/o, he played 9 holes in a pretty hard course, and broke 100 (surpassed adults) ○ Won a prestigiousgolf tournament when he was only 21 y/o • More like: compressed practice into this short period of time (rather than natural talent) • Creating chess masters ○ Hungaryman believeeducation should be modifiedb/c geniusescan be created ○ Train babies at birth to be good at something ○ → the 3 Polgarsisters -- were home schooled and taught chess  Chess good for measuring improvement& to show F as good as M ○ All 3 went on to be grandmastersin chess ○ Practiced 6-7 hours a day starting at 5 y/o • Creating tennis champions ○ Williamssisters(Serena, Venus) -- father saw that tennis champions win a lot of money Two of the best femaletennis players in the world ○ Two of the best femaletennis players in the world • Creating hockey champion ○ Wayne Gretzky  Started at 2 y/o (practiced 8hrs/day, enjoyed it)  @10y/o, 370 goalsin 1 season  Went on to set scoring records (still holding them evennow) • Others include: Sidney Crosby, Steve Nash • Antonio Vivaldi -- musical training for orphaned children from many different families ○ All of them went on to be veryfamous in Europe as talented musicians, singers,etc. ○ Peoplecame from all over to watch their concerts ○ They mastered music through intense practice, not innate ability ○ Shinichi Suzuki: "Musical abilityis not an inborn talent but an ability" after lots of practice II. How much practice makes perfect? • Aristotle: "Excellence is not an act, but a habit." • 10 year? 10,000 hours? (Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell) ○ 10,000 to master a skill ○ Hard to find world class performerswho lacked a lot of practice (as much as 50,000 hrs) • Increase in expert performance with age ○ Performance plateaus ~20 y/o ○ Careerpeaks ~30 y/o • Learning/masteringa musical instrument takes a lot of time and great effort ○ It's not guitar hero, YO ○ Don't believethose shortcuts ("learn to play in 24hrs") • Jimi Hendrix'snicknamewas Marbles ○ He carried his guitarwherever he went. ○ Said he packed in 20 years of practice in 5 years • Amount of solitarypractice and age ○ # estimated accumulated practice ↔ ageof musician ○ # estimated accumulated practice ↔ increasing expertise • Iceberg illusion: see children who are very talented and believethey have innate talent, so you're not seeing all the work that went into the performance ○ Most people don't appreciate how long/hardworld-class performerswork to acquire their skills ○ If they did, they might rethink their beliefin innate talent • In Florence, lots of sculptors and painters, one of which was Michelangelo ○ "if people knew how hard I worked to gainmy mastery, it would not seem so wonderful" ○ They had a master-apprentice, taking on 3 y/o for apprentices to mix paint/such III. What kindof practice makesperfect? • Deliberate practice is not inherentlyenjoyable ○ e.g.,doing scales on the piano for an hour ○ Instead of doing something you're good at, do something you suck and feel bad about yourself afterwards  Practicing your weakness, not strengths • To get good, it helps to be willingand even enthusiastic about being bad ○ A mindset that accepts failure ○ ex. learninghow to do jumps in figure skating, failingmeans fallingON YOUR BUTT; you won't learn it on your first try • Effective practice "stretches" our abilities • Effective practice "stretches" our abilities ○ Comfort zone → learning zone → panic zone ○ If practice is too easy, you're still in comfort zone ○ If practice is too hard, you're in panic zone ○ Ideal to push beyond your abilitiesby just a little (get into learning zone) • Musical instrument proficiency: short-term vs. long-term commitment ○ Just pass course vs. music as a career ○ Even with same number of hours, those with long-term commitment got a lot better • Mere repetition ≠ expertise ○ Would plateau instead of improving(arrested development) ○ You'd want tough practice so you can grow more • Vladimir:"If I skip practice for 1 day, I notice. If I skip practice for 2 days, my wifenotices. IfI skip practice for 3 days, the world notices" • Automaticity illusions -- wehave little conscious awarenes
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