More to perfection than a lot of practice, according to study of chess players and musicians


From Futurity:

A study published in the journal Intelligence shows that even copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people differ in level of skill in two widely studied activities: chess and music.

In other words, it takes more than hard work to become an expert. Natural talent and other factors likely play a role in mastering a complicated activity, says Zach Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

“Practice is indeed important to reach an elite level of performance, but this paper makes an overwhelming case that it isn’t enough,” Hambrick says.

The debate over why and how people become experts has existed for more than a century. Many theorists argue that thousands of hours of focused, deliberate practice is sufficient to achieve elite status. Hambrick disagrees.

“The evidence is quite clear that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice,” he says.

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