Alex Burgoyne

Alex Burgoyne
Georgia Institute of Technology | GT · School of Psychology

PhD

About

37
Publications
31,161
Reads
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875
Citations
Introduction
Hi, I'm Alex. I'm a cognitive scientist with three major research interests: 1) individual differences in skill acquisition/expertise, 2) academic achievement and educational interventions, and 3) intelligence, with a focus on problem solving, attention control, placekeeping, and working memory. I also designed and maintain the websites for the Journal of Expertise and the Science of Expertise. Drop me a line if you're interested in collaborating: burgoyn4@gmail.com

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
Mind-sets (aka implicit theories) are beliefs about the nature of human attributes (e.g., intelligence). The theory holds that individuals with growth mind-sets (beliefs that attributes are malleable with effort) enjoy many positive outcomes—including higher academic achievement—while their peers who have fixed mind-sets experience negative outcome...
Article
Full-text available
Mind-set refers to people’s beliefs about whether attributes are malleable ( growth mind-set) or unchangeable ( fixed mind-set). Proponents of mind-set theory have made bold claims about mind-set’s importance. For example, one’s mind-set is described as having profound effects on one’s motivation and achievements, creating different psychological w...
Article
Mindset interventions are designed to encourage students to adopt a growth mindset, reflecting the belief that one's intelligence can be improved in an effort to increase academic achievement. How do these interventions exert their effects? We assessed the effects of an online mindset intervention on mindset and four outcome variables, grit, locus...
Article
Full-text available
For years, psychologists have wondered why people who are highly skilled in one cognitive domain tend to be skilled in other cognitive domains, too. In this article, we explain how attention control provides a common thread among broad cognitive abilities, including fluid intelligence, working memory capacity, and sensory discrimination. Attention...
Preprint
Individual differences in the ability to control attention are correlated with a wide range of important outcomes, from academic achievement and job performance to health behaviors and emotion regulation. Nevertheless, the theoretical nature of attention control as a cognitive construct has been the subject of heated debate, spurred on by psychomet...
Article
Full-text available
The self-generation effect refers to the finding that people’s memory for information tends to be better when they generate it themselves. Counterintuitively, when proofreading, this effect may make it more difficult to detect mistakes in one’s own writing than in others’ writing. We investigated the self-generation effect and sources of individual...
Article
Process overlap theory provides a contemporary explanation for the positive correlations observed among cognitive ability measures, a phenomenon which intelligence researchers refer to as the positive manifold. According to process overlap theory, cognitive tasks tap domain-general executive processes as well as domain-specific processes, and corre...
Article
A hallmark of intelligent behavior is rationality – the disposition and ability to think analytically to make decisions that maximize expected utility or follow the laws of probability. However, the question remains as to whether rationality and intelligence are empirically distinct, as does the question of what cognitive mechanisms underlie indivi...
Article
Performance on a range of spatial and mathematics tasks was measured in a sample of 1592 students in kindergarten, third grade, and sixth grade. In a previously published analysis of these data, performance was analyzed by grade only. In the present analyses, we examined whether the relations between spatial skill and mathematics skill differed acr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Process overlap theory provides a contemporary explanation for the positive correlations observed among cognitive ability measures, a phenomenon which intelligence researchers refer to as the positive manifold. According to process overlap theory, cognitive tasks tap domain-general executive processes as well as domain-specific processes, and corre...
Article
Full-text available
The Mindset Assessment Profile is a popular questionnaire purportedly designed to measure mindset—an individual’s belief in whether intelligence is malleable or stable. Despite its widespread use, the questionnaire appears to assess an individual’s need for cognition and goal orientation more than mindset. We assessed the reliability, construct val...
Article
A critical goal for psychological science in the 21st century is to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in occupational contexts. One arena which will continue to benefit from a focus on equity is high-stakes testing, such as the assessments used for personnel selection and classification decisions. We define an equitable test as one that minim...
Article
Full-text available
Multitasking is ubiquitous in everyday life, which means there is value in developing measures that predict successful multitasking performance. In a large sample (N = 404 contributing data), we examined the predictive and incremental validity of placekeeping, which is the ability to perform a sequence of operations in a certain order without omiss...
Preprint
Full-text available
A hallmark of intelligent behavior is rationality—the disposition and ability to think analytically to make decisions that maximize expected utility or follow the laws of probability, and therefore align with normative principles of decision making. However, the question remains as to whether rationality and intelligence are empirically distinct, a...
Chapter
Full-text available
The question of what individual differences in working memory capacity reflect has been a topic of intensive interest in research for several decades. This research has shed light on mechanisms underlying working memory performance. At the same time, the chapter authors argue this research has been myopic in two respects. First, it has largely igno...
Article
Why do some individuals learn more quickly than others, or perform better in complex cognitive tasks? In this article, we describe how differential and experimental research methods can be used to study intelligence in humans and non-human animals. More than one hundred years ago, Spearman (1904) discovered a general factor underpinning performance...
Preprint
For years, psychologists have wondered why people who are highly skilled in one cognitive domain tend to be skilled in other cognitive domains, too. In this article, we explain how attention control provides a common thread between higher-order cognitive abilities, including fluid intelligence, working memory capacity, and sensory discrimination. A...
Preprint
Full-text available
Why do some individuals learn more quickly than others, or perform better in complex cognitive tasks? In this article, we describe how differential and experimental research methods can be used to study intelligence in humans and non-human animals. More than one hundred years ago, Spearman (1904) discovered a general factor underpinning performance...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most replicated findings in psychology is the positive manifold between cognitive ability measures (Jensen 1998; Spearman 1904). That is, scores on different tests of cognitive ability are positively correlated, implying the existence of a g factor. Our research attempts to explain these relationships among broad cognitive abilities usin...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Mindset Assessment Profile Tool is an 8-item questionnaire developed by the company Mindset Works, Inc. to measure mindset. We assessed the reliability, construct validity, and factor structure of the Mindset Assessment Profile in a sample of 992 undergraduates. The reliability of the Mindset Assessment Profile (α = .63) was considerably lower...
Preprint
What accounts for the striking variability in how readily people acquire expertise and the ultimate level of performance they attain? In this article, we discuss sources of individual differences in skill acquisition. We begin by describing a first-of-its-kind case study of golf expertise: Dan McLaughlin’s attempt to make the PGA Tour through delib...
Preprint
One of the most replicated findings in psychology is the positive manifold between cognitive ability measures (Jensen, 1998). That is, scores on different tests of cognitive ability are positively correlated, implying the existence of a g factor. Our research attempts to explain these relationships among broad cognitive abilities using a combinatio...
Article
Full-text available
The question of what cognitive processes contribute to fluid intelligence (Gf)—the ability to solve novel problems—continues to be central in intelligence research. Here, we considered the contribution of placekeeping, which is the ability to perform a sequence of steps in a prescribed order without omissions or repetitions. Placekeeping plays a ro...
Chapter
Full-text available
People with high levels of expertise in domains such as science, business, law, and music contribute to the prosperity of nations, the competitive advantage of organizations, and the well-being of families and communities. These individuals are often revered by society for their contributions—think of Marie Curie in science, The Beatles in popular...
Article
The field of expertise is mired in a nature vs. nurture debate. Despite what we now know from behavioral genetics research about the underpinnings of human behavior, some expertise theorists continue to deny or downplay the importance of genetic factors ("innate talent") in expert performance. In this commentary, we argue that this viewpoint is nei...
Article
It is well established that measures of reasoning ability and of working memory capacity (WMC) correlate positively. However, the question of what explains this relationship remains open. The purpose of this study was to investigate the capacity hypothesis, which ascribes causality to WMC. This hypothesis holds that people high in WMC are more succ...
Article
How important are training and other forms of domain-relevant experience in predicting individual differences in expertise? To answer this question, we used structural equation modeling to reanalyze data from a study of chess by Charness, Tuffiash, Krampe, Reingold, and Vasyukova (2005). Latent variables reflecting serious chess activity and formal...
Chapter
This chapter reviews evidence concerning the contribution of cognitive ability to individual differences in expertise. The review covers research in traditional domains for expertise research such as music, sports, and chess, as well as research from industrial–organizational psychology on job performance. The specific question that we seek to addr...
Article
Mindset refers to a person’s beliefs about the nature of their abilities—whether they believe their ability in a given domain is malleable or fixed. We investigated whether a brief, online intervention could alter ability and non-ability traits, including mindset of intelligence, locus of control, challenge-approach motivation, grit, and performanc...
Article
Multiple frameworks for categorizing spatial abilities exist but it has been difficult to verify them using exploratory factor analysis. The present study tested one of these frameworks-a 2 × 2 classification scheme that crossed the dimensions of static/dynamic and intrinsic/extrinsic (Uttal et al., 2013)-using confirmatory factor analysis with dat...
Article
The circumvention-of-limits hypothesis holds that the more expert (i.e., knowledgeable) the task performer, the less it matters for task performance whether that person has limited general cognitive ability. We tested this hypothesis using a knowledge-activation approach to manipulate knowledge experimentally. The criterion task, which we designed...
Article
The debate over the origins of individual differences in expertise has raged on for over a century in psychology. The “nature” view holds that expertise reflects “innate talent”—that is, genetically-determined abilities. The “nurture” view counters that if talent even exists, its effects on ultimate performance are negligible. While no scientist ta...
Article
Scientists identify 22 genes associated with intelligence. Full Text: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/intelligence-and-the-dna-revolution/
Article
Full-text available
Substantial research in the psychology of expertise has shown that experts in several fields (e.g., science, mathematics) perform better than non-experts on standardized tests of intelligence. This evidence suggests that intelligence plays an important role in the acquisition of expertise. However, a counter argument is that the difference between...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
We are conducting a meta-analysis on the effect of mindset interventions (i.e., implicit theory interventions; Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) on academic achievement. We are asking for any data you may have relevant to this topic where:
1. The study administered a mindset/implicit theory intervention directly to students;
2. The study included a comparison group (active control group, passive control group, fixed mindset/entity theory treatment comparison);
3. The study measured academic achievement (e.g., grade in a class, exam grade, GPA or performance on a standardized test) of those who participated in the intervention/were assigned to the comparison group following the intervention.
We aim to be exhaustive, so please send us any paper or results that you think may fit the criteria, including posters, spreadsheets, manuscript drafts, papers in press, dissertations, theses, etc. If you are willing to share your unpublished results or data file (whichever is more convenient for you), we would be grateful if you would send it in any form to burgoyn4@msu.edu
Thank you very much for your time and contribution.
Sincerely,
Alexander Burgoyne, MA
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
Brooke Macnamara, PhD
Department of Psychological Sciences
Case Western Reserve University

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
This is a collection of studies investigating individual differences in placekeeping ability and the effects of task interruptions on the performance of procedures.
Project
To understand the nature and development of expertise through experiments, meta-analysis and mathematical modeling.