Karl Ericsson

Karl Ericsson
Florida State University | FSU · Department of Psychology

Professor

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216
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Publications

Publications (216)
Article
Investigations of expert performers across many domains have suggested the accumulation of deliberate practice over many years is a key component of developing expertise. Researchers propose deliberate practice is effective for improving performance in the long term because it includes several structured elements that facilitate learning. However,...
Article
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In their commentary, Macnamara and Hambrick (Psychol Res, 2017) accused my colleagues and me of systematically changing the definition of the concept of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice was the result of a search for characteristics of effective practice in the laboratory that was shown to improve expert professional performance in domains,...
Article
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Models for diagnostic reasoning in radiology have been based on the observed behaviors of experienced radiologists but have not directly focused on the thought processes of novices as they improve their accuracy of image interpretation. By collecting think-aloud verbal reports, the current study was designed to investigate differences in specific t...
Article
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This study examined attention allocation in 30 marksmen categorized into 3 skill levels ranging from expert to novice. Each shooter performed 336 shooting trials. Half of the trials were performed under an occluded-vision condition and the rest under regular, unoccluded conditions. Immediately after completion of a random subset of shots (96 trials...
Article
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Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch- Römer published their research on “The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance” over 25 years ago. Since then, hundreds of new articles have been published with findings regarding the effects of practice on performance in sports. The original paper searched for conditions underpinning optima...
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Over 25 years ago Ericsson et al. (1993) published the results of their search for the most effective forms of training in music, a domain where knowledge of effective training has been accumulated over centuries. At music academies master teachers provide students individualized instruction and help them identify goals and methods for their practi...
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In two studies, the SCRABBLE skill of male and female participants at the National SCRABBLE Championship was analyzed and revealed superior performance for males. By collecting increasingly detailed information about the participants' engagement in practice-related activities, we found that over half of the variance in SCRABBLE performance was acco...
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Correcting Table 5. SEM results for four factors without the variables of age, starting age, and first tournament age. Statistically significant paths and values are black, and non-significant paths and values are gray.
Article
Previous research has indicated positive relations between a curricular emphasis during college and improvements in GRE performance for content that matches that emphasis. However, measurement issues and a lack of a theoretical approach have contributed to a lack of precision and detail in the estimates of the relation between college experiences a...
Chapter
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The study of expertise has a long history (see Ericsson, Chapter 1, this volume). In the first part of this chapter we emphasize a period of research roughly from the mid-1950s into the 1980s when empirical laboratory studies of expert reasoning were first combined with theoretical models of human thought processes that could reproduce the observab...
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Some have explained large sex differences in visuospatial abilities by genetic adaptations to different roles in primitive hunter-gatherer societies and the interaction of innate biological differences and environmental factors. We explored the extent to which variations in behavior and acquired skills can provide alternative accounts for sex diffe...
Data
Study data variable coding. Plain text file describing study data variable coding. (TXT)
Data
Study data. Comma delimited plain text file containing data used in the present investigation. (CSV)
Article
In the mid-1980s, Dario Donatelli (DD) participated in a laboratory study of the effects of around 800 h of practice on digit-span and increased his digit-span from 8 to 104 digits. This study assessed changes in the structure of his memory skill after around 30 years of essentially no practice on the digit-span task. On the first day of testing, h...
Chapter
The central problem which cognitive scientists face in studying thinking is that thinking cannot be observed directly by other people. The traditional solution has been to rely on introspective methods, where individuals observe their own thinking and reflect on its characteristics. In everyday life, the most common technique involves asking people...
Article
Advances in anatomical imaging can facilitate the planning of surgical procedures. The path to expert performance requires extended execution of surgical activities with immediate feedback ideally personalized and guided by a teacher (deliberate practice). The orchestration of an operation entails “structured” steps, i.e., predictable and reproduci...
Article
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Laboratory studies have investigated how individuals with normal memory spans attained digit spans over 80 digits after hundreds of hours of practice. Experimental analyses of their memory skills suggested that their attained memory spans were constrained by the encoding time, for the time needed will increase if the length of digit sequences to be...
Article
Video games are ideal platforms for the study of skill acquisition for a variety of reasons. However, our understanding of the development of skill and the cognitive representations that support skilled performance can be limited by a focus on game scores. We present an alternative approach to the study of skill acquisition in video games based on...
Article
What is expertise and where does it come from? Modern research techniques have made it possible to objectively measure performance in new ways, revealing that expertise derives neither from basic cognitive ability nor from the sheer amount of experience. Rather, it develops—particular forms of training and practice induce cognitive, perceptual, phy...
Article
In a recent article, Foroughi, Werner, Barragán, and Boehm-Davis (2015) demonstrated that interspersing interruptions between paragraphs during reading sometimes reduces accuracy on comprehension questions. We propose an account of their findings within long-term working memory (LTWM) theory. Our account proposes that interruptions interfere with t...
Article
In this paper we describe a novel approach to the study of individual differences in acquired skilled performance in complex laboratory tasks based on an extension of the methodology of the expert-performance approach (Ericsson & Smith, 1991) to shorter periods of training and practice. In contrast to more traditional approaches that study the aver...
Article
Objectives Whereas accounts of skilled performance based on automaticity (Beilock & Carr, 2001; Fitts & Posner, 1967) emphasize reduced cognitive involvement in advanced skill, other accounts propose that skilled performance relies on increased cognitive control (Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995). The objective of this study was to test predictions differe...
Article
In their original article, Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer (1993) reviewed the evidence concerning the conditions of optimal learning and found that individualized practice with training tasks (selected by a supervising teacher) with a clear performance goal and immediate informative feedback was associated with marked improvement. We found that...
Article
As a part of a special collection in this issue of Academic Medicine, which is focused on mastery learning in medical education, this Perspective describes how the expert-performance approach with deliberate practice is consistent with many characteristics of mastery learning. Importantly, this Perspective also explains how the expert-performance a...
Article
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Individual differences in memory performance in a domain of expertise have traditionally been accounted for by previously acquired chunks of knowledge and patterns. These accounts have been examined experimentally mainly in chess. The role of chunks (clusters of chess pieces recalled in rapid succession during recall of chess positions) and their r...
Article
This study investigated whether deliberate practice leads to an increase in surgical quality in virtual reality (VR) laparoscopic cholecystectomies (LC). Previous research has suggested that sustained DP is effective in surgical training. Fourteen residents were randomized into deliberate practice (n = 7) or control training (n = 7). Both groups pe...
Article
At the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, participants filled out a questionnaire about their experience with crossword solving and related activities for every year since they began solving crossword puzzles. This study focused on the role of crossword-solving disruptions in influencing objective performance at the tournament. The number...
Article
Weiss and Shanteau criticize the expert-performance approach and argue that this approach has not, and most importantly, cannot be applied to the study of ‘experts’ in domains that lack readily available objective measures of performance, such as accuracy of judgments. In this response, I demonstrate that it is not necessary to use fictitious stimu...
Article
The study of expertise is based on the premise that experts in different domains follow a similar path of acquisition and development. This article distinguishes two research approaches to the study of expertise. The traditional approach assumes a steady progression from novice to expert as a function of training as well as years of experience ofte...
Article
The study of expertise is based on the premise that experts in different domains follow a similar path of acquisition and development. This article distinguishes two research approaches to the study of expertise. The traditional approach assumes a steady progression from novice to expert as a function of training as well as years of experience ofte...
Chapter
This chapter describes how the current work on expert performance in traditional domains, such as sport, chess, music, and ballet, can be extended to creative achievement in science and arts. It reviews the literature to assess how it would be possible to identify the background knowledge, mental representations, and skills that would be necessary...
Article
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In the United States, video game playing is an immensely popular form of entertainment; the majority of adults will have had some experience with video games during their lives (Rideout et al., 2010). As the popularity of video games in entertainment has increased, so has interest in exploring the potential effects that video games may have on lear...
Book
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Cognitive engineering is an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis, modeling, and design of engineered systems or workplaces in which humans and technologies jointly operate to achieve system goals. As individuals, teams, and organizations become increasingly reliant on information technology and automation, it is more important than ever for s...
Article
Many misunderstandings about the expert-performance approach can be attributed to its unique methodology and theoretical concepts. This approach was established with case studies of the acquisition of expert memory with detailed experimental analysis of the mediating mechanisms. In contrast the traditional individual difference approach starts with...
Article
The traditional apprenticeship model for training doctors requires ample opportunities in the clinic for trainees to learn core procedures under the supervision of skilled doctors. In this issue, Kyser and colleagues document that the learning opportunities for residents to master certain core procedures, such as forceps and vacuum deliveries, are...
Article
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AbstrAct: In popular models of expertise and decision making in complex environments, such as the recognition-primed decision (RPD) model and take-the-first (TTF) heuristic, expert and skilled decision makers are described as generating few response options and typically choose the best option first. To explain these behaviors, proponents of TTF ha...
Article
The expert-performance approach guided the collection of survey data on the developmental history of elite professional ballet dancers from three different countries/cultures (USA, Mexico, and Russia). The level of ballet expertise attained by age 18 was found to be uniquely predicted by only two factors, namely the total number of accumulated hour...
Article
The concept of cognitive readiness implies the acquisition of mechanisms that can guide performance in complex, unfamiliar and unpredictable environments. This chapter traces the history of previously introduced concepts involving similar mechanisms, such as insightful learning and adaptive expertise. These concepts emerged as criticisms of routine...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary accounts of sex differences in perceptual-motor performance differ in their emphasis on nature and nurture. Study 1 examined the effect of extensive training on one of the largest sex differences, namely accuracy in dart throwing, and found that physical differences in height and reach could not explain sex differences in regional/nati...
Chapter
This chapter is an attempt to address the central question of the expert-performance approach for creative performance—namely, how can one identify and examine reproducibly superior performance the expert-performance approach offers a unique framework for studying skill and expert performance. Whereas studies of expertise have traditionally identif...
Article
A plenary panel session at the 2012 Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference "Education Research in Emergency Medicine: Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies for Success" discussed barriers educators face in imagining, designing, and implementing studies to address educational challenges. This proceedings article presents a general appr...
Article
To improve the teaching performance of emergency physicians, it is necessary to understand the attributes of expert teachers and the optimal methods to deliver faculty development. A working group of medical educators was formed to review the literature, summarize what is known on the topic, and provide recommendations for future research. This occ...
Article
With the recent advances in genome-wide mapping studies and the emerging findings on the relation between athletes’ training histories and their performance, this should be a time for integrating these two bodies of knowledge for a more complete understanding of the complex development of elite performance.1 In their recent article, Tucker and Coll...
Article
One of the hallmarks of adolescent and adult development of expert performance is its self regulation. This paper reviews different approaches to assessing the use of self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies in high-school and college students and their ability to predict academic performance. The current study assesses the use of SRL strategies wi...
Article
In this issue Howard reported that the effect of chess study is surprisingly small among elite chess players, who continue playing more games in international chess tournaments. In contrast, we show that individual differences in chess study are the likely causes of both higher chess ratings and more chess games played in international tournaments,...
Article
In a recent paper, Hu, Ericsson, Yang, and Lu (2009) found that an ability to memorize very long lists of digits is not mediated by the same mechanisms as exceptional memory for rapidly presented lists, which has been the traditional focus of laboratory research. Chao Lu is the holder of the Guinness World Record for reciting the most decimal posit...
Article
Current theories argue that human decision making is largely based on quick, automatic, and intuitive processes that are occasionally supplemented by slow controlled deliberation. Researchers, therefore, predominantly studied the heuristics of the automatic system in everyday decision making. Our study examines the role of slow deliberation for exp...
Chapter
In this chapter, I outline some perceived parallels between findings on expert performance in surgery and those in other domains. Analyses of superior performance of experts from traditional domains, such as chess, sports, and music, have uncovered evidence for the acquired mediating mechanisms of expertise: very complex skills, highly refined repr...
Article
Virtual reality (VR) simulation provides unique training opportunities. This study evaluates whether the deliberate practice (DP) can be successfully applied to simulated laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) for enhancement of the quality of surgical skills. Twenty-six inexperienced surgeons underwent a training program for LC on a VR simulator. Train...
Article
An increasing number of computer users lack formal training in operating their devices. These daily users cannot be described as novices or experts within the predominant view of expertise. In order to describe and better understand this type of self-taught intermediate level of skill, 10 casual users of a high-end smartphone series were compared t...
Article
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The expert performance framework distinguishes between deliberate practice and less effective practice activities. The current longitudinal study is the first to use this framework to understand how children improve in an academic skill. Specifically, the authors examined the effectiveness and subjective experience of three preparation activities w...
Article
Schooler's (2011) commentary of our meta-analysis (Fox, Ericsson, & Best, 2011), although thoughtful and generally complimentary, misclassifies the think-aloud method as a form of introspection. Although he praised the scientific rigor of the think-aloud method, Schooler criticized its limitations as a mode of capturing the full range of conscious...
Article
Since its establishment, psychology has struggled to find valid methods for studying thoughts and subjective experiences. Thirty years ago, Ericsson and Simon (1980) proposed that participants can give concurrent verbal expression to their thoughts (think aloud) while completing tasks without changing objectively measurable performance (accuracy)....
Article
This study examined use of strategies by twins during cognitive tasks to determine the effects of strategy-use on estimates of heritability. Performance on many cognitive tasks has been found to be more similar for monozygotic (MZ) than dizygotic (DZ) twins. The cognitive mechanisms mediating these similarities are largely unknown. Think-aloud prot...
Article
OBJECTIVES There has been long-standing controversy regarding aptitude testing and selection for medical education. Visual perception is considered particularly important for detecting signs of disease as part of diagnostic procedures in, for example, microscopic pathology, radiology and dermatology and as a component of perceptual motor skills in...
Article
Over the last century many individuals with exceptional memory have been studied and tested in the laboratory. This article studies Chao Lu, who set a Guinness World Record by memorizing 67,890 decimals of pi. Chao Lu's superior self-paced memorization of digits is shown through analyses of study times and verbal reports to be mediated by mnemonic...
Article
We examined whether skilled and less-skilled participants process dynamic sequences comprised of numerous elements using relational information or specific display features. Moreover, the processes underpinning anticipation and recognition judgments were compared. Participants viewed dynamic film sequences showing multiple display features and anti...
Article
Exceptional performance is frequently attributed to genetic differences in talent. Since Sir Francis Galton's book, Hereditary Genius, many scientists have cited heritable factors that set limits of performance and only allow some individuals to attain exceptional levels. However, thus far these accounts have not explicated the causal processes inv...
Conference Paper
It has been argued that a worker's ability to overcome interruptions depends on his or her level of expertise in the interrupted main task. The effects of repetitive practice (repeated experience) with new task have not been systematically analyzed. This paper reviews practice effects as reported from interruption experiments. The theory of long-te...
Chapter
Ever since the publication of Galton’s seminal book, Hereditary Genius (1869/1979), researchers and the general public have assumed that individuals need to be endowed with inherited gifts to attain elite levels of performance. This chapter describes the surprising lack of firm objective evidence for this assumption. We review a variety of findings...
Article
In this themed issue of the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, we bring together an eclectic mix of papers focusing on how expert performers learn the skills needed to compete at the highest level in sport. In the preface, we highlight the value of adopting the expert performance approach as a systematic framework for the evaluation and develo...
Chapter
One of the most striking individual differences between people concerns their ability to recall information and everyday events. This entry reviews the history of research on superior memory of mnemonists as well as experts for information in their domain of expertise. The review of exceptional memory shows that superior memory is the result of pra...
Article
Traditionally, professional expertise has been judged by length of experience, reputation, and perceived mastery of knowledge and skill. Unfortunately, recent research demonstrates only a weak relationship between these indicators of expertise and actual, observed performance. In fact, observed performance does not necessarily correlate with greate...
Article
This consensus group from the 2008 Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference, "The Science of Simulation in Healthcare: Defining and Developing Clinical Expertise," held in Washington, DC, May 28, 2008, focused on the use of simulation for the development of individual expertise in emergency medicine (EM). Methodologically sound qualitative...
Article
Full-text available
The study of expert performance has become a popular area for sport psychologists. Knowledge of factors that differentiate those with varying levels of skill is helpful in determining the limits on human performance and in designing suitable training interventions and support mechanisms to facilitate the acquisition of expertise. The expert perform...
Article
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In military and sports tasks, individuals are often required to perform in a complex and dynamic environment and obtain a tactical advantage over an opponent even when only partial or incomplete information is available. Successful performance in both domains is typically dependent upon the ability to work both independently and as a team in an eff...
Article
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The development of expertise for two groups of rhythmic gymnasts was studied where a group of elite (Olympic) gymnasts was compared to a group of sub-elite (International) gymnasts. Structured interviews were used to collect retrospective information about the gymnasts?health, training resources, level and ranking, and hours spent in training activ...
Article
Three decades ago Elstein et al. published their classic book on medical expertise, in which they described their failure to identify superior performance by peer-nominated diagnosticians using high- and low-fidelity simulations of the everyday practice of doctors. This paper reviews the results of subsequent research, with a particular emphasis on...
Article
This chapter shows that skilled and expert performers acquire complex skills and neurological/physiological adaptations that transform the mediating cognitive mechanisms and associated brain regions to make them qualitatively different from the processes and representations traditionally examined in the laboratory studies of memory. It argues that...
Article
Expertise researchers have traditionally shied away from studying the highest levels of achievement in favor of studying basic cognitive processes, such as memory and categorization. In this article, we present a different approach that is focused on capturing superior (expert) performance on representative tasks that reveal the essential character...
Article
Full-text available
One of the central challenges to studying highly skilled performance in the laboratory is methodological. It is necessary to develop standardized methods that allow investigators to make experts repeatedly reproduce their superior performance in the laboratory. The recent increase in demand for translational research has raised related issues of ho...
Article
Applied psychologists have long been interested in examining expert performance in complex cognitive domains. In the present article, we report the results from a study of expert cognitive skill in which elements from two historically distinct research paradigms are incorporated -- the individual differences tradition and the expert-performance app...
Article
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The concept of deliberate practice was introduced to explain exceptional performance in domains such as music and chess. We apply deliberate practice theory to intermediate-level performance in typing, an activity that many people pursue on a regular basis. Sixty university students with several years typing experience participated in laboratory se...
Article
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Background in clinical psychology. The objectives of these studies (Sandgren, 2005) were to identify core processes in the artistic profession and development among opera singers. Initially, the studies aimed at exploring the influences of personality and how opera singers cope psychologically with the high demands for achievement. The personality...
Article
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Giftedness researchers have long debated whether there is empirical evidence to support a distinction between giftedness and attained level of achievement. In this paper we propose a general theoretical framework that establishes scientific criteria for acceptable evidence of superior reproducible performance, which any theory of exceptional perfor...
Article
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Popular lore tells us that genius is born, not made. Scientific research, on the other hand, reveals that true expertise is mainly the product of years of intense practice and dedicated coaching. Ordinary practice is not enough: To reach elite levels of performance, you need to constantly push yourself beyond your abilities and comfort level. Such...
Article
Performance on abstract unfamiliar tasks used to measure intelligence has not been found to correlate with individual differences in highly skilled and expert performance. Given that cognitive and neural structures and regions mediating performance change as skill increases, the structures highlighted by parieto-frontal integration theory are unlik...
Article
Contemporary accounts of sex differences in perceptual-motor performance differ in their emphasis on nature and nurture. Study 1 examined the effect of extensive training on one of the largest sex differences, namely accuracy in dart throwing, and found that physical differences in height and reach could not explain sex differences in regional/nati...