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More than 20 years ago, researchers proposed that individual differences in performance in such domains as music, sports, and games largely reflect individual differences in amount of deliberate practice, which was defined as engagement in structured activities created specifically to improve performance in a domain. This view is a frequent topic of popular-science writing-but is it supported by empirical evidence? To answer this question, we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated. We found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.
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The coming of language occurs at about the same age in every healthy child throughout the world, strongly supporting the concept that genetically determined processes of maturation, rather than environmental influences, underlie capacity for speech and verbal understanding. Dr. Lenneberg points out the implications of this concept for the therapeutic and educational approach to children with hearing or speech deficits.
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The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals' prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.
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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 identified highly educated and experienced individuals as experts and compared their performance to less experienced individuals, the expert-performance approach is committed to the objective study of superior performance, which captures the underlying skill in that domain and then designs controlled tasks that reproduce the relevant performance in standardized laboratory settings. The successful research on expert performance has focused on a single individual's performance, such as the surgeon, the soloist or the nurse in charge of post-operational care. The expert-performance approach is strongly committed to objective measures of performance and actively avoids judgments and ratings by supervisors or teachers, unless they can be demonstrated to be a valid shortcut to objective measures.
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Discussion in this paper centers around the circumstances under which unequal sample size in the two-group study arises and when the point-biserial correlation resulting therefrom should be construed as attenuated and therefore corrected. Formulas are provided for correcting the coefficient either directly or through the mediation of relevant statistics found in studies where the coefficient itself is not reported. Problems and solutions discussed in the two-group study with a single dependent or independent measure are generalized to the two-group study with two or more such measures.