Accounting for expert performance: The devil is in the details
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
The deliberate practice view has generated a great deal of scientific and popular interest in expert performance. At the same time, empirical evidence now indicates that deliberate practice, while certainly important, is not as important as Ericsson and colleagues have argued it is. In particular, we ( Hambrick, Oswald, Altmann, Meinz, Gobet, & Campitelli, 2014-this issue) found that individual differences in accumulated amount of deliberate practice accounted for about one-third of the reliable variance in performance in chess and music, leaving the majority of the reliable variance unexplained and potentially explainable by other factors. Ericsson's (2014-this issue) defense of the deliberate practice view, though vigorous, is undercut by contradictions, oversights, and errors in his arguments and criticisms, several of which we describe here. We reiterate that the task now is to develop and rigorously test falsifiable theories of expert performance that take into account as many potentially relevant constructs as possible.