Friday, September 2, 2011

Are Experts born or raised?

In the article the expert mind (click expert mind for link) it talks about the psychological studies regarding experts, and chess. It starts off talking about famous chess master Jose Raul Capablanca, of Cuba. He played a circuit game with 28 amateurs taking only 1 or 2 seconds each game he wins all the games. I was very impressed by that kind of skill he possessed. The main point of this article is to argue the topic of are experts naturally talented, or do they put in more hard work, and time then everyone else? They use chess, because chess is very easy to record success and skill levels.

They show a study and ask amateurs and masters to memorize a chess game from an actual game, and one that is randomly moved throughout the board (Ross 67), the experts were able to recall the real chess game almost flawlessly after just a few seconds, but were very comparable to the amateurs in the randomly arranged one. This argued that the chess masters memorize specific games and positions, but don't just memorize everything better. It also introduces the Chunking Theory (Ross 68) which suggests that people can remember information in what is called blocks, so instead of memorizing all 20 pieces they just memorize the normal position, and add the differences. Then from there they propose it takes about 10 years of thoughtful study and practice to become an expert (Ross 71).

This article supports the idea of the book Outliers: The Story of Successby Malcolm Gladwell. They both argue that experts or outliers are made through practice and study, for 10 years or 10,000 hours. I do agree with them natural talent is nice to have but if you find no need to push yourself further and study harder your talent can and will be outclassed by someone who is willing to practice harder, and longer. I think we often stick with our natural talents, because that is what we have had the most success of in our daily life, but we can amount to anything if we are disciplined to stick with it and practice hard at it. Most people want to be an expert in their field, are you willing to do what it takes to become one?

Is the article well-written?

I feel the article is well written especially considering the person who wrote it is a chess player himself. His facts are very sound, and I have seen similar studies argued in different books. I feel that this article is very applicable to anyone who is striving to go into a field, irregardless of the field. For example Web Designer can use it as inspiration if they are struggling with code, and if they study and practice, could create very complex sites, extremely quickly. Chunking theory also works well for web design, if you can master the html codes and css codes and the order they are usually presented, you could easily recall a large amount of css with very little time, and effort when starting from scratch.

Is the article applicable?
Are arguments in the article valid and sound?
How is information in the article applicable to Web designers?

Ross, Philip E. "The Expert Mind." Scientific American. Aug 2006: 67. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you connected this to Outliers, another great read. Chunking theory explains a lot about how expert minds work.