Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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The Expert Mind

November 17th, 2006 · No Comments

VC Confidential writes:

Chess has been called the “Drosophila of cognitive science” (in honor of the experimental fly) because it can be measured, broken into components, observed and modified. Much of the research in cognitive science has been around trying to understand the “Expert Mind” and whether its skills are innate or acquired. More importantly, how does the Expert Mind process information so quickly and effectively? Can others learn to do likewise?

Following up on my Passion for Greatness post, I wanted to layout the heart of a recent Scientific American article on this subject. Like the Fortune article, the conclusion was “training trumps talent”. Studies have shown no correlation between Chess grandmasters and IQ, visual-spatial ability or memory. There is no correlation between professional horse handicappers and mathematical abilities. Rather most experts seem to organize information into distinct “chunks” which are then efficiently processed. This ability to form fixed patterns is driven by (you guessed it) “effortful” study and practice.

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