WHAT separates elite athletes, musicians and scientists from the rest of the community?
What makes an expert?
Professor Zach Hambrick, from the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, will address these questions in a free public lecture at ECU Joondalup on Friday.
Titled ‘Toward a Multifactorial Theory of Expertise: Beyond Born vs Made’, the lecture will run from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
Professor Hambrick will argue that despite the popularity of the ‘10,000 hour rule’, there is more to the development of expertise than just the amount of time spent practising.
He will also refer to a study by German scientists on Olympic athletes that found those who won medals had actually spent less time practicing than those who did not.
“Additionally, the study found those athletes that won medals averagely started training in their sport at an older age than those who didn’t,” Prof Hambrick said.
His advice to parents is to expose their children to a wide variety of activities when they are young, rather than trying to push them in one particular direction.
“If you enjoy something, you are much more likely to be able to stick at it and get enough practice to develop expertise,” he said.
Professor Hambrick has spent the past two months in Perth as part of the ECU Visiting Professorship program.