The Expertise Lab at Michigan State University focuses on the origins and underpinnings of skill in domains such as music, games, sports, and professions. Research in the Expertise Lab uses state-of-the-art techniques to identify factors that explain individual differences in the attainment of high-level skill in these domains. If you are interested in working in the Expertise Lab, please contact Alex Burgoyne at

Meet the Research Team

Dr. David Z. Hambrick

Laboratory Director

David “Zach” Hambrick is an associate professor of cognitive psychology whose research into the field of expertise has garnered widespread national media coverage and landed him an occasional writing gig in the New York Times.

Dr. Erik M. Altmann


I'm interested in procedural error and task interruption, which I study using behavioral experimentation and cognitive models. I also have general interests in memory, attention, cognitive control, cognitive ability, and expertise.

Dr. Lauren J. Harris


My main research interests lie in cognitive and developmental neuropsychology, especially the study of the development of handedness and the psychological correlates of individual differences in lateralization of function as indexed by direction and strength of handedness.

Alexander P. Burgoyne

Graduate Assistant/PhD student

Hi, I'm Alex. I'm fascinated by expertise and the acquisition of complex skill. My research interests include longitudinal predictors of competency, behavioral genetics, the relation of working memory to skill acquisition and music aptitude, the efficacy of teaching strategies, & creativity and improvisation.

Tyler James Matteson

Research Assistant

Major: Psychology B.S.
Bio: I hope to become an educator and researcher in the field of music psychology. I enjoy playing guitar, exercise, and traveling.

Stephanie Schiffert

Research Assistant

Major: Chemistry with a minor in bioethics
Bio: Hoping to attend medical school after graduation to eventually become a trauma doctor. Most of my free time now is spent studying or volunteering.

Joey Getzen

Research Assistant

Major: Neuroscience (Cognitive Discipline)
Bio: I plan to attend medical school after graduation. In my spare time, I like playing video games and fishing.

Hannah Schwartz

Research Assistant

Major: Neuroscience/Pre-Med
Bio: I hope to go onto medical school and become a doctor someday, and as for my personal interests, I absolutely love sports.

Andrew Dumont

Research Assistant

Major: Psychology
Bio: I plan to go to graduate school for cognitive neuroscience, and possibly go back for an engineering degree later in life. I aspire to discover various applications between linking technology and human thought.

Abey Martin

Research Assistant

Major: Human Biology
Bio: I plan on attending medical school after graduation. I love to be active and play sports and also play the piano.

McKenzie Miller

Research Assistant

Major: Neuroscience
Bio: I plan on attending graduate school for clinical psychology, and look forward to researching, teaching about, and improving mental health in the lives of others. My favorite activities are running and traveling.

Maria Sliva

Research Assistant

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; minors in Italian and Beverage Science
Bio: Hoping to attend law school after graduation with a focus on international law. Lover of yoga, reading, and breakfast foods.