Alexander P. Burgoyne

PhD Student

Alexander Burgoyne plays drums with The Blue Effect in Traverse City, Michigan Alexander P. Burgoyne was awarded the Rasmussen Fellowship upon enrolling in the doctoral program at MSU. In 2018, Alex won a number of awards, including the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching Fellowship, a Research Scholars Award from the College of Social Sciences, a Research Enhancement Award from the Department of Psychology, and the Thompson Endowment Fellowship Award.

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Hats I've worn lately:
Laboratory Manager - The Expertise Lab at MSU

Webmaster - The Journal of Expertise

Webmaster - The Science of Expertise

Teaching Assistant - PSY 402(W): Sensation and Perception

What I'm reading:
The Science of Expertise: Behavioral, Neural, and Genetic Approaches to Complex Skill
Edited by Hambrick, Campitelli, & Macnamara

Neural Implementations of Expertise
Edited by Bilalić, Langner, Campitelli, Turella, & Grodd

Alexander P. Burgoyne

Hi, I'm Alex. I'm fascinated by expertise and the cognitive processes supporting complex skill. My research focuses on assessing the contribution of abilities, training, and nonability factors to the attainment of exceptional performance. One of my research programs is currently testing the major tenets of mindset theory and the impact of different educational interventions on achievement. In another project, I am examining how task characteristics (e.g., dynamic vs. static) moderate the relative influence of broad cognitive abilities on performance. Another line of research focuses on the factor structure of intelligence, with an emphasis on placekeeping ability. We're investigating whether placekeeping and working memory contribute independently to problem solving. My latest work uses eye-tracking to glean insight into the cognitive processes supporting proofreading performance, and to investigate the pernicious effect of overfamiliarity on error detection.

Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Doctoral Program
Michigan State University

Ongoing Projects:
Testing the Circumvention of Limits Hypothesis
Does the relationship between cognitive ability and complex skill acquisition decrease as a function of domain-relevant experience? To what extent can selective attrition and reliance on memory-based skill account for decreasing ability-performance correlations? This multi-domain project seeks to test the circumvention of limits hypothesis in chess, music, sports, and other domains.

Acquiring Skill in Music: An Individual Differences Approach
What enables some people to defy the typical trajectory of skill acquisition and attain expert levels of performance well before their peers? In this project I assess the relative contribution of individual differences to the acquisition of musical skill in novice pianists.

Predictors of Multitasking Performance
With technology woven into the fabric of everyday experience, there is an increasing demand for multitaskers, especially in the workplace. This experiment tracks the effect of specialized training on predictors of multitasking proficiency.

Malleability of Placekeeping Ability
We're testing the malleability of placekeeping ability, a ubiquitous cognitive control construct involved in everything from medical procedures and military operations to making your morning cup of coffee.

Testing the Strategy Use Hypothesis
What accounts for the predictive validity of placekeeping ability? In this experiment we're experimentally manipulating strategy use to determine whether individual differences in devising and implementing successful strategies mediate relationships between complex task performance.

A Decade of Golf
We're compiling data on the past decade of elite golfers to estimate changes in the relative contribution of power and precision to performance over time.


Hambrick, Burgoyne, & Oswald (in press)

Vocational Interests in the Workplace: Rethinking Behavior at Work

The Role of Interests in the Development of Expertise: A Multifactorial Perspective

Burgoyne et al. (in press)

The American Journal of Psychology

The Impact of Domain-Specific Experience on Chess Skill: Re-Analysis of a Key Study

Sisk & Burgoyne et al. (2018)

Psychological Science

To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses

Hambrick, Burgoyne, & Oswald (in press)

Oxford Handbook of Expertise: Research and Application

Domain-General Models of Expertise: The Role of Cognitive Ability

Burgoyne et al. (2018)

Journal of Research in Personality

Analysis of a Mindset Intervention

Mix et al. (2018)


The Latent Structure of Spatial Skill: A Test of the 2 x 2 Typology

Hambrick, Altmann, & Burgoyne (2018)

The American Journal of Psychology

A Knowledge-Activation Approach to Testing the Circumvention-of-Limits Hypothesis

Hambrick & Burgoyne et al. (2018)

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Toward a Multifactorial Model of Expertise: Beyond Born Versus Made

Macnamara et al. (2018)

The Science of Expertise

The Deliberate Practice View: An Evaluation of Definitions, Claims, and Empirical Evidence

Hambrick & Burgoyne et al. (2018)

International Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Working Memory, Thinking, and Expertise

Burgoyne et al. (2016)


The Relationship between Cognitive Ability and Chess Skill: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis

Sala & Burgoyne et al. (2017)


Checking the “Academic Selection” Argument. Chess Players Outperform Non-Chess Players in Cognitive Skills Related to Intelligence: A Meta-Analysis

Popular Writing


These programs were developed for E-Prime by Alex Burgoyne.
Email for password.