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What do we do?

We study the origins of skill in domains such as music, science, chess, and sports.

Welcome to the Expertise Lab at Michigan State University.

The Research Team

Fredrik Ullén

Karolinska Institute

Lauren Julius Harris

Michigan State University

Alexander Burgoyne

Graduate Assistant
Michigan State University

Zach Hambrick

Laboratory Director
Michigan State University

Erik Altmann

Michigan State University

Miriam Mosing

Karolinska Institute

Elliot Tucker-Drob

The University of Texas at Austin

David Moreau

University of Lille, France

Elizabeth Meinz

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Guillermo Campitelli

Edith Cowan University

Brooke Macnamara

Case Western Reserve University

Fred Oswald

Rice University

Fernand Gobet

University of Liverpool

Giovanni Sala

University of Liverpool

Sala et al. (in press)

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

Burgoyne et al. (2016)

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

Macnamara et al. (2016)

The Relationship Between Deliberate Practice and Performance in Sports: A Meta-Analysis
Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Hambrick et al. (2016)

Beyond Born Versus Made: A New Look at Expertise
Psychology of Learning and Motivation.

Macnamara et al. (2016)

How Important is Deliberate Practice? Reply to Ericsson (2016)
Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Ullen et al. (2015)

Rethinking Expertise: A Multifactorial Gene–Environment Interaction Model of Expert Performance
Psychological Bulletin.

Hambrick et al. (2014)

Deliberate Practice: is that all it takes to become an Expert?

Hambrick et al. (2014)

The Genetics of Music Accomplishment: Evidence for Gene–Environment Correlation and Interaction
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Hambrick et al. (2014)

Accounting for Expert Performance: The Devil is in the Details

Hambrick et al. (2014)

Facing Facts about Deliberate Practice
Frontiers in Psychology.

Macnamara et al. (2014)

Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis
Psychological Science.

Hambrick et al. (2012)

A Test of the Circumvention-of-Limits Hypothesis in Scientific Problem Solving: The Case of Geological Bedrock Mapping
Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Hambrick & Meinz (2011)

Limits on the Predictive Power of Domain-Specific Experience and Knowledge in Skilled Performance
Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Meinz & Hambrick (2010)

Deliberate Practice Is Necessary but Not Sufficient to Explain Individual Differences in Piano Sight-Reading Skill: The Role of Working Memory Capacity
Psychological Science.

In The News
Scientific American Zach Hambrick Fredrick Ullen Miriam Mosing
September 20, 2016

Is Innate Talent a Myth?

It’s appealing to think that “all it takes is a lot of practice,” but the factors behind elite performance are more complicated than that.

New York Times Zach Hambrick Expertise Alex Burgoyne
November 19, 2011

Sorry, Strivers; Talent Matters

How do people acquire high levels of skill in science, business, music, the arts and sports? This has long been a topic of intense debate in psychology.

Huffington Post Zach Hambrick Expertise
March 13, 2012

Are Experts Born or Made?

Why do some people learn complex skills with apparent ease, and ultimately reach expert levels of performance, while others struggle...

Psychology Today Zach Hambrick Expertise
September 4, 2014

The Right Stuff

Many researchers believe the focus on practice—as essential as it is—has overshadowed other key factors behind expertise and performance.

May 16, 2016

The Origins of Exceptional Performance in the Arts

A talk by Zach Hambrick at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Sweden, on the multivariate perspective on expertise.

Dr. Arne Güllich

International medallists’ and non-medallists’ developmental sport activities – a matched-pairs analysis

A fascinating paper exploring the training histories of international athletes.
Photocredit: Hendrik Maaßen

September 28, 2016

Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

“One of the criticisms people direct at us is that we’re killing people’s dreams,” Hambrick says. “But I think in fact it’s the contrary: the more we can know about the origins of expertise, including training but everything else, the more we can help people be their best selves.”
Article by Maria Konnikova
Illustration by Wren McDonald

Science of expertise behavioral neural and genetic approaches to complex skill zach hambrick guillermo campitelli brooke macnamaraExpertise is a puzzle with many pieces, and The Science of Expertise will bring together a collection of chapters by internationally-recognized scholars that will provide up-to-date reviews on what some of these pieces might be and how they fit together to explain high-level skill in complex domains. Click to Learn More
April 17, 2017

Margaret Atwood, The Prophet of Dystopia

"Her fiction has imagined societies riddled with misogyny, oppression, and environmental havoc. These visions now feel all too real."
Article by Rebecca Mead
Photograph by Pari Dukovic

More Featured Stories
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More Presentations Coming Soon!

Download Presentation

The Origins of Exceptional Performance in the Arts

by Zach Hambrick, PhD
Brain and Culture Symposium
Karolinska Institutet, May 16th, 2016

Download Presentation

How Important is Deliberate Practice for Chess?

by Zach Hambrick, PhD
APS Conference
Chicago, May 29th, 2016