September 9, 2010

DOESN'T LEAVE MUCH ROOM FOR MARXISM, DOES IT?:

Sweating Your Way to Success (Peter Orszag, 9/08/10, NY Times)

Too many of us believe in the “talent” myth — that top performers are born, rather than built. But Syed shows that in almost every arena in which tasks are complex, top performers excel not because of innate ability but because of dedicated practice. [...]

Perhaps the most dramatic example is from chess. A 1973 study took one group of chess masters and another group of novices. When presented with chess pieces as they would be arranged in a chess game, the masters were stunningly better than the novices at recalling each piece’s position.

But here’s the catch: when the pieces were set up randomly, in a manner that would never occur in a real game of chess, the masters were no better than novices at remembering where the pieces were. So much for chess masters being born with special powers of memory or concentration. Instead, the explanation is that they’ve played so many games of chess that they are more adept at recognizing patterns on the chess board (at least, when those patterns could arise in a game of chess).



Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2010 5:28 AM
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