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Adaptions during the acquisition of expertise

International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) c/o A. Ziegler
Publication Date
  • 370 Erziehung
  • Schul- Und Bildungswesen
  • Biology
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Musicology


gruber format_3 Adaptations During the Acquisition of Expertise 3Talent Development & Excellence Vol. 2, No. 1, 2010, 3-15 Adaptations During the Acquisition of Expertise Hans Gruber1,*, Petra Jansen1, Joerg Marienhagen2 and Eckart Altenmueller3 Abstract: For a long period, outstanding performance in complex domains was explained by innate abilities. Research on expertise questioned this assumption and showed that performance can tremendously be influenced by intensive deliberate practice. Evidence about the plasticity of the human mind and body suggests that the acquisition of expertise should rather be described as process of specific adaptations to typical tasks of the domain rather than as development of pre-existing innate abilities. Cognitive adaptations have been addressed in research on expertise for nearly half a century, whereas the investigation of physiological and neural adaptations as result of deliberate practice in specific domains is still at its beginning. Recent developments in sciences like neuroscience, training and exercise theory, physiology, or neurology, open new theoretical and technical possibilities to investigate such adaptations. Neuroimaging methods allow empirical analyses of functional and structural (anatomical) changes of the brain as result of intensive domain-specific practice. In this article, recent research concerning motor, physiological and neural plasticity is reviewed. Considerations are suggested how such research might influence educational issues of supporting the acquisition of expertise. Keywords: adaptations, deliberate practice, expertise, functional neural plasticity, physiological plasticity, structural neural plasticity Expertise: Mental and Physical Excellence Outstanding performers in music, sport and many other domains have fascinated both the public and researchers of different fields since centuries, but the rapidly growing availability of inf

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