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I've been reading into Anders Ericssons work on expertise and as made popular by Malcom Gladwell(though quoted incorrectly) is the requirement of accumulating large amounts of "deliberate practice"(Practice with a specific goal in mind with adequate feedback). I was also looking into Daniel Coyle's work on skill development and he follows a sort of similar theory in the sense that he does agree with deliberate practice, but puts more of an emphasis on "reaching" which can be defined as practicing and pushing yourself slightly outside your abilities with every practice session.

I don't see a reason to disagree with the above, but I pose another question which is how does one achieve consistency in the above described practice, which is usually tiring and require discipline (sometimes the mood just doesn't strike us to practice much less practice at the edge of our abilities).

My theory is that those who persist and are consistent in their practice over a long period of time in pursuit of expertise either deliberately or not have a reward system(Something releases dopamine as a result of practicing). It seems reasonable that people are only motivated to do a task where there is a positive correlation between reward and difficulty. So my question is how important is reward in your guys' opinion in achieving expertise? How can we add more reward to practice if it is important?

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  • $\begingroup$ Dylan I’m adding a comment here as I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to reference my suggestion. Have a look at Hambrick and Macnamaras work on deliberate practice - they pretty much debunk the premise you have stated above. A number of meta analyses have demonstrated weak effect sizes for DP topping out at only 20% (and then for very structured skills like chess). Instead I would look at your question the other way around - what in my genetic composition do I do well (eg aptitudes)? Deliberately pursuing those are intrinsically rewarding (lower cognitive load / physical effort) vs Prestige $\endgroup$ – Nick H Sep 10 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ Very interesting perspective. Thanks for letting me know about DP being debunked. Do you know any other theories on practice in the pursuit of expertise that might be superior to DP? Also I do think genetic composition towards something and pursuing that is definitely leads to more reward due to cognitive load and physical being reduced but even with that in place it does not ensure expert level skill acquirement. $\endgroup$ – Dylan Y Sep 10 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any more recent studies on the acquisition of expert performance? $\endgroup$ – Dylan Y Sep 10 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also what's your opinion on someone who has no genetic disposition to something becoming an expert by amassing large amounts of hours of practice? I think it's unrealistic to say someone has NO genetic disposition to some aspect of a sport or instrument or game, but I'm curious what your opinion is. $\endgroup$ – Dylan Y Sep 10 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I also question the quality of deliberate practice it seems from both anders and Hambrick and Macnamaras study they only categorized as deliberate vs non deliberate practice. Perhaps there’s also a correlation with quality of dp? $\endgroup$ – Dylan Y Sep 10 at 20:47

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