I recently came across this article, where the writer says that it is commonly assumed among researchers that the brains of experts show less neural activity than those of novices, at the task that requires expertise.

Another neural signature of expertise is that the network of brain areas that experts engage is larger than that of novices. This is in contrast to a widespread belief, among not only laypeople but also other researchers, that the reduction of neuronal activity, often taken as an index of neural efficiency, is a hallmark of expertise.

(The writer also adds a caveat, which is not relevant to this post).

Is this true? Can someone point me to relevant articles? Also, what is the reasoning behind this phenomenon, if it is true?

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    $\begingroup$ With the quote I added to help, I think it is a fair to assume that laypeople will have more neural activity when engaging in a task compared to experts in some respects, but my thoughts are that, maybe sometimes, experts might have more neural activity when trying to think of a way to put a concept across in a clear and concise manner? Just an example of a few, if not many, possible situations. I have yet to find anything to back the theory up, hence the comment rather than an answer, but just some of my thoughts. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ On your query as to whether it is true that laypeople have more neural activity than experts, have you read any of the key sources listed at the bottom of the article? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how I missed that.. Thanks for the catch. $\endgroup$
    – Joebevo
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure if I can find what I'm looking for in the resources mentioned, but I'll give it a shot. $\endgroup$
    – Joebevo
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ Not knowing the content of the sources yet, with books, I would personally start with Bilalić. M. (2017). The neuroscience of expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A fair few of the papers listed might give some evidence of the claim made. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 13:09


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