Visiting speaker: Fernand Gobet, University of Liverpool
Title: Extraordinary performance: Practice or talent?
Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014
Venue: Room CG01
The study of extraordinary performance has been carried out almost independently in two research traditions, the first emphasising practice and the second emphasising talent. The practice tradition has collected empirical evidence strongly supporting chunking as a key learning mechanism and practice as a prerequisite for becoming an expert. The talent tradition has provided convincing data for the importance of (inherited) individual differences in intelligence and working memory as well as for other factors such as starting age and handedness. If future research on extraordinary performance is to be successful, these two traditions must joint efforts to understand the mechanisms involved. Given the number of variables involved, their complex interactions and the fact that they evolve as a function of time, the use of computational modelling is necessary.
Fernand Gobet earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1992 at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. After a six-year stay at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, where he collaborated with Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon on chess expertise, he was Senior Research Fellow and then Reader at the University of Nottingham. He moved to Brunel University in 2003 to take up a Chair in cognitive psychology. Since 2013, he is Professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Liverpool. His main research interest is the psychology of expertise and talent, which he has studied in numerous domains. He has written six books, including Foundations of cognitive psychology (2011) and he is currently finishing a book titled Understanding expertise.