The 4 things it takes to be an expert

Dipublikasikan tanggal 1 Agu 2022
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Thanks to and Chessable for the clip of Magnus.

Chase, W. G., & Simon, H. A. (1973). Perception in chess. Cognitive psychology, 4(1), 55-81. -

Calderwood, R., Klein, G. A., & Crandall, B. W. (1988). Time pressure, skill, and move quality in chess. The American Journal of Psychology, 481-493. -

Hogarth, R. M., Lejarraga, T., & Soyer, E. (2015). The two settings of kind and wicked learning environments. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(5), 379-385. -

Ægisdóttir, S., White, M. J., Spengler, P. M., Maugherman, A. S., Anderson, L. A., Cook, R. S., ... & Rush, J. D. (2006). The meta-analysis of clinical judgment project: Fifty-six years of accumulated research on clinical versus statistical prediction. The Counseling Psychologist, 34(3), 341-382. -

Ericsson, K. A. (2015). Acquisition and maintenance of medical expertise: a perspective from the expert-performance approach with deliberate practice. Academic Medicine, 90(11), 1471-1486. -

Goldberg, S. B., Rousmaniere, T., Miller, S. D., Whipple, J., Nielsen, S. L., Hoyt, W. T., & Wampold, B. E. (2016). Do psychotherapists improve with time and experience? A longitudinal analysis of outcomes in a clinical setting. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(1), 1. -

Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363. -

Egan, D. E., & Schwartz, B. J. (1979). Chunking in recall of symbolic drawings. Memory & Cognition, 7(2), 149-158. -

Tetlock, P. E. (2017). Expert political judgment. In Expert Political Judgment. Princeton University Press. -

Melton, R. S. (1952). A comparison of clinical and actuarial methods of prediction with an assessment of the relative accuracy of different clinicians. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Minnesota.

Meehl, E. P. (1954). Clinical versus Statistical Prediction: A Theoretical Analysis and a Review of the Evidence. University of Minnesota Press. -

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. -

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Written by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Ivy Tello and Fabio Albertelli
Filmed by Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound ( )
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang


  • The pattern recognition became very clear to me when I learned Morse code. The human brain takes 50 milliseconds to process and understand a sound. People regularly send and receive Morse code at 30 words per minute, which puts the dit character and the gap between all characters at 40 milliseconds. So you literally have to process sounds faster than the brain can recognize them. Over time you start to hear whole words in the code rather than individual letters, but you still have to decode call signs character by character. You basically cache the sounds in your brain without processing them, and once the whole set of characters passes, your brain is able to turn it into an idea and add it to the stack of previous ideas while your ears are already caching the next set of characters.

  • 5:00

  • "Don't get comfortable" is a lesson I'd like to drive home by this statistic: some 70-90% of accidental finger amputations happen at 2 ages, 16 and 60. All the time in between those ages is marked by remarkably safe individuals who go their entire career without a single incident. Before and after those ages is when nearly every finger is removed via

  • 16:30

  • Interesting to think about this in the context of my own field: Computer Science. Especially when writing code, it does illuminate some things for me. I work with a lot of scientist from other fields who mostly write software as a tool for expressing ideas from their respective fields. Most of them have had little to no formal training in writing code before starting to work. What I notice is that these people fairly easy learn how to avoid bugs and write code that executes, but are terrible at preventing structural issues (e.g. does this software scale easily or how easy is it to add new functionality in the future). The timely feedback issue seems crititcal here. When trying to write code that executes, the feedback is almost immediate: The software returns an error on running or it doesn't. The structural problems however aren't evaluated by any immediate system or even at all (especially for people who's main area of expertise is actually not software).

  • I think without love and obsession for what you do, those steps can feel unbearable. If you love what you do deeply and are obsessed with it... being uncomfortable is not even that bad. It's like Kobe Bryant tearing his achilles, shooting free throws and walking off the court.. He said that when the game is the most important, you don't even feel the pain. I'm sure he's been in pain and uncomfortable a whole lot in his career but he LOVED the game of basketball too much to even care about the discomfort. He was obsessed.

  • I recently had a MASSIVE argument with my university because they repeatedly did not provide any feedback to essays or exams. Just a mark and that's it. I backed my perspective with a ton of academic works on education, that I doubt any of them ever read.

  • As a software developer, I really feel that I get better at solving problems using my intuition, and all the 4 concepts you listed in this video matches my experience perfectly.

  • The beginning section of this where you cover the chess players and discuss chunking reminds me a lot of what I tell people about typing and typists. Those who can type the fastest, don't think in letters when they type, they think in words there fingers just know where to go. Where as slower typers tend to type based on each letter, and have to work their thought process through each letter, then the corresponding key on the keyboard. Just figured I'd drop another analogy or method of describing it for others.

  • The preselection example reminds me of something I went through in high school, our education system is divided in 4 steps (there is more but the rest is irrelevant here)

  • “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”

  • I studied and played chess for almost 7 years. Also, I already knew what chunking is. It was in our lesson in Cognitive Psychology. But I didn't realized that the reason behind chess players' memory and rapid evaluation were because of chunking. That experiment was really enlightening. Btw, the first position in the experiment was not really that hard since it is pretty common position. But the second one was like, man, I couldn't understand what was happening. It takes time to evaluate it.

  • The Four Things are:

  • Expertise has its limitations because they have a very specific perspective built over time- good at doing one and only one thing - physicists, doctors, musician, etc. It is very hard to come out of this single perspective of looking at things. This is another reason why it is necessary to keep challenging oneself to learn new things preferably in a very different domain.

  • I love this video, the part that hit home for me was when you talked about the idea doing things that are uncomfortable to really cross that threshold of becoming an expert. As a dancer, this resonates, because everything we do feels awkward, strange and even uncomfortable until you get used to it over time. I'm curious what the the threshold is for what i call "productive discomfort". Like you, I also play guitar and mostly the same stuff I've played since high school because it is comfortable. Personally, I like to allocate my discomfort to the activities where I really want to push myself, but I'm curious if there is any science to this idea of "allocating discomfort" that ive made up for myself. Would love a future video exploring that topic. Excellent video tho, I plan to show it to all of my students!

  • I really love the way you compare and contrast the nature of professions from various fields, it's extremely helpful!

  • I feel really rewarded by all the amazing content of this channel! You make a great service spreading knowledge, very much obliged. ❤️

  • Hi Derek, I am a cognitive psychologist and the final PhD student of K. Anders Ericsson (originator of the deliberate practice research). First of all, I wanted to commend you on providing an excellent, accessible summary of a complex and oft-misrepresented literature! I have given a number of talks on this exact topic and I can definitely learn a thing or two from your presentation style. Second, if anyone is interested in learning more about deliberate practice, expertise, and the myths surrounding them, I encourage you to check out an academic paper I published with a colleague in the online Journal of Expertise (Harwell, K. & Southwick, D. 2021. Beyond 10,000 hours: Addressing misconceptions of the expert performance approach. Journal of Expertise, 4(2) [link omitted, since I don't know if I can post it in ID-tv comments]). Also, check out the whole issue, which is dedicated to the legacy of Ericsson's work across several fields of psychology.

  • This was one of your best videos! Thank you for taking the time to learn about this topic and sharing it with us. I always knew about the 10000 hours idea, but lots of people play a sport or a game for their entire lives and never get past a certain level. I guess the old saying practice makes perfect isn't always the case, practice makes permanent is a better way to think of it.

  • This is pretty coincidental to me right now. I’ve been considering how many flight hours I need to be considered an expert helicopter pilot. As of late, many commercial pilots have been coming through training an considered mediocre. Because of this I have been making it a point to be doing more maneuvers that push my skill and get me to recognize more situations “on the fly”.