More about the 10,000 hour rule

29 Aug

Yesterday, I blogged about a paper that cast doubt on extreme claims made for the 10,000 hour rule. Now I discovered this blog post at The Science of Sport that makes a similar argument. Writing about Ericsson’s work, the author noted:

“I have that study, and what is remarkable about it is that Ericsson presents no indication of variance – there are no standard deviations, no maximums, minimums, or ranges.  And so all we really know is that AVERAGE practice time influences performance, not whether the individual differences present might undermine that argument.  Statistically, this is a crucial omission and it may undermine the 10,000 hour conclusion entirely.”

They include this revealing chart:

Screen shot 2011-08-09 at 12.24.05 PM

I am not sure this undermines the role of deliberate practice, but I think it puts the extreme claims made on its behalf into perspective. In general, it always safer to assume that human talent is a consequence of the complicated interaction of genes and the environment, rather that extreme view that it has to be exclusively one or the other.

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