Nature or Nurture… the Debate Marches On…

So your kid shows the musical prowess of Daddy, and the early reading ability that Mommy exhibited as a child, but after you argue whose genes she has more of, the inevitable question emerges: Are they born with it or is it learned?

An interesting post on Huffington Post has two sides of the debate,

We must stop referring to the precocious as “geniuses” and see their feats for what they are: early signs that the child may be ready to start the long, arduous path to acquire the expertise required to learn, or even change, existing paradigms.

One thing is for sure: there’s far more possibility we could be getting out of all children than we are even close to realizing. So many children are tuned out, because we aren’t appreciating the path they want. Instead, we give everyone the same preset path to follow and expect them to be naturally motivated to deliberately practice down that path. This goes against everything we currently know about what it takes to succeed.     ~ Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph. D., Cognitive psychologist, NYU; co-founder, The Creativity Post; Chief Science Officer, The Future Project

but,

Summarizing Ericsson’s research in his bestseller Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell described 10,000 hours as the “magic number” of expertise. But recent research shows that some people require much more deliberate practice than others to become experts. The best evidence for this comes from a study of chess players by the cognitive psychologists Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli. Gobet and Campitelli found that some chess players needed literally thousands of hours more deliberate practice than others to reach “master” status, a very high level of expertise. It took one player just 3,000 hours, but another over 20,000 hours. There is no magic number of expertise.

…What does all of this say about whether experts are born are made? The answer is “both.” Experts are born because people come into the world differing in ways that turn out to matter for real-world achievement. But experts are made because there is no getting around the necessity of a long period of practice and training for reaching a high level of performance. This is my take. Take it for what it’s worth. ~David Z. Hambrick Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Michigan State University

so read on...

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