K. Anders Ericsson


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K. Anders Ericsson was a Swedish psychologist and Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University who was internationally recognized as a researcher in the psychological nature of expertise and human performance. Ericsson studied expert performance in domains such as medicine, music, chess, and sports, focusing exclusively on extended deliberate practice as a means of how expert performers acquire superior performance. 

Critically, Ericsson's program of research served as a direct complement to other research that addresses cognitive ability, personality, interests, and other factors that help researchers understand and predict deliberate practice and expert performance. Ericsson received a Ph.D. in 1976 from Stockholm University. With Bill Chase, he developed the Theory of Skilled Memory based on detailed analyses of acquired exceptional memory performance (Chase, W. G., & Ericsson, K. A. (1982). 

Ericsson's research with Herbert A. Simon on verbal reports of thinking is summarized in the book Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data, which was revised in 1993. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation, (Vol. 16). New York: Academic Press). One of his most striking experimental results was training a student to have a digit span of more than 100 digits. With Walter Kintsch, he extended this theory into long-term memory to account for the superior working memory of expert performers and memory experts. (Ericsson & Kintsch 1995)

In the domain of deliberate practice, Ericsson published an edited book with Jacqui Smith, Toward a General Theory of Expertise, in 1991 and edited a book, The Road to Excellence: The Acquisition of Expert Performance in the Arts and Sciences, Sports and Games that appeared in 1996, as well as a collection edited with Janet Starkes Expert Performance in Sports: Recent Advances in Research on Sport Expertise in 2003. 

In 2016 he and Robert Pool published the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Ericsson was the co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, a volume released in 2006. He was also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

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