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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews evidence concerning the contribution of cognitive ability to individual differences in expertise. The review covers research in traditional domains for expertise research such as music, sports, and chess, as well as research from industrial–organizational psychology on job performance. The specific question that we seek to address is whether domain-general measures of cognitive ability (e.g., IQ, working memory capacity, executive functioning, processing speed) predict individual differences in domain-relevant performance, especially beyond beginning levels of skill. Evidence from the expertise literature relevant to this question is difficult to interpret, due to small sample sizes, restriction of range, and other methodological limitations. By contrast, there is a wealth of consistent evidence that cognitive ability is a practically important and statistically significant predictor of job performance, even after extensive job experience. The chapter discusses ways that cognitive ability measures might be used in efforts to accelerate the acquisition of expertise.

Keywords: expertise, skill acquisition, job performance, cognitive ability, intelligence

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