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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes key findings from the literature on neuroanatomical and functional correlates of expertise, concluding that expertise is related to macroanatomical properties of domain-relevant brain regions and ultrastructural properties of both the gray and the white matter. The consequence of these neural adaptations is a capacity for vastly more efficient performance of domain-specific tasks. In functional terms, this depends on multiple mechanisms that are situated at different levels of neural processing. These mechanisms include automation and alterations in functional connectivity, as well as specializations within memory systems and sensorimotor systems that optimize the processing of information that is relevant for the particular domain of expertise. Finally, the chapter discusses the neural mechanisms of expertise from the perspective of new models that emphasize a multifactorial perspective and take into account both genetic and environmental influences on expertise and its acquisition.

Keywords: skill learning, practice, expertise, plasticity, memory, neuroimaging, genetics

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