Thursday, July 19, 2012

Key Ingredient for Success

Research has shown that practice is a necessary ingredient for success - but its not always sufficient.

In one study, 57 pianists - who had practiced from 260 to 31,000+ hours - had their working memory capacity (WMC) tested. WMC allows an individual to simultaneously juggle several thoughts. For example, "you arrive home and your neighbor greets you by your car in order to schedule a lunch date, on your way to add it to your calendar, you stop to turn on the lights, add bread to your grocery list, and feed the dog. WMC enables you to retain the lunch information through those unrelated task."

In the study, WMC was used to assess sight-reading skill and the ability to play without preparation. Higher WMC participants tended to outperform others - including those with extensive experience of the task.

How to increase WMC? Expressive writing (especially negative writing), Dual N-Back Training, reading, chess, various foods, and exercise.

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