Comprehensive Exam Reading List: Skill Acquisition & Expertise


Current Committee Members

            D. Zach Hambrick (chair), Kimberly Fenn, Thomas Carr



The following list consists of journal outlets where high-quality papers on skill acquisition and expertise tend to appear.  If you are interested in the topic you may want to monitor these outlets for current findings in this area.


·         Applied Cognitive Psychology

·         Cognition

·         Cognitive Psychology

·         JEP: Applied

·         JEP: General

·         JEP: Human Performance and Perception

·         JEP: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

·         Learning and Memory

·         Memory & Cognition

·         Psychological Science


Theories of Skill Acquisition


Automaticity-Based Theories

1.       Bryan, W. L., & Harter, N (1897). Studies in the physiology and psychology of the telegraphic language. Psychological Review, 4, 27-53.[PDF]

2.      Fitts, P. M., & Posner, M. I. (1967). Human performance. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. (Chapters 1-3).

3.      Anderson, J. R. (1982). Acquisition of cognitive skill. Psychological Review, 89, 369-406.[PDF]

4.      Schneider, W., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing: 2. Perceptual learning, automatic attending, and a general theory. Psychological Review, 84, 127-190.[PDF]

5.      Logan, G. (2002). An instance theory of attention and memory. Psychological Review, 109, 376-400.[PDF]


Knowledge-Based Theories

6.      Crossman, E. R. F. W. (1959). A theory of the acquisition of speed skill. Ergonomics, 2, 153-166.[PDF]

7.      Gibson, E. (1963). Perceptual learning. Annual Review of Psychology, 14, 29-56.  [PDF]

8.      Chase, W., & Simon, H. (1973). Perception in chess. Cognitive Psychology, 4, 55-81. [PDF]

9.      Ericsson, K. A., & Kintsch, W. (1995). Long-term working memory. Psychological Review, 102, 211-245.[PDF]

10.  Gobet, F. (1998). Expert memory: A comparison of four theories. Cognition , 66, 115-152.[PDF]


            Psychometric Theories

11.  Fleishman, E. A. (1972). On the relation between abilities, learning, and human performance. American Psychologist, 27, 1017-1032.[PDF]

12.  Ackerman, P. L. (1988). Determinants of individual differences during skill acquisition: Cognitive abilities and information processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 117, 288-318.[PDF]


Training and Practice


13.  Newell, A., & Rosenbloom, P. S. (1981). Mechanisms of skill acquisition and the power law of practice. In J. R. Anderson (Ed.), Cognitive skills and their acquisition (pp. 1-55). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


            Transfer of Training and Knowledge

14.  Singley, M. K., & Anderson, J. R. (1989). The transfer of cognitive skill. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press. (Chapters 1-2)

15.  Koh, K., & Meyer, D. E. (1991). Function learning: Induction of continuous stimulus-response relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 811-836.[PDF]

16.  Gick, M. L., & Holyoak, K. J., (1980). Analogical problem solving. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 306-355. [PDF]

17.  Ford, J. K. (1997). Transfer of training: An updated review and analysis. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 10, 22-41.[PDF]


            Training Working Memory and Attention

18.  Jaeggi, S., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., Perrig, W. (2008). Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 6829-6833. [PDF]

19.  Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.[PDF]

20.  Shipstead, Z., Redick, T. S., & Engle, R. W. (2010). Does working memory training generalize? Psychologica Belgica, 50, 245-276.[PDF]

21.  Klingberg T (2010). Training and plasticity of working memory. Trends in Cognitive Science, 14, 317-324.[PDF]


Skill Consolidation

22.   Fenn, K. M., Nusbaum, H. C., & Margoliash, D. (2003). Consolidation during sleep of perceptual learning of spoken language. Nature, 425, 614–616.[PDF]

23.   Brawn, T. P., Fenn, K. M., Margoliash, D., & Nusbaum, H. C. (2008). Consolidation of sensorimotor learning during sleep. Learning & Memory 15, 815-819.   [PDF]


When Skill Breaks Down


Divided Attention and Multitasking

24.  Norman, D. A., & Bobrow, D. J. (1975). On data-limited and resource-limited processes. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 44-64.[PDF]

25.  Wickens, C. D. (1980). The structure of attentional resources. In R. S. Nickerson (Ed.), Attention and Performance VIII. (pp. 239-257). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

26.  Navon, D. (1984). Resources—a theoretical soupstone? Psychological Review, 91, 216-234.[PDF]

27.  Meyer, D. E., & Keiras, D. E. (1997). A computational theory of executive cognitive processes and multiple-task performance: Part 1. Basic mechanisms. Psychological Review, 104, 3-65.[PDF]

28.  Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Johnston, W. A. (2003). Cell phone induced failures of visual attention during simulated driving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 23-23.[PDF]

29.  Watson, J.M., & Strayer, D.L. (in press). Supertaskers: Profiles in extraordinary multi-tasking ability. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.


Choking Under Pressure

30.  Beilock, S. L., & Carr, T. H. (2005). When high-powered people fail: Working memory and "choking under pressure" in math. Psychological Science, 16, 101-105.[PDF]

31.  Beilock, S. L., & Carr, T. H. (2001). On the fragility of skilled performance: What governs choking under pressure? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 701-725.[PDF]


 Neural Correlates of Skill Acquisition


32.   Petersen, S. E., Mier, H., Fiez, J. A., & Raichle, M. E. (1998). The effects of practice on the functional anatomy of task performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95, 853-860.[PDF]

33.  Olesen, P. J., Westerberg, H., & Klingberg, T. (2004). Increased prefrontal and parietal activity after training of working memory. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 75-79.[PDF]

34.  Maguire, E. A., Gadian, D. G., Johnsrude, I. S., Good, C. D., Ashburner, J., Frackowiak, R. S., Frith, C. D. (2000). Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97, 4398-4403[PDF]

35.  Elbert, T., Pantev, C., Wienbruch, C., Rockstroh, B., & Taub, E. (1995). Increased cortical representation of the fingers of the left hand in string players. Science, 270, 305-307.[PDF]


Expert Performance


Deliberate Practice View

36.   Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. Th., & Tesch-Roemer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100, 363-406.[PDF]

37.  Gobet. F., & Campitelli, G. (2007). The role of domain-specific practice, handedness and starting age in chess. Developmental Psychology, 43, 159-172.[PDF]

38.  Meinz, E. J., & Hambrick, D. Z. (2010). Deliberate practice is necessary but not sufficient to account for individual differences in piano sight-reading: The role of working memory capacity. Psychological Science, 21, 914-919.[PDF]


            Talent View

39.  Howe, M. J., Davidson, J. W., & Sloboda, J. A. (1998). Innate talents: reality or myth? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21, 399-407. (And Comments)[PDF]

40.  Lubinski, D., Benbow, C. P., Webb, R. M., & Bleske-Rechek, A. (2006). Tracking exceptional human capital over two decades. Psychological Science, 17, 194-199.[PDF]

41.  Simonton, D. K. (1999). Talent and its development: An emergenic and epigenetic model. Psychological Review, 106, 435-457.[PDF]


Skill and Aging



42.  Salthouse, T. A. (1984). Effects of age and skill in typing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 13, 345-371.[PDF]

43.  Krampe, R. T., & Ericsson (1996). Maintaining excellence. Deliberate practice and elite performance in younger and older pianists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 331-359.[PDF]

44.  Backman, L., & Dixon, R. A. (1992). Psychological compensation: A theoretical framework. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 259-283.[PDF]

45.  Li, S.-C., Schmiedek, F., Huxhold, O., Röcke, C., Smith, J., & Lindenberger, U. (2008). Working memory plasticity in old age: Practice gain, transfer, and maintenance. Psychology and Aging, 23, 731-742.[PDF]

46.  Hasher, L., Zacks, R. T., & May, C. P. (1999). Inhibitory control, circadian arousal, and age. In D. Gopher & A. Koriat (Eds.), Attention & Performance, XVII, Cognitive Regulation of Performance: Interaction of Theory and Application (pp. 653-675). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.



47.  Gobbo, C., & Chi, M. (1986). How knowledge is structured and used by expert and novice children. Cognitive Development, 1, 221-237.[PDF]

48.   Chi, M. T. H. (1983). Network representation of a child’s dinosaur knowledge. Developmental Psychology, 19, 29-39.[PDF]

49.  Thorell, L. B., Lindqvist, S., Bergman, S., Bohlin, G., & Klingberg, T. (2009). Training and transfer effects of executive functions in preschool children. Developmental Science, 12, 106-113.[PDF]

50.  Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Olesen, P., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., Dahlström, K., Gillberg, C.G., Forssberg, H., Westerberg, H. (2005). Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD – a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 177-186. [PDF]