K. Anders Ericsson

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K. Anders Ericsson (23 October 1947[1] – 17 June 2020)[2] 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 (e.g., high concentration practice beyond one's comfort zone) as a means of how expert performers acquire their superior performance. Critically, Ericsson's program of research served as a direct complement to other research[3][4] that addresses cognitive ability, personality, interests, and other factors that help researchers understand and predict deliberate practice and expert performance.


Ericsson received a PhD in 1976 from Stockholm University.[5]

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 a 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.[6] He was also Fellow of the American Psychological Association.


  • Anders Ericsson, K; Krampe, Ralf Th; Tesch-Romer, Clemens (1993). "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance". Psychological Review. 100 (3): 363–406. doi:10.1037/0033-295x.100.3.363.
  • Ericsson, Anders K.; Prietula, Michael J.; Cokely, Edward T. (2007). "The Making of an Expert". Harvard Business Review. 85 (July–August 2007): 114–21, 193. PMID 17642130.
  • Ericsson, Anders K.; Roring, Roy W.; Nandagopal, Kiruthiga (2007). "Giftedness and evidence for reproducibly superior performance" (PDF). High Ability Studies.
  • Ericsson, Anders K.; Kintsch, W. (1995). "Long-term working memory". Psychological Review. 102 (2): 211–245. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.102.2.211. PMID 7740089.
  • Ericsson, K. Anders (2003). "The Search for General Abilities and Basic Capacities: Theoretical Implications from the Modifiability and Complexity of Mechanisms Mediating Expert Performance". In Sternberg, Robert J.; Grigorenko, Elena L. (eds.). The Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 93–125. ISBN 978-0-521-00776-4.
  • Charness, Neil; Feltovich, Paul J.; Hoffman, Robert R.; Ericsson, K. Anders, eds. (2006). The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521840972.
  • Ericsson, Anders; Pool, Robert (2016). Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0544456235.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Anders Ericsson, Psychologist and 'Expert on Experts,' Dies at 72". The New York Times. 2020-07-01. Retrieved 2021-06-19.
  2. ^ "Psychology Professor Anders Ericsson — the world's top expert on expertise — dies". Florida State University News. 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  3. ^ Ackerman, P. L.; Kanfer, R. (1989). "Motivation and cognitive abilities: An integrative/aptitude-treatment interaction approach to skill acquisition". Journal of Applied Psychology. 74 (4): 657–690. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.74.4.657.
  4. ^ Ackerman, Phillip L. (1996). "A theory of adult intellectual development: Process, personality, interests, and knowledge". Intelligence. 22 (2): 227–257. doi:10.1016/S0160-2896(96)90016-1.
  5. ^ Charness, Neil. "K. Anders Ericsson (1947–2020)". APA PsycNet. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  6. ^ Charness, Neil; Feltovich, Paul J.; Hoffman, Robert R.; Ericsson, K. Anders, eds. (2006). The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521840972.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Outliers: The Story of Success