Practice matters less than individual differences in skill or performance, says a study by researchers at Princeton University.
The researchers studied the effect of practice on the performance of 88 people across sports, professions, and education.
Overall, they found practice accounted for only 12 percent of the differences in performance. When measured precisely, the effect of practice on performance was even weaker.
“There is no doubt that deliberate practice is important, from both a statistical and a theoretical perspective. It is just less important than has been argued,” said Brooke Macnamara, one of the researchers.
“For scientists, the important question now is, what else matters?”
Other factors such as age and cognitive abilities like working memory may also play an influential role in affecting how one performs.
The study appeared in the journal Psychological Science.