Scrabble and the Nature of Expertise (2015)

Conrad Bassett-Bouchard, a 24-year old graduate student, stunned the competitive SCRABBLE world last summer by winning the National SCRABBLE Championship and ending Nigel Richards’ reign of four titles. Richards, considered the best SCRABBLE player ever, was dethroned. The game, popular for decades, serves as a model for research on expertise, shedding light on the complex interplay between genetic abilities and acquired skills. Expertise in SCRABBLE requires not only knowledge of words but also cognitive abilities like working memory and visuospatial reasoning. Elite players dedicate thousands of hours to training, demonstrating that while some are born with inherent abilities, practice is crucial for mastering the game.

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