A very interesting study which backs up a lot of the ideas presented in BOUNCE and BLACK BOX THINKING about how to master any task using deliberate practice, learning from failure and feedback.
Research in other domains, mostly by Ericsson and colleagues, has shown that the main determinant of success in expert performers is not the amount of time spent practising, but the amount of time devoted to activities specifically targeted at aspects of performance that need improvement. After initial mastery of basic skills, some types of practice, the proficient execution of routine tasks for example, are unlikely to lead to further improvement. In other words, repetition in itself is not enough. This highly targeted type of learning has been given the term DELIBERATE PRACTICE.
I learnt a lot when reading the excellent book about tooth whitening techniques by Linda Greenwall (more info here: http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/book-review-tooth-whitening-techniques). One particular section that caught my attention was regarding the effect of whitening materials, like carbemide peroxide, on the structure of the tooth and common dental materials. Generally the evidence seems to suggest that there is no clear negative effect caused by whitening except for possibly in relation to amalgam. I know that material science is always improving but it was my understanding from what we were taught that once the amalgam was set it didn’t release mercury. So it is very interesting to hear that in some circumstances that isn’t true. Is the amount significant? That is hard to tell. Clearly needs more investigation.
Front cover of the BMJ relates to a recently published randomised control trial showing that Tai Chi can be hugely beneficial for people suffering from fibromyalgia.
Not at all surprising to me and great to see it backed up by a well designed scientific study.
A recent book, The Runaway Species (http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/book-review-the-runaway-species), sparked an interest In creative thinking. Here is a nice little article discussing how just going for a walk can be scientifically demonstrated to increase creative thinking.
If you have a sedentary job make time to walk for at least 60 seconds every hour. This will not only help prevent general health issues but will boost mental function.
And if you are struggling to find a creative solution to a tough problem then take a 10 minute walk outside and then come back to the problem.
Dr Chris Harper