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Observational Learning And the 10,000 hour rule

Updated: Jan 6

Good Morning Friends of Speakeasy Tattoo Los Angeles!

This is Marléna here with another weekly shop update and a little bit of information about learning! It’s been a relatively quiet week at the shop, though we are gearing up for some Halloween season festivities in the coming weeks. Last week I had my first real consultation, after a few months of practicing consultations with Scott. The consultation went decently, though I’m going to continue practicing as much as I can until I’m totally comfortable. Right now I am at a point where I am trying to refine and pull together everything I’ve learned so far while apprenticing, which leads me into my next subject.

For this week’s topic, I wanted to summarize some interesting information I read recently regarding learning and skill acquisition. Last year MIT conducted research on what is known as observational learning, simply learning through watching others. Human brain scans have suggested that two parts of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA) are active when we learn through observation. The ACC is involved in evaluating social cues, among other functions, while the BLA plays a key role in processing emotions.

Researchers conducted studies in which they recorded the brain activity of mice who watched other mice endure electric shock. Through these studies, they were able to identify the specific neural process responsible for the observational learning. I bring this up, as I have been trying to be very mindful about the way I observe Scott while he is tattooing. My last bit of food for thought has to do with Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of mastery rule. In 2008, author Malcolm Gladwell published his New York Time’s best seller, Outliers. One key concept of his book, was that is takes 10,000 hours to master a given skill. I’ve always wondered about the validity of this idea, so I decided to look a little farther into it. Well folks, the jury is in, and the 10,000 hours of mastery rule does not hold up! Research actually shows that the number of hours varies hugely within elite professions. Some have spent much less than 10,000 hours in learning the skill at which they excel, which others have spent +25,000. Larger contributing factors are the quality and methods of learning, as well as some amount of pre-disposition.

Thats all for this week!

Thanks for reading!


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