Neural Implementations of Expertise
When we think about expertise, we usually consider people who master tasks at a level not reachable by most other people. Although we rarely realise it, however, most humans are experts in many aspects of everyday life. This expertise enables us to find our way through a complex environment that is our life. For instance, we can instantly recognise multiple objects and relations between them to form a meaningful unit, such as an office. Thus, research on expertise is not only important to investigate the cognitive and neural processes within an “elite” group, but it is also a powerful tool to understand how everyone can acquire complex skills. The goal of this Research Topic is to shed further light on the common and distinct neural mechanisms that implement various kinds of expertise. We broadly define expertise as skill in any perceptual, cognitive, social or motor domain, with the common core being optimised information processing due to knowledge acquired from repeated experiences. Thus, we are interested in the full range of mental processes modulated or modified by expertise, from “simple” object or pattern recognition to complex decision making or problem solving in a particular domain. These domains can range from everyday or occupational expertise to sports and rather artificial domains such as board games. In all cases, the aim should be to elucidate how the brain implements these sometimes incredible feats. We are particularly interested in connecting cognitive theories about expertise and expertise-related performance differences with models and data on the neural implementation of expertise. We welcome original research contributions using the full range of behavioural neuroscience methods, as well as theoretical, methodological or historical reviews, and opinion papers focusing on any of the above-mentioned aspects.