Seminar: Wayne Gray 2022-11-11

As part of the Department of Psychology seminar series, we are proud to host Professor Wayne Gray, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA, as our seminar speaker for November 11th 2022

“From the Fosbury Flop to Tetris and Beyond! What Action Games Tell Us about the Human Acquisition of Expertise in Complex Dynamic Tasks”

Abstract: In 1896 the first modern Olympics featured, among many other events, the Men’s high-jump. The first women’s high-jump was one of five events featured during the Olympics’ first women’s athletics program in 1928. However, neither the men nor the women showed much invention until Fosbury came along in the 1966 Olympics and “flopped”; that is, until Fosbury became the first human to do the high jump “backwards” thereby confounding the judges and winning his event. However, the story I will tell to the Sheffield Psychology Department does not feature the high jump but does feature a deep dive into how the “simple’’ skill of playing Tetris varies greatly from novice to intermediate university students who are skilled at the game. Like the high-jump, new ways of doing things have hit the world of Championship Tetris and in the last several years the criteria for calling something a high-scoring game has jumped from a Tetris level in the twenties to an asymptote 30, paused there for several years, and has now jumped into the 40s. As Tetris pieces take ⅓ of a second to drop from top-to-bottom at level 30, the fact that a small number of humans are taking this game to level 40 and beyond, is astounding.

Wayne’s webpage:

This will be an online seminar (via Google Meet). If you are outside the Psychology Department, please contact Dan Keely to be added to the invite

Time: 3pm UK time (10am New York). Date: 2022-11-11