CREATE (Centre for Research in Expertise Acquisition, Training and Excellence)


CREATE is a research hub drawing together the different strands of expertise and performance research currently undertaken at the University of Buckingham (both in-house, and in collaboration with partners in the UK and world-wide). Our research covers a wide range of domains, and relates to all aspects of performance, ability and skill acquisition, whether by experts or non-experts. We are actively exploring both the general processes of skill acquisition and creativity, and the individual differences which may underpin performance.

In addition to our research interests, CREATE staff members have written and delivered an innovative undergraduate module designed to enthuse, inform and train a new generation of psychology students in this exciting area. This module (which is also open to all CREATE members) has allowed staff members, postgraduates and undergraduates alike to gain a greater in-depth understanding of the methodological and conceptual issues involved, and to share insights, skills and knowledge.

Current areas of interest

Music Psychology: We have extensive research interests concerning the effects of expertise on music behaviours. These include: the factors affecting sung text intelligibility; strategies and educational practices of sight-singing and sight-reading music; mental rehearsal and score analysis in preparing for musical performance; musicians’ and non-musicians’ abilities to remember speeds and keep time. We have published widely in this area, in collaboration with a number of external colleagues in the field, and have a number of publications ‘in press’.

Creativity: We are interested in exploring the contribution which creativity makes to expertise in a number of cognitive performance domains. We also have particular research interests in the ‘Aha!’ moment of insight; and in the creative motivational drives which foster a highly-focused and intense activity in particular niche expertise domains.

Expertise Development: We have a long-standing interest in the cognitive processes involved in solving cryptic crosswords and in the characteristics of expert and non-expert cryptic crossword solvers. Our ground-breaking research in this area has been extensive, employing all key research methodologies in the expertise field, and has led to exciting findings which challenge many recent claims about expertise development. We have presented at a number of conferences worldwide, and our research has high ‘human interest’ appeal for the UK press (and in many Commonwealth countries). We are currently preparing a number of articles for publication in this area.

Other Puzzle Solving: We have already conducted research into the effects of secondary tasks on Sudoku completion, and the use of word search as a cognitive task in a variety of studies, including those on time perception. Longer-term we plan to expand our research on Sudoku, puzzles and board games in line with our research on crossword-solving.

Time Perception: We have a particular interest in the factors that affect time estimation abilities. We have already conducted a number of studies in this area, and are in the process of exploring whether individual differences exist in time perception, with a view to identifying ‘timing experts’, in collaboration with external colleagues.

We very much welcome interest from postgraduates interested in pursuing research with us, in what is an exciting and emerging area of psychological study. Please do get in touch with us if you want to discuss this further.

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