Meta-analysis of age and skill effects on recalling chess positions and selecting the best move Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Aging
  • Decision Making
  • Mental Recall
  • Task Performance and Analysis


  • A meta-analysis was conducted of studies that measured the effects of both age and skill in chess on the tasks of selecting the best move for chess positions (the best move task) as well as recalling chess game positions (the recall task). Despite a small sample of studies, we demonstrated that there are age and skill effects on both tasks: age being negatively associated with performance on both tasks and skill being positively associated with performance on both tasks. On the best move task, we found that skill was the dominant effect, while on the recall task, skill and age were approximately equally strong effects. We also found that skill was best measured by the best move task. In the case of the best move task, this result is consistent with the argument that it accurately replicates expert performance (Ericsson & Smith, 1991). Results for the recall task argue that this task captures effects related to skill, but also effects likely due to a general aging process. Implications for our understanding of aging in skilled domains are also discussed.

publication date

  • October 2013



  • Review



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3758/s13423-013-0420-5

PubMed ID

  • 23508364

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1017

end page

  • 22


  • 20


  • 5