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See also: "Creativity and mental illness

IQ and genius[edit]

Galton was a pioneer in investigating both eminent human achievement and mental testing. In his book Hereditary Genius, written before the development of IQ testing, he proposed that hereditary influences on eminent achievement are strong, and that eminence is rare in the general population. Lewis Terman chose "'near' genius or genius" as the classification label for the highest classification on his 1916 version of the Stanford-Binet test.[20] By 1926, Terman began publishing about a longitudinal study of California schoolchildren who were referred for IQ testing by their schoolteachers, called "Genetic Studies of Genius, which he conducted for the rest of his life. Catherine M. Cox, a colleague of Terman's, wrote a whole book, The Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses,[1] published as volume 2 of The Genetic Studies of Genius book series, in which she analyzed biographical data about historic geniuses. Although her estimates of childhood IQ scores of historical figures who never took IQ tests have been criticized on methodological grounds,[21][22][23] Cox's study was thorough in finding out what else matters besides IQ in becoming a genius.[24] By the 1937 second revision of the Stanford-Binet test, Terman no longer used the term "genius" as an IQ classification, nor has any subsequent IQ test.[25][26] In 1939, "David Wechsler specifically commented that "we are rather hesitant about calling a person a genius on the basis of a single intelligence test score".[27]

The Terman longitudinal study in California eventually provided historical evidence regarding how genius is related to IQ scores.[28] Many California pupils were recommended for the study by schoolteachers. Two pupils who were tested but rejected for inclusion in the study (because their IQ scores were too low) grew up to be Nobel Prize winners in physics, "William Shockley,[29][30] and "Luis Walter Alvarez.[31][32] Based on the historical findings of the Terman study and on biographical examples such as "Richard Feynman, who had an IQ of 125 and went on to win the Nobel Prize in physics and become widely known as a genius,[33][34] the current view of psychologists and other scholars of genius is that a minimum level of IQ (approximately 125) is necessary for genius but not sufficient, and must be combined with personality characteristics such as drive and persistence, plus the necessary opportunities for talent development.[35][36][37]


"Leonardo da Vinci is widely acknowledged as having been a genius and a "polymath.

Various "philosophers have proposed definitions of what genius is and what that implies in the context of their philosophical theories.

"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, considered a "prodigy and "musical genius

In the philosophy of "David Hume, the way society perceives genius is similar to the way society perceives the ignorant. Hume states that a person with the characteristics of a genius is looked at as a person disconnected from society, as well as a person who works remotely, at a distance, away from the rest of the world.

On the other hand, the mere ignorant is still more despised; nor is any thing deemed a surer sign of an illiberal genius in an age and nation where the sciences flourish, than to be entirely destitute of all relish for those noble entertainments. The most perfect character is supposed to lie between those extremes; retaining an equal ability and taste for books, company, and business; preserving in conversation that discernment and delicacy which arise from polite letters; and in business, that probity and accuracy which are the natural result of a just philosophy.[38]

In the philosophy of "Immanuel Kant, genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person. For Kant, originality was the essential character of genius.[39] This genius is a talent for producing ideas which can be described as non-imitative. Kant's discussion of the characteristics of genius is largely contained within the "Critique of Judgment and was well received by the "Romantics of the early 19th century. In addition, much of Schopenhauer's theory of genius, particularly regarding talent and freedom from constraint, is directly derived from paragraphs of Part I of Kant's "Critique of Judgment.[40]

Genius is a talent for producing something for which no determinate rule can be given, not a predisposition consisting of a skill for something that can be learned by following some rule or other.

— "Immanuel Kant

In the philosophy of "Arthur Schopenhauer, a genius is someone in whom intellect predominates over ""will" much more than within the average person. In "Schopenhauer's aesthetics, this predominance of the intellect over the will allows the genius to create artistic or academic works that are objects of pure, disinterested contemplation, the chief criterion of the aesthetic experience for Schopenhauer. Their remoteness from mundane concerns means that Schopenhauer's geniuses often display "maladaptive traits in more mundane concerns; in Schopenhauer's words, they fall into the mire while gazing at the stars, an allusion to Plato's dialogue "Theætetus, in which Socrates tells of "Thales (the first philosopher) being ridiculed for falling in such circumstances. As he says in Volume 2 of "The World as Will and Representation:

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

— "Arthur Schopenhauer[41]

In the philosophy of "Bertrand Russell, genius entails that an individual possesses "unique qualities and "talents that make the genius especially valuable to the society in which he or she operates, once given the chance to contribute to society. Russell's philosophy further maintains, however, that it is possible for such geniuses to be crushed in their youth and lost forever when the environment around them is unsympathetic to their potential maladaptive traits. Russell rejected the notion he believed was popular during his lifetime that, "genius will out".[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cox, Catherine M. (1926). The Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses. Genetic Studies of Genius Volume 2. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. "ISBN "0-8047-0010-9. "LCCN 25008797. "OCLC 248811346. Lay summary (2 June 2013). 
  2. ^ Robinson, Andrew. "Can We Define Genius?". Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  3. ^ genius. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved May 17, 2008, from website:
  4. ^ Braswell, Sean (25 June 2016). "Late Bloomers Prove the Wait Is Worth It". OZY. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  5. ^ "Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982, 1985 reprinting), entries on genius, p. 759, and gigno, p. 764.
  6. ^ Shaw, Tamsin (2014). "Wonder Boys?". "The New York Review of Books. 61 (15). Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Saint-Lambert, Jean-François de (ascribed). "Genius". The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by John S.D. Glaus Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2007. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. <>. Trans. of "Génie", Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 7. Paris, 1757.
  8. ^ Fancher, Raymond E (1998). Kimble, Gregory A; Wertheimer, Michael, eds. Alfred Binet, General Psychologist. Portraits of Pioneers in Psychology. III. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 67–84. "ISBN "978-1-55798-479-1. 
  9. ^ Galton, Francis (1869). Hereditary Genius. London: MacMillan. Retrieved 4 April 2014. Lay summary (4 April 2014). 
  10. ^ Bernstein, Peter L. (1998). Against the gods. Wiley. p. 160. "ISBN "0-471-12104-5. 
  11. ^ Bernstein (1998), page 163.
  12. ^ Gillham, Nicholas W. (2001). "Sir Francis Galton and the birth of eugenics". Annual Review of Genetics. 35 (1): 83–101. "PMID 11700278. "doi:10.1146/annurev.genet.35.102401.090055. 
  13. ^ Rogers, Carl (1995). On Becoming a Person. Houghton Mifflin. p. 175. "ISBN "0-395-75531-X. 
  14. ^ Van Gogh's Mental and Physical Health
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ John F. Nash Jr. - Biographical
  17. ^ Ernest Hemingway
  18. ^ "Efroimson, V. P. The Genetics of Genius. 2002
  19. ^ Thys 2014, p. 146.
  20. ^ Terman 1916, p. 79
  21. ^ Pintner 1931, pp. 356–357 "From a study of these boyhood records, estimates of the probable I.Q.s of these men in childhood have been made…. It is of course obvious that much error may creep into an experiment of this sort, and the I.Q. assigned to any one individual is merely a rough estimate, depending to some extent upon how much information about his boyhood years has come down to us."
  22. ^ Shurkin 1992, pp. 70–71 "She, of course, was not measuring IQ; she was measuring the length of biographies in a book. Generally, the more information, the higher the IQ. Subjects were dragged down if there was little information about their early lives."
  23. ^ Eysenck 1998, p. 126 "Cox found that the more was known about a person's youthful accomplishments, that is, what he had done before he was engaged in doing the things that made him known as a genius, the higher was his IQ…. So she proceeded to make a statistical correction in each case for lack of knowledge; this bumped up the figure considerably for the geniuses about whom little was in fact known…. I am rather doubtful about the justification for making the correction. To do so assumes that the geniuses about whom least is known were precocious but their previous activities were not recorded. This may be true, but it is also possible to argue that perhaps there was nothing much to record! I feel uneasy about making such assumptions; doing so may be very misleading."
  24. ^ Cox 1926, pp. 215–219, 218 (Chapter XIII: Conclusions) "3. That all equally intelligent children do not as adults achieve equal eminence is in part accounted for by our last conclusion: youths who achieve eminence are characterized not only by high intellectual traits, but also by persistence of motive and effort, confidence in their abilities, and great strength or force of character." (emphasis in original).
  25. ^ Terman & Merrill 1960, p. 18
  26. ^ Kaufman 2009, p. 117 "Terman (1916), as I indicated, used near genius or genius for IQs above 140, but mostly very superior has been the label of choice" (emphasis in original)
  27. ^ Wechsler 1939, p. 45
  28. ^ Eysenck 1998, pp. 127–128
  29. ^ Simonton 1999, p. 4 "When Terman first used the IQ test to select a sample of child geniuses, he unknowingly excluded a special child whose IQ did not make the grade. Yet a few decades later that talent received the Nobel Prize in physics: William Shockley, the cocreator of the transistor. Ironically, not one of the more than 1,500 children who qualified according to his IQ criterion received so high an honor as adults."
  30. ^ Shurkin 2006, p. 13; see also "The Truth About the 'Termites'" (Kaufman, S. B. 2009)
  31. ^ Leslie 2000, "We also know that two children who were tested but didn't make the cut -- William Shockley and Luis Alvarez -- went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. According to Hastorf, none of the Terman kids ever won a Nobel or Pulitzer."
  32. ^ Park, Lubinski & Benbow 2010, "There were two young boys, Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, who were among the many who took Terman’s tests but missed the cutoff score. Despite their exclusion from a study of young 'geniuses,' both went on to study physics, earn PhDs, and win the Nobel prize."
  33. ^ Gleick 2011, p. 32 "Still, his score on the school IQ test was a merely respectable 125."
  34. ^ Robinson 2011, p. 47 "After all, the American physicist Richard Feynman is generally considered an almost archetypal late 20th-century genius, not just in the United States but wherever physics is studied. Yet, Feynman's school-measured IQ, reported by him as 125, was not especially high"
  35. ^ Jensen 1998, p. 577 "Creativity and genius are unrelated to g except that a person's level of g acts as a threshold variable below which socially significant forms of creativity are highly improbable. This g threshold is probably at least one standard deviation above the mean level of g in the general population. Besides the traits that Galton thought necessary for "eminence" (viz., high ability, zeal, and persistence), genius implies outstanding creativity as well. Though such exceptional creativity is conspicuously lacking in the vast majority of people who have a high IQ, it is probably impossible to find any creative geniuses with low IQs. In other words, high ability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the emergence of socially significant creativity. Genius itself should not be confused with merely high IQ, which is what we generally mean by the term 'gifted'" (emphasis in original)
  36. ^ Eysenck 1998, p. 127 "What is obvious is that geniuses have a high degree of intelligence, but not outrageously high—there are many accounts of people in the population with IQs as high who have not achieved anything like the status of genius. Indeed, they may have achieved very little; there are large numbers of Mensa members who are elected on the basis of an IQ test, but whose creative achievements are nil. High achievement seems to be a necessary qualification for high creativity, but it does not seem to be a sufficient one." (emphasis in original)
  37. ^ Cf. Pickover 1998, p. 224 (quoting Syed Jan Abas) "High IQ is not genius. A person with a high IQ may or may not be a genius. A genius may or may not have a high IQ."
  38. ^ Hume, David. "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. — "Of the different Species of Philosophy"". NEW YORK: BARTLEBY.COM, 2001. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  39. ^ Howard Caygill, Kant Dictionary ("ISBN "0-631-17535-0).
  40. ^ Kant, Immanuel (1790). Kritik der Urteilskraft [The Critique of Judgment]. §46–§49.  E.g. §46: "Genius is a talent for producing something for which no determinate rule can be given, not a predisposition consisting of a skill for something that can be learned by following some rule or other." (trans. W.S. Pluhar).
  41. ^ Quoted in Allan, George (2012). "Learning to Reason". Modes of Learning: Whitehead's Metaphysics and the Stages of Education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 98. "ISBN "978-1-4384-4187-0. 
  42. ^ Page 91, The Conquest of Happiness, "ISBN "0-415-37847-8


Further reading[edit]

Sources listed in chronological order of publication within each category.


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