Dean Keith Simonton

in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734689
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology


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Scientific research on genius began in the early 19th century and increased in popularity throughout the end of the century and the beginning of the 20th century. Although the first investigations used mainly historiometric methods, later psychologists introduced psychometric and experimental techniques. Definitions of genius fall into two categories: superlative intellect and phenomenal achievement, where the latter can be subdivided into extraordinary creativity, exceptional leadership, and prodigious performance. However defined, genius has been studied from four main psychological perspectives: general intelligence, domain expertise, heuristic search, and blind variation. Each of these perspectives has distinct advantages and disadvantages as explanatory accounts. As a consequence, a comprehensive understanding of how geniuses think and reason will require an integration of all four perspectives. The chapter closes with a discussion of future directions for research.

Keywords: genius; intelligence; iq; creativity; leadership; prodigies

Article.  13545 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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