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The Wiley Handbook of Genius

Dean Keith Simonton

ISBN: 978-1-118-36740-7 June 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 680 Pages


With contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of expert contributors, this is the first handbook to discuss all aspects of genius, a topic that endlessly provokes and fascinates.


  • The first handbook to discuss all aspects of genius with contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of experts
  • Covers the origins, characteristics, careers, and consequences of genius with a focus on cognitive science, individual differences, life-span development, and social context
  • Explores individual genius, creators, leaders, and performers as diverse as Queen Elizabeth I, Simón Bolívar, Mohandas Gandhi, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leo Tolstoy, John William Coltrane, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Martha Graham.
  • Utilizes a variety of approaches—from genetics, neuroscience, and longitudinal studies to psychometric tests, interviews, and case studies—to provide a comprehensive treatment of the subject


List of Contributors ix

Preface xvii

Part I Perspectives 1

1 The Genius in History: Historiographic Explorations 3
Laura C. Ball

2 The Psychobiography of Genius 20
William Todd Schultz

3 Interviewing Highly Eminent Creators 33
Jeanne Nakamura and Jeff Fajans

4 Psychometric Studies of Scientific Talent and Eminence 62
Gregory J. Feist

5 Historiometric Studies of Genius 87
Dean Keith Simonton

Part II Processes 107

6 The Neuroscience of Creative Genius 109
Nancy C. Andreasen and Kanchna Ramchandran

7 Artistic Genius and Creative Cognition 120
Paul Thagard

8 Case Studies of Genius: Ordinary Thinking, Extraordinary Outcomes 139
Robert W. Weisberg

9 Virtual Genius 166
David Cope

Part III Attributes 183

10 Varieties of Genius 185
Robert J. Sternberg and Stacey L. Bridges

11 Cognitive Disinhibition, Creativity, and Psychopathology 198
Shelley H. Carson

12 Openness to Experience 222
Robert R. McCrae and David M. Greenberg

13 Political and Military Geniuses: Psychological Profiles and Responses to Stress 244
Peter Suedfeld

Part IV Origins 267

14 Genetics of Intellectual and Personality Traits Associated with Creative Genius: Could Geniuses Be Cosmobian Dragon Kings? 269
Wendy Johnson and Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr.

15 Child Prodigies and Adult Genius: A Weak Link 297
Ellen Winner

16 Creative Genius: A View from the Expert-Performance Approach 321
K. Anders Ericsson

17 Cognitive Processes and Development of Chess Genius: An Integrative Approach 350
Guillermo Campitelli, Fernand Gobet, and Merim Bilali´c

18 Diversifying Experiences in the Development of Genius and their Impact on Creative Cognition 375
Rodica Ioana Damian and Dean Keith Simonton

Part V Trajectories 395

19 The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Maturity: Insights into Elements of Genius 397
Harrison J. Kell and David Lubinski

20 Age and Scientific Genius 422
Benjamin F. Jones, E.J. Reedy, and Bruce A. Weinberg

21 Musical Creativity over the Lifespan 451
Aaron Kozbelt

22 Literary Geniuses: Their Life, Work, and Death 473
Alexander S. McKay and James C. Kaufman

23 Lifetime Biopsychosocial Trajectories of the Terman Gifted Children: Health, Well-Being, and Longevity 488
Katherine A. Duggan and Howard S. Friedman

Part VI Contexts 509

24 Evaluating Excellence in the Arts 511
Victor Ginsburgh and Sheila Weyers

25 The Systems Model of Creativity and Its Applications 533
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

26 Openness to Scientific Innovation 546
Frank J. Sulloway

27 Prominent Modern Artists: Determinants of Creativity 564
Christiane Hellmanzik

28 Genius in World Civilization 586
Charles Murray

Part VII Prospects 609

29 Does Genius Science Have a Future History? 611
Dean Keith Simonton

Appendix 619

Index 629

Color plate section is between pages 170 and 171

“A short review cannot do justice to all of these diverse contributions, which reflect the full range of approaches on Gordon Allport’s idiographic to nomothetic dimension, entail varying degrees of mathematical and statistical analysis, offer differing views on the nature-nurture question, and concern themselves with innumerable varieties of genius and its components.  Few readers (apart from reviewers) are likely to devour this book from cover to cover, but it is safe to say that almost everyone will find something within it to capture their attention, to agree with or to question, and above all to ponder with interest.”  (PsycCRITIQUES, 27 April 2015)