He used a longitudinal design—meaning he studied his subjects repeatedly over time—which was novel then, and the project eventually became the longest-running longitudinal study in the world.Terman himself had been a gifted child, and his interest in the study of genius derived from personal experience.In his first review, he identified individuals whose entries were three pages or longer.
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In his 1869 book, Hereditary Genius, Galton used careful documentation—including detailed family trees showing the more than 20 eminent musicians among the Bachs, the three eminent writers among the Brontës, and so on—to demonstrate that genius appears to have a strong genetic component.
He was also the first to explore in depth the relative contributions of nature and nurture to the development of genius.
In his 1891 book, The Man of Genius, Cesare Lombroso, an Italian physician, provided a gossipy and expansive account of traits associated with genius—left-handedness, celibacy, stammering, precocity, and, of course, neurosis and psychosis—and he linked them to many creative individuals, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sir Isaac Newton, Arthur Schopenhauer, Jonathan Swift, Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, Charles Baudelaire, and Robert Schumann.
Lombroso speculated on various causes of lunacy and genius, ranging from heredity to urbanization to climate to the phases of the moon.
A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness.
of the connection between genius and insanity were largely anecdotal.The recruitment process was intensive: students were first nominated by teachers, then given group tests, and finally subjected to individual Stanford-Binet tests.After various enrichments—adding some of the subjects’ siblings, for example—the final sample consisted of 856 boys and 672 girls.A more empirical approach can be found in the early-20th-century work of Lewis M.Terman, a Stanford psychologist whose multivolume Genetic Studies of Genius is one of the most legendary studies in American psychology.(Within six months of starting school, at age 5, Terman was advanced to third grade—which was not seen at the time as a good thing; the prevailing belief was that precocity was abnormal and would produce problems in adulthood.) Terman also hoped to improve the measurement of “genius” and test Lombroso’s suggestion that it was associated with degeneracy.