What Makes a Genius?

4/21/2017 - Professor Emeritus of Psychology Dean Simonton in National Geographic.

Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the very laws of the universe. But our understanding of how a mind like his works remains stubbornly earthbound. What set his brainpower, his thought processes, apart from those of his merely brilliant peers? What makes a genius?

Psychologist Dean Keith Simonton, an expert on genius, maintains that the arc of a career depends on two things: your chosen discipline, and how soon you master it. Poets tend to turn ideas into finished works faster than novelists; within a field, geniuses are the quickest studies. “Individual differences are actually so large that they swamp the impact of age,” wrote Simonton. “A first-rate genius at 80 is worth more than a second-rate talent at half that age.”

Read the full story in National Geographic.