Rex Jung on the Link Between Genius and Creativity

What is genius? That’s the question five thinkers, including Rex Jung, respond to in a new series of essays on Slate. Jung studies the neuroscience of creativity, and in his view:

genius does not require extremely high levels of intelligence. It does, however, appear to require unusually high creativity and perseverance. In 1925, Lewis Terman embarked upon an ultimately failed, lifelong, experiment attempting to link high IQ with genius. He studied over 1,500 children with extremely high IQs (>140), and followed them over time to see whether genius would emerge. While many of these children grew up to be successful in science and industry, his search for genius completely missed two Nobel Laureates who did not make the IQ cut: William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, and Luis Alvarez, for his contributions to particle physics. These two did not achieve the stratospheric levels of intellect required to become one of Lewis Terman’s “Termites.” Instead, their abilities to imagine alternate realities, to seek out new challenges, and to overcome conventional thinking clearly set them apart from their more intelligent peers.

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