The Science of Greatness, Talent, and Giftedness

David Schenk, the author of The Immortal Game (see my review), has launched a blog called The Genius in All of Us based around a new book he’s writing on "How science is unveiling a rich new understanding of talent, "giftedness," and brilliance — and the lessons we can all apply to our own lives."

If his early posts are any indication, this will be a fascinating and stimulating blog to read.

His post on the Narrowness of Greatness notes that although chess can enhance concentration, patience, and perseverance, sharpen evaluation skills, enhance "process feedback," and improve "calibration" (a person’s self-perception of his or her own ability) when researchers look closely at what makes truly great chess players great, they don’t find a similar carry-over into other tasks.

His post on Gifted and Talented School Programs notes that although IQ predicts one’s ability at symbolic logic and overall life success,

I.Q. does not identify most "talents" or special abilities — and absolutely does not enable us to predict who will grow up to become extraordinary scientists, musicians, teachers, leaders, or athletes. It predicts general success, but not greatness.

Schenk is also engaging in lively debate in the comments to these posts. If you’re interested in cog science, talent, IQ, or simply what makes some people great and not simply good, I recommend following this blog.

(Hat tip to Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics)

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