Gifted Adult Development: Unrecognized or Eminent

Emily DickinsonEmily Dickenson

In her article Unrecognized Giftedness: The Frustrating Case of the Gifted Adult, Marylou Kelly Streznewski (author of the book Gifted Grownups) writes of Emily Dickinson: “Her story is well known: the seven poems published in a minor magazine as a favor by a friend; the fifteen hundred brilliant compositions tied in ribboned packets, filling the drawers in her house at her death. No eminence there.

“But surely Dickinson was, in her nature, a gifted person unrecognized in her lifetime. Now that Dickinson and Whitman are acknowledged to be the two major innovators in the creation of American poetry, her eminence is undeniable.”

Intelligence is not enough

Professor Dean Keith Simonton, PhD notes in his article On creativity and intelligence that intelligence “is a necessary but not sufficient basis for achieving eminence.

“But there are so many other factors that operate that the amount of variance explained just by intelligence alone is relatively small, usually somewhere around 4 to 5 percent at most, and then everything else – the 95 percent or more – is due to other factors such as personality and other kinds of developmental experiences.”

Too smart to be president?

With respect to political leaders, he published an article years ago which, he says, “showed that you can be too intelligent to be successful in certain fields.

“You find this interesting thing, for example, for presidents of the United States, that even though I show that great presidents tend to be more intelligent than not-so-great presidents, it’s much harder to get elected president if you are very intelligent. So we end up electing presidents who are not as intelligent.”


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Originally posted 2008-09-27 17:51:10.

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