Are geniuses withdrawn by nature

CREATIVITY RESEARCH : What distinguishes brilliant personalities

In the past few decades psychologists have discovered a lot about creative personalities. Here are some of the empirical findings:

Although there is a prejudice that harmonious family relationships in particular promote the child's creativity, the biographies of creative geniuses tend to point to the opposite: An analysis revealed that more than a quarter of them had already lost a parent before the age of ten.

On the one hand, there is some truth in the cliché of the hypersensitive genius: For example, creative people literally work up a sweat more when they hear shock stimuli such as sudden loud noises. They get used to such stimuli less and are less able to “filter out” disturbing background noises - similar to schizophrenic patients. Unlike schizophrenic patients who are overwhelmed by the overstimulation, the creative somehow manage to cope with the onslaught of information, and even use it. There is also evidence that relatives of schizophrenic people are often above average, especially in math.

On the other hand, it is striking that especially creative personalities - on average - tend to be socially withdrawn and therefore appear arrogant, even cold, to their fellow men. The US creativity researcher Gregory Feist sums up the typical personality traits of highly creative people as follows: "They are open to new experiences, less conventional than others, less conscientious, more self-confident, driven, ambitious, dominant, hostile and impulsive."

Depending on the field of activity, however, the typical personality traits are different: Artists, for example, tend to be emotionally unstable, less social and conform to groups. Scientists are more conscientious.

A high level of intelligence is not necessarily the same as a high level of creativity. As a rule of thumb: From an IQ of 120, intelligence apparently hardly plays a role (in other words: every IQ point above 120 statistically does not bring any extra creativity).

Giftedness in childhood rarely predicts maximum creative performance in adulthood. bas

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