The term genius is peculiar. It can be applied to a diversity of phenomena or confined to just one or two. The tremendous range in usage reflects the fact that genius is both a humanistic concept with a long history and a scientific concept with a much shorter history. The word genius goes way, way back to the time of the ancient Romans. Roman mythology included the idea of a guardian spirit or tutelary deity. This spiritual entity was assigned to a particular person or place. Expressed differently, geniuses exert influence over others. They have an impact on both contemporaries and posterity. The exemplars of intelligence have a feature in common: They are called as exceptional creators. The favored definition is that creativity satisfies few separate requirements. First, to be creative is to be original. In main, genius in the leadership domain of achievement appears to fall into several groups.
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The idea of the mad genius persisted all the way to modern times and was even promulgated in scientific circles. Not only was genius mad, but it was associated with criminality and genetic degeneration. The empirical research relevant to the mad-genius issue uses three major methods: the historiometric, the psychometric and the psychiatric. The historical record is replete with putative exemplars of mad genius. The mental illness adopts a more subtle but still pernicious guise-alcoholism. In fact, it sometimes appears that alcoholism is one of the necessities of literary genius. Psychopathology can be found in other forms of genius besides creative genius. Of the available pathologies, depression seems to be the most frequent, along with its correlates of suicide and alcoholism or drug abuse. Family lineages that have higher than average rates of psychopathology will also feature higher than average rates of genius.
Creativity, like genius, was once viewed as a spiritual phenomenon. In ancient times, to be creative was to be divine. Almost every human culture had its creation myth recounting the miraculous accomplishments of some spiritual power. The immortal Muse provided a guiding spirit or source of inspiration for the mortal creator. As Western civilization became more secular in emphasis, and especially during the enlightenment, the concept of creative genius lost its sacred accoutrements. Francis Galton argued that geniuses are those who possess an exceptional amount of natural ability. That is, geniuses would score in the upper tail of the normal distribution in intelligence, enthusiasm, and perseverance. Galton was the first to inquire about the impact of birth order, an unmistakably environmental variable. This chapter discusses the effect of environmental factors and the effect of genetics. Behavioral genetics is the scientific discipline committed to understanding how genes affect behavior in animals.
This chapter discusses four sub disciplines of psychology: cognitive, developmental, differential, and social. It shows that psychologists need a four-pronged attack on the phenomenon known as genius. The cognitive neurosciences have made major advances using a diversity of techniques, from evoked potentials to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Moreover, such methods have shed some light on many processes connected with genius, such as problem solving and insight. The age-achievement relationship is the oldest topic in the scientific study of genius, the first study having appeared in 1835. For most domains of achievement, the greatest geniuses are distinguished by the longest careers. The empirical data on the age-achievement connection are well established. Undoubtedly the relationship between age and achievement is partly rooted in basic human physiology and neurology. This connection is most obvious in the case of athletic champions.
This chapter concentrates on the nature of intelligence and the nature of domain expertise. It examines three alternative positions on the nature of cognitive ability: unified intellect, diverse intellect and hierarchical intellect. Historiometric studies suggest that historiometric genius correlates at between.25 and.35 with estimates of psychometric genius. Whether intelligence is unified or multiple, all budding geniuses must go through some sort of apprenticeship period in which they acquire the expertise that will enable them to make original and exemplary contributions to their chosen domain of achievement. To understand the difference between algorithms and heuristics, and to appreciate their relevance to an understanding of the nature of genius, the chapter takes a glance at two kinds of computer programs that engage in problem solving of a rather high order: expert systems and discovery programs. In any case, most expert systems operate according to algorithms rather than heuristics.
Geniuses have been around for a very long time. Genuine scientific inquiries into the psychology of genius came much later. The investigators engaged in these inquiries adopted two main approaches: psychometrics and historiometrics. Not only was Francis Galton the first psychometrician to study genius, but he himself was a genius. Psychometric research represents the most common way that research psychologists investigate genius. The principal alternative is a technique known as historiometrics. Frederick Woods also conducted historiometric research of his own. In 1906, he had studied the inheritance of intellectual and moral genius in royal families, and in 1913 he examined the influence of political genius on the welfare of the nations ruled. Lewis M. Terman had also explored a method of calculating intelligence quotient (IQ) scores using historiometric methods. Unlike psychometrics and historiometrics, psychobiography constitutes a single-case qualitative approach.
This chapter discusses five topics: cultural stimulation, interactive relationships, collaborative groups, disciplinary zeitgeist, and sociocultural context. It discusses how the individual and social levels of analysis can be integrated into a unified sociopsychological conception of genius. Individuals were creatures of culture rather than slaves to their genes, and peoples were ethnic groups rather than biological races. When delineating the various contemporary relationships that can augment genius, the author included collaborative interactions. Genius is heavily contingent on the availability of predecessor geniuses who can serve as role models and mentors. This cross-generational influence is then amplified or dampened by other factors, such as political fragmentation, civil disturbances, and political anarchy. Contemporaries and compatriots may display equal magnitudes of genius and yet exhibit that genius in contrasting domains of achievement. The level and type of genius is determined by numerous variables that are inherent in the individual human being.
Delirium, also known as acute confusional state, organic brain syndrome, brain failure, and encephalopathy, is a common occurrence among medical and surgical patients and causes extensive morbidity and mortality. This chapter provides an updated review of delirium, including pathophysiological correlates, clinical features, diagnostic considerations, and contemporary treatment options. The defining features of delirium include an acute change in mental status characterized by altered consciousness, cognition, and fluctuations. The chapter explores the risk factors for delirium. These can be divided into two categories: predisposing factors and precipitating factors. Imbalances in the synthesis, release, and degradation in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate, acetylcholine, and the monoamines have also been hypothesized to have roles in delirium. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) and medications such as benzodiazepines and propofol have known actions at GABA receptors and have been associated with delirium.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) presents one of the most urgent health care issues of our time. AD is a disease of the brain and mind, and as such, neuropsychology has an essential and evolving role to play in addressing this growing public health concern. Measurement of key cognitive functions, such as delayed recall of recently presented information, is crucial in the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease. In addition to the importance of advancing scientifically informed disease-specific measurement of cognition, neuropsychology has a growing role to play in the design and implementation of nonpharmacological interventions for AD. The neuropathological hallmarks of AD are senile plaques (SP), neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), and cell and synapse loss in multiple brain areas. Granulovacuolar degeneration (GVD) has long been recognized to be present in the brains of AD patients.
This chapter describes an overview of the procedures that a neuropsychologist may apply to a range of similar referrals in the area of civil capacities. It explores the presentation of a framework developed by the American Bar Association/American Psychological Association (ABA/APA) working group on capacity issues and provides more specific guidance regarding assessment tools. Decision making is a complex cognitive process that involves multiple brain regions and brain systems. Injuries to the prefrontal cortex are common in dementia and are often linked to changes in decision-making abilities. Key differences between clinical assessments and those for capacity evaluations include knowledge of relevant legal and ethical issues, a functional assessment, and an ability to present neuropsychological data to lay readers. Research on medical consent capacity and financial capacity highlight the importance of the assessment of calculation, executive function, and verbal memory as part of any test battery.