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Education News

How Do You Spot a Genius? 385

Posted by Soulskill
from the look-for-the-striped-crest dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ingrid Wickelgren reports in Scientific American that people have long-equated genius with intelligence, but it is more aptly characterized by creative productivity which depends on a combination of genetics, opportunity and effort. 'Nobody can be called out for outstanding contributions to a field without a lot of hard work, but progress is faster if you are born with the right skills. Personality also plays a role. If you are very open to new experiences and if you have psychopathic traits (yes, as in those shared by serial killers) such as being aggressive and emotionally tough, you are more likely to be considered a genius.' True creativity and genius depends on an unfiltered view of the world, one that is unconstrained by preconceptions and more open to novelty, writes Wickelgren. 'In particular, a less conceptual and more literal way of thinking, one more typical of people with autism, can open the mind up to seeing details that most people miss.' Our schools devote few resources on nurturing nascent genius, concludes Wickelgren, because they are focused on helping those students most likely to be left behind. 'We need to train teachers to spot giftedness, which may take a variety of forms and often needs to be accompanied by creativity, drive and passion. Offering a greater variety of enrichment activities to children will cause many more hidden talents to surface. And accelerated classes and psychological coaching are essential for nurturing talent as early and vigorously as possible.'"
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How Do You Spot a Genius?

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  • by Deathlok's Bear (695862) on Friday October 19, 2012 @05:56PM (#41710409)

    I look in the mirror.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:04PM (#41710473)
    Take away his pocket protector.
  • Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:06PM (#41710497) Homepage Journal

    His (her?) UID is less than five digits, of course.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:08PM (#41710511) Homepage Journal

      I might beg to differ.

      Or, I might not. That's the way it is, with Genius.

      Please don't ask me to explain it to you. :-)

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        I wonder who is number ONE? Does he exists? Is he a god? Or at least his incarnation? Or, NO, for god sake, what about number ZERO?????
        • I thought Commander Taco was UID #1.
          • Yes, CmdrTaco is 1

            A couple of minutes of fiddling around also reveals:
            2=hemos
            3=drendite
            4=CowboyNeal
            5=samzenpus
            etc...

            As far as uid 0, at least by the method I was using, is "whoever is asking".
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Do you really think there is a high enough rate of genius in the tranny demographic that all you have to do is find one that joined slashdot early?
    • by CBravo (35450)
      The fact that the login+moderation system was needed implies that early users, who might now have low uids, were abusing slashdot. I would not call the abusers smart. QED.
  • are misunderestimated. Just because I can memorize pi to 1000 digits, lift 75 lbs with my weiner and compose French poetry in the bathtub don't mean I should be treated like a freak.

    I'm just a people, too.

  • by ath0mic (519762) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:09PM (#41710517)
    From TFA

    "People attach the label âoegeniusâ to such diverse characters as Leonardo DaVinci, Bobby Fischer and Toni Morrison. The varied achievements of such individuals beg the question: what defines a genius?

    False. It raises the question. We've been over this.

    • by srussia (884021) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:28PM (#41710749)

      "People attach the label Ãoegeniusà to such diverse characters as Leonardo DaVinci, Bobby Fischer and Toni Morrison. The varied achievements of such individuals beg the question: what defines a genius?

      False. It raises the question. We've been over this.

      Blithely assuming that Toni Morrison is generally considered a genius is begging the question.

    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:57PM (#41710977) Homepage

      False. It raises the question. We've been over this.

      This is probably a battle we'll end up losing. If things continue as they are, it will eventually mean "raise the question" - if it doesn't already - simply by dint of popular usage. I won't be using it, but to be honest I'm getting fed up of trying to explain the difference to people who could* care less.

      *joke

  • by Dogbertius (1333565) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:10PM (#41710541)
    The problem with these articles is that they suggest that in order to be a brilliant savant (ie: can do difficult arithmetic mentally without a calculator, or can play chess at an expert level with minimal tutoring), one must be autistic. This is not the case. One may be autistic, and not brilliant, just as well someone could be a brilliant savant, but not be on the autism spectrum. The two cases are effectively statistically independent of each other.

    Another issue is that autistic savants often get much more attention than their typical (ie: non-autistic) counterparts due to being able to carry out an apparently amazing mental feat despite suffering from a crippling set of mental limitations and/or deficiencies. Someone not suffering from such a condition is just generally thought of as very smart, and being an educated savant is not such a crowd pleaser, especially in an age where anti-intellectualism is on the rise. Everybody likes a hero story, but few people are comfortable accepting the notion that there are much smarter people out in the world.

    If parents are lucky enough to have the funding to send their kids to private schools with a Behavioral Interventionist (BI), then the strengths of the child are usually discovered early on, and it can make the kid's life a lot easier. If the parents don't have the cash though, the kid likely won't enjoy that benefit.

    On a side note, one should consider noticing talent amongst the non-autistic population in a school. How does one filter on this criteria when kids are not challenged? I turned out to be a math whiz in school, and was doing calculus by the time I was entering high school. If it weren't for my parents, I would've had to endure 5 years of boredom in high school math, as most of the teachers just came with a hangover, passed the daily readings out, and sat at their desks playing minesweeper. Thanks to my parents, I was allowed to fly ahead in math, and use my spare time for more shop and science courses. If the teachers don't care in the first place, the odds of them helping out their brightest students is minimal.

    Background: Been debating this topic with a colleague who has 10 years experience in this field for years over lunch.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:22PM (#41710685)

      That's not what is being said here at all. The claim is that brain development in geniuses shares some similarity to traits found in psychopathy and autism, not that any one of those traits is a superset of any others. These things are all spectra.

      In other words, it is perfectly possible to be a brilliant savant without being autistic, there's just evidence that some portion of that genius has to do with a world view that shares some commonalities, if not as strong a deviation, as autism. You're not constrained needlessly by preconceptions, but are not so incapable of understanding those preconceptions that you can't make use of them to interact normally with other people.

      The accuracy of above statements is another question entirely, but this is not the article you were looking to complain about.

  • Where's Waldo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:10PM (#41710545)

    We need to train teachers to spot giftedness...

    You're a genius kid, now back in line for your standardized test. Or will government officials approve extra resources to cater to the geniuses? If so, how will they handle irate parents of the "unspotted".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've heard numerous variations of this by parents trying to justify why their precious snowflake doesn't do well in school. Usually it is the teacher's fault, and their child is just so much smarter than the other students. BS. If your child is so super intelligent that ordinary schoolwork bores them, they should be smart enough to breeze through the tests. They should just "play the game" while at school and do their own learning at home, or in additional enrichment programs (most are free for low income).

      • by riker1384 (735780) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:49PM (#41710917)

        I've heard numerous variations of this by parents trying to justify why their precious snowflake doesn't do well in school. Usually it is the teacher's fault, and their child is just so much smarter than the other students. BS. If your child is so super intelligent that ordinary schoolwork bores them, they should be smart enough to breeze through the tests. They should just "play the game" while at school and do their own learning at home, or in additional enrichment programs (most are free for low income).

        You aren't allowed to just breeze through the tests. You are also required to do hours and hours of repetitive, mind-numbing homework that is below your level and serves no useful purpose if you're smart enough to just listen to the lecture and then ace the test. If you don't do the busy-work, you receive a failing grade regardless of how well you do on the tests.

        • Well, I did just the amount of homework required to have a passing grade, and compensated it on the exams. (That's for the homework that counted toward my grades, the rest I just ignored and took the respective warnings.)

          But then, I was wrong in doing that. Every great thing you may want to do requires huge amounts of mindblowing boring work, and doing boring work is moething that we learn, it's not inate. I could have learned it by the time I was at school, but passed the chance.

        • by MickLinux (579158) on Saturday October 20, 2012 @08:35AM (#41714023) Journal

          Without that repetitive, mind-numbing homework, you can't just breeze through the tests. One of the huge problems I had with our kid's public school, is that they spent most of the time [literally] training for test-taking, and very little practicing the basic math they were learning. As a result, the teachers were saying that our son was one of their best sutudents, and was just a little slow on the tests, but it's okay because he got good grades, and Algebra (or geometry) should be no problem.

          He couldn't add 8+7 except on his fingers.

          My fix? I said that when he comes home, he is *first* responsible for doing an hour of that repetitive, mind-numbing math addition problems, until he could get the 60 3-digit addition test in 150 seconds (as specified by the book we have).

          Once he got that, then he could go on in the book. He does those repetitive mind-numbing practice problems until he gets the answers perfectly.

          Then he goes on.

          At some point, he's going to speed up, because he has truly mastered the previous topics. Well, he already has.

          He's also then responsible for an hour of active play. After that, comes homework. If he gets it, fine and well. If he doesn't, so be it. But I am just about done with caring about how well he learns nth degree metephysical imaginary-world architecture (or how he does on his 20th autobiographical display board).

          Maybe next time he does the autobiographical display board, he can show two addition problems: one the left, 3+5 =6 (more or less). On the right, 3+5=8. In the middle, can be written " ... lots of pointless mind-numbing drill ... "

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            What seems to be the REAL problem here is that neither you nor the school are actually teaching your child anything. You just seem to be hoping and praying that his poor brain will eventually pick up the pattern.

            Unfortunately, this problem won't go away until the person teaching actually understands the material, not knows it by rote, but actually understands it. I can come up with at least 3 non-standard ways of doing arithmetic, each being slightly easier for different thinking patterns, but that's beca

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:55PM (#41710963)

        I'm an actual genius - 146 IQ. You have no idea what you're talking about.

        If your child is so super intelligent that ordinary schoolwork bores them, they should be smart enough to breeze through the tests. They should just "play the game" while at school and do their own learning at home, or in additional enrichment programs (most are free for low income).

        That works for about 3-4 years. At some point you just stop trying.

        Here's a video on division [youtube.com]. I know you already know how to divide... that's the point. I want you to watch it. It's about 10 minutes long.

        Have you gotten through it yet? Yes? Great. Now go watch it 10 or 15 more times.

        I'm serious. Because that is what it is like trying learn with normal people. I got it the first time it was explained... but the teacher wants to explain it over and over and over and over again so that everyone gets it.

        In 2nd grade I was reading 8-9th grade science books. There were YEARS in elementary school when I did not learn a single thing.

        It kills a persons soul to sit through lectures on things they already know for that long.

        After fighting with teachers to get me into higher level courses, I was finally pulled from school, and was home schooled. I was in 6th grade, and studying junior-level college material.

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        Can you tell me the result of 2+2? Is it 4? Really?
        And again.....
        And again.....
        .............
        How many times you need to repeat it until you become mad?
    • Re:Where's Waldo? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dbc (135354) on Friday October 19, 2012 @08:12PM (#41711517)

      How very true. Schools can't give extra resources for the academically talented, or people complain. Just like you can't selectivly give better coaching to kids that are great at basketball....oh wait, poor example. Just like you can't selectively give special coaching to kids that are good at acting... oh wait poor example. Just like you can't give extra coaching to kids with musical ability.... oh wait, poor example.

      Yes, it's true. The *only* place where it is taboo and will raise parental complaints about special treatment is if you identify academically talented kids and give them what they need to develop their ability. Around here, schools have been browbeaten out of doing anything for the identified gifted. They used to have those programs. But because of complaints and budget cutbacks, two things happend. 1) The "gifted" program is a 1 hour per week pull-out, and 2) anybody that asks to be in it can be in it.

  • But it isn't genius. I don't have those two psychopathic traits, am not emotionally strong not aggressive. I'm not very good at defending myself or my ideas - from my boss, the owner of this machine shop I work in as an engineer (which I have the degree for). He doesn't believe in safety, and I haven't been able to convince him it's important to at least manage the internal liabilities. He just yells and throws tantrums. Like a psychopath (as described in the description).

    I've also always never felt like I

    • Your boss has anger issues. Google "angry people" ir "how do I deal.with anangry person" & read up on the sybject. You'll find tips like 'do not engage' them, etc..., You won't change the guy, but if you understand the hows and whys to angry people, then they win't be able to upset you as much. People can control your emotions only as much as you allow them to. Don't give them that power!

      Not always possible to walk away from an angry boss, it's a difficult work situation. Don't quit your job.u

      • I fit where I sit. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday October 19, 2012 @10:24PM (#41712153) Journal

        People can control your emotions only as much as you allow them to. Don't give them that power!

        Thanks for posting something intelligent. Post after post from self proclaimed geniuses who couldn't work out how to amuse themselves at school were starting to bore me. And yeah, everyone is forced into a situations where they are powerless to one degree or another, working through that takes more than intelligence, it takes 'character'. Newton is recognized as one of the greatest polymaths of all time, but I've read two biographies on the guy and (unlike Eisenstein, Feynman, Sagan,...) his social skills were as sharp as Sheldon's.

        At the end of the day intelligence is contextual, a genius in the lab is very different to a genius in the boxing ring. Muhammad Ali, Voltaire, Sun Tsu, Mozart - all geniuses, the only thing they have in common is they extend their chosen art, rather than just practiced it to the best of their ability. However being a genius in one context often comes at the cost of being a complete moron when the context changes, eg: from a warm basement full of wizz-kid toys to a cold class room full of other children.

        • When people say to me, "He/she made me feel bad", I say to them,"No, you 'allowed' them to make you feel bad.". If you let what someone says to you determine your mood for the rest of the day or longer, then you're letting them rule you and control your emotions. And if that is happening, then you are their fool, and I choose not to be anyone's fool in life.

          When someone tries to use anger as a bully tactic on me, I recognize it right away (practice makes perfect), and I think how glad I am that I'm n

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Better the devil you...

      Wait, is it better? Humans are social animals. You need to take care of yourself by finding an environment that enriches your life in all aspects not just fiscally. Fear is the biggest reason why the world is currently as it is. Don't ever let fear stop you from doing what you know in your heart is the right thing to do.

      I'm not necessarily saying quit your job, but rather ask yourself, what role do I want to play in society? You may find that you'll stay and learn new methods

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I needed some geniuses but couldn't find any that were qualified and I said to myself, "well, gosh, can’t we find some geniuses that are also qualified?" so I contacted some local genius groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ And they brought us whole binders full of genii.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:22PM (#41710677) Homepage

    'If you are very open to new experiences and if you have psychopathic traits (yes, as in those shared by serial killers) such as being aggressive and emotionally tough, you are more likely to be considered a genius.' ... 'Offering a greater variety of enrichment activities to children will cause many more hidden talents to surface. And accelerated classes and psychological coaching are essential for nurturing talent as early and vigorously as possible.'

    We should also have people they trust randomly hit them with no explanation, to nurture that desirable sociopathic trait.

    Now, wait... That doesn't sound right. In fact, it sounds so wrong that there must be some other explanation. How about this:

    Perhaps the answer is not to hold sociopaths up as geniuses just because they succeed in an economic system that can be exploited by sociopaths. Perhaps when Scientific American discusses genius, it should not accept the average idiot's perception but should delve a bit deeper and even explain why sociopathic business success is not a good measure of genius. Perhaps Scientific American should focus on actual geniuses rather than merely people in the top 1% in intelligence, who are also willing to harm society to win.

    Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Scientific American's role is to reflect the average man's perception of genius. Perhaps Scientific American should report on the coach of the next Superbowl winning team, since that is what all the beer-soaked fat-part-of-the-curve folks at the pub seem to shout after the game, "That coach is a genuis!"

    • Who said anything about business? Pure projection on your part. You're thinking about it all the time, so naturally it spills out of your brain without you even thinking about it.

      I note both your condescending, spiteful attitude towards both Scientific American, a respected publication, and average people. Where is your empathy? Have you taken the sociopath test? Let's see, off the cuff in your post I see superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, thr

    • by chihowa (366380)

      This is the second Scientific American article [scientificamerican.com] I've seen today glorifying psychopaths. I wonder what the deal is?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:50PM (#41711355)

        We threatened to kill their families if they didn't.

      • by Zapotek (1032314)
        The deal is simple, emotional detachment/hyper-rationality provides an objective view of things. An objective view allows you to see what's really going on instead of what most people perceive to be going on. And yeah these are psychopathic traits although they can be developed by non-natural-born psychopaths as well, with the right conditioning.

        Also, psychopath != sociopath, so please do quit bitching (not you specifically, although I keep seeing this assumption pop up a lot around here). Just because s
    • Other than Edison, who approached discovery like a factory and employed many people to whack away at the best filament for a lightbulb, I don't know off the top of my head any great geniuses that would fit this description of "sociopath".

      I look at people like Einstein, Feinman, Jobs, Richard Branson, to name a few -- there are so many "genius" people in the arts, creative endeavors, science. It seems to me that Creativity and dreaming are #1. They also are a horny lot and even when they are single-minded, o

      • Sounds like the author describing Genius is more a fan of fascists than humanitarians -- but I doubt one group has a monopoly on Genius.

        I'd bet into the humanitarians having a overwhelming majority of them. But then, the author looks much more like somebody that only knows a psycopath from the TV (or, more likely can't identify one) than a fan of them.

  • Left Behind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:24PM (#41710703) Homepage

    because they are focused on helping those students most likely to be left behind.

    Wrong. Schools focus on the kids roughly within the first standard deviation limits on the normal curve, not because they care but because they are usually a one-size-fits-all solution. People above or below the first standard deviation or so are too different to work well under those circumstances, so they start falling out of the system. Ironic that someone felt the need to link to the No Child Left Behind Act wikipedia entry. That law was an exemplary piece of parent con job, government pork for companies that provide utterly worthless metrics that in no credible way have improved education, and I challenge everyone to refute that in a credible, empirically, and extensively documented fashion. To the contrary, "teaching to the test" has become synonymous with "education" in the US. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but we will pay a steep price for that in the not too distant future.

  • by Grog6 (85859) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:25PM (#41710707)

    ...were treated as a disease to be cured, by any means necessary, by the time I got to 7th grade.

    I could read at 4, and was encouraged well by my parents, who spent a great deal of time defending me to Administrative staff.

    My HS Principal taught me Karate for several years prior; he knew I wasn't a problem, no matter how bad the asshole teachers hated me. :)

    I survived, and managed to do well while my detractors have mostly died off thru poor genes and stupidity.

    Odds are, I designed something, somewhere, in a machine that almost everyone here or their relatives have been in.

    Sorting out the geeks early is a Great Idea, as long as we can keep the other idiots from either exterminating us, or keeping us in concentration camps. (yes, the TSA isn't the Gestapo, but it's a 'like organization'...)

    What times we live in... :)

  • Wrong idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:35PM (#41710799)

    Gifted programmes as they have been developed over the last 30 years are in fact probably the worst thing for someone with exceptional ability.

    Too often gifted education:

    - stigmatizes children in a way that causes a wide disconnect between their self-esteem and self-confidence.
    - encourages kids for being "smart" or "intelligent" which rewards them for something they cannot control, and causes weird neuroses.
    - isolates kids from their peer group based on criteria they don't understand, and prevents them from forming natural relationships with their classmates.
    - presumes that these "gifted" kids can be engineered somehow into whatever the popular ideal of citizenship is. For example, gifted kids are not encouraged to do sports are a part of their enriched education, primarily because of middle-class ideas of "intellectuals."
    - discourages solving problems with discipline and work, which is why you see so many "gifted" drop outs and burnouts.
    - shields "normal" kids from the disruptive exposure to intelligence that they too should understand and adapt to.

    I spent much of my education in these programmes and they are misguided, idealistic, and reinforce the astonishingly stupid idea that intelligence is a kind of secular holiness.

    Should we have streamed classes? Absolutely, but enrichment should be available as an option for kids who are up to it, perhaps with qualified interest, but not the fatuous anointment it has become.

    If you ever resented not being in the gifted class, I can assure you that you dodged a bullet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you ever resented not being in the gifted class, I can assure you that you dodged a bullet.

      I wasn't. Precisely because my parents wanted to avoid this. The bullet that hit me because I was kept amongst the normals was just as bad. Not only did I not fit in, I missed out on many of the opportunities that only get offered to the gifted because I wasn't in the crowd when the goodies got handed out.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Too often gifted education:

      - stigmatizes children in a way that causes a wide disconnect between their self-esteem and self-confidence.

      I think it's more likely the intelligence of the child which stigmatizes them.

      - encourages kids for being "smart" or "intelligent" which rewards them for something they cannot control, and causes weird neuroses.

      Right, we should constantly knock them down, making their intellectual prowess not a thing of pride but just an inborn advantage they should feel vaguely guilty for p

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Being chippy isn't really a sign of intelligence either. I've met a few geniuses and the thing that links them is indeed a kind of benevolent curiosity about others.

        I thought one in particular used to spend time around some really dumb and lost people, and he didn't seem to care how misguided and stupid these people were. It wasn't until years later that it occurred to me that he was at a level so far from the norm that what I saw as such an obvious difference in those people was so marginal from his perspe

    • Re:Wrong idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday October 19, 2012 @10:08PM (#41712075)

      You overlooked the #1 argument in *favor* of gifted class -- for many kids, it's the first time in their lives they get to spend extended amounts of time with "their people". I made my first real friend within a month of getting into the class. I was in middle school. It was literally the first time I'd met anybody who was equally smart, and was into the same things I was. I ultimately became friends with pretty much everyone in the class, and we all *might* have tripped over each other in high school (maybe in math club or later, in the Amiga users' group), but the point is that it meant I could finally have real friends after an utterly friendless elementary school experience, in a large school that nevertheless did an amazing job of keeping kids anonymously away from each other.

      My brother's mother in law is a gifted teacher, and she agrees 100% that a major need for gifted class is to give kids who've always been untouchably-geeky outsiders a safe environment where they can make friends & avoid self-destructing before high school.

    • Re:Wrong idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo AT mac DOT com> on Saturday October 20, 2012 @03:35AM (#41713129) Homepage Journal

      - isolates kids from their peer group based on criteria they don't understand, and prevents them from forming natural relationships with their classmates.

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but as someone who was both inside and outside such classes, this is certainly not true, in significant part because being in an integrated class makes the problem worse.

      Picture a kid in grade 4 (~9 years old) who could generally read, write, and speak at a grade 12 level (~17 years old). Put that kid in a class of children who may or may not even be able to read, write, or speak at a grade 4 level. What do you think is going to happen? Do you think all of those kids are going to socialize well with that kid, no matter how gentle, friendly, or outgoing he was, when they can't communicate ideas at the same level? Or do you think they'll just go with the simple route of ostracizing (and eventually try bullying) that kid?

      I was that kid, and let me tell you -- it didn't work for me at all. In the times when I wasn't in an enriched class (at one point because my parents felt as you did, and worried I would somehow be socially stunted), I was usually ostracized by my classmates because it simply wasn't cool to be with the smart kid, or because I didn't have the same interest in music or fashion that the other kids did. Indeed, during these times I often socialized more with kids in later grades than myself, as the communications gap was much smaller. When I was in enriched classes, I had lots of friends and good relationships with my classmates, even when I didn't always share the same interests with them.

      Putting all the kids in the same class doesn't magically make socialization easy when there are vastly differing levels of communicative ability. Indeed, virtually every class stratifies into groups based on differing levels of communications and interests, and if you're the one ultra-smart kid in a class of regular kids, you'll quickly find yourself in a strata all your own -- and kids can be merciless to other kids in their own strata (and not just due to intelligence -- I saw the same things happen to kids from less frequently represented religious and ethnic backgrounds face the same struggles, which is probably why most of my best friends throughout grade school were the Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu kids in my predominately white grade schools).

      I don't necessarily disagree with everything you said above, but you totally missed the mark on that one.

      Yaz

  • by ubrgeek (679399) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:36PM (#41710801)

    In a 2010 article, Svetlana Holt & Joan Marques wrote the following:

    "Supporting Brown ... assertions about the transition of narcissistic tendencies from business schools to business
    organizations, Pepper (2005) reveals a concerning fact about narcissism in business leaders. While this quality is
    often sought in corporate leaders, because the right dosage of narcissism can lead to optimal innovation, there is often
    only a thin line that distinguishes brilliant thinking narcissists, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and
    Jack Welch, who are also charismatic and visionary, from psychopaths such as Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Koslowski,
    who use their skills in harmful ways that we have all come to witness in recent years. Andrews and Furniss (2009) take
    it a step further and link excessive narcissism in business organizations to psychopathic behavior. They assert that,
    perfectly matching to the description of a psychopath, these business executives are superficially charming, grandiose,
    deceitful, remorseless, void of empathy, irresponsible, impulsive, lacking goals, poor in behavioral controls, and
    antisocial."

    (The doi in case anyone wants to see the whole article is http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0951-5 [doi.org] )

  • Wearing a /. 15th Anniversary T-shirt!
  • by PPH (736903) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:40PM (#41710835)

    We need to train teachers to spot giftedness, which may take a variety of forms and often needs to be accompanied by creativity, drive and passion. Offering a greater variety of enrichment activities to children will cause many more hidden talents to surface.

    Parents of Bubba the jock are going to make damned sure he gets into all the 'gifted' classes. Just so he'll look good getting into a decent university. And perish the thought of putting him into a remedial class because his IQ is on his football jersey. There will be no charter schools to place actual gifted students into. Not if they can send the losers back to the general population. Bubba's parents watch this stuff very carefully.

    So you have an educational system that fails both ends of the curve.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:44PM (#41710867)
    Most have some brain disorders like dyslexia. There's something about the type of brain wiring involved in certain disorders that frees up the problem solving areas of the brain. I think part of the hard work involves overcoming the disorders. Most geniuses are unconventional thinkers. I remember a quote that genius was being about to connect A to C without going through B. It's that out of box thinking that defines true genius. Being able to take an equation with 12 steps and reduce it to 3 or 4.
    • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:46PM (#41711341)

      Most have some brain disorders like dyslexia. There's something about the type of brain wiring involved in certain disorders that frees up the problem solving areas of the brain. I think part of the hard work involves overcoming the disorders. Most geniuses are unconventional thinkers. I remember a quote that genius was being about to connect A to C without going through B. It's that out of box thinking that defines true genius. Being able to take an equation with 12 steps and reduce it to 3 or 4.

      Genius is being able to jump from A to C, then go back in and fill in B.

      Insanity is being able to jump from A to C when B doesn't connect to both of them. A lot of political thought falls into this category.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Perhaps closer, genius is the ability to quickly see a B shaped void between A and C, then find B.

  • This place is overrun by people who qualify for something far, far, from genius.
  • by Genda (560240) <mariet AT got DOT net> on Friday October 19, 2012 @06:49PM (#41710915) Journal

    In 6th grade I was tested for a number of things when I broke the standard tests. The best guess pegged my IQ at around 165-170. By that time I had mastered algebra, had a firm grasp on a couple dozen sciences, and created a number of interesting small inventions (I reinvented the DC motor and came up with a simple rotary engine.)

    The next 3 years of my education inside the LA School District involved watching old movies, repeating the times tables, taking field trips (which in fact I found quite enjoyable) and creative writing. This was an attempt to keep me occupied while my peers caught up, which of course never happened... for obvious reasons it couldn't. However, they pissed away the most important educational period of my life. I could have accelerated and been done with my traditional education by the time I was 13 or 14, and moved on to college perhaps completing that by the time I was 18. Our schools are not designed to teach the bright, and in fact, are often punitive to intelligent and creative young people. In a time when we most need these traits fully empowered and present in our culture, such behavior from our leaders and institutions is criminal. However, it is consistent with the large scale conversion of the American mouth-breathing public into obedient, subservient consumption units in the vast corporate engine that is our culture.

    Perhaps it time for a new revolution. One in what's possible for being human.

    • A brain the size of a planet, and somehow along the way you didn't learn empathy for those you obviously consider below you. Maybe you're not as smart as you think.
    • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:45PM (#41711335) Journal

      My personal experience matches yours up until sixth grade, when I was chosen as part of the Study of Mathematically and Scientifically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins University. They performed a huge battery of tests on us, and offered us accelerated courses in math on weekends (which was great, because you are right, there was nothing that was at all interesting being taught in middle school/high school). I dropped out of high school after 10th grade (all A's) and entered college at 15.

      And got kicked out of college at 18 for being too immature. And going to work for five years, developing some life skills, and going back to college to graduate at the age of 22 maybe a year after my high-school peer group.

      It's tough to know what to do with the outliers. These days with the availability of college courses on the internet; I would suggest that these precocious kids should stay in high school taking courses like creative writing and metal shop; learning about life -- and spend half the day taking online courses. Starting college at a very early age is probably not a good idea; although starting college with a great background is.

  • "The Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, authorized by Education Code (EC) sections 52200-52212 (Outside Source), provides funding for local educational agencies (LEAs) to develop unique education opportunities for high-achieving and underachieving pupils in California public elementary and secondary schools who have been identified as gifted and talented. Special efforts are made to ensure that pupils from economically disadvantaged and varying cultural backgrounds are provided with full particip
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:02PM (#41710997) Homepage

    Look for smart and motivated people who do brilliant and interesting stuff instead. You won't always know who those are at age 9, and who qualifies will change over time as some really bright kids decide to spend their time killing their brain cells while some not-quite-as-bright kids choose to hit the books.

    Slapping the label "genius" on a kid doesn't help them, and arguably stunts their social development. Taking any kid that wants to do something awesome (and reasonably safe) and giving them the help they need to do it helps any kid whether they're a genius or not. If the kid wants to do some science, great! If the kid wants to compete in a chess tournament, great! If the kid wants to play the violin, great! Find a way to make that happen.

  • the ones getting beaten while the teachers laugh at their little cockmonger bullies antics.

  • The current education systems is not only ignoring the genius, but it is even worst: they are chased, bullied, put in prison, declared state enemy, and in the best case scenario they become just another psycho next your door.
  • by EvilSS (557649) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:31PM (#41711221)
    Well duh! They are they guys wearing the blue shirts behind the bar at the Apple store!

    *ducks for cover*
  • Maria Montessori (Score:5, Informative)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:31PM (#41711225) Homepage

    There was a set of circumstances that allowed Maria Montessori to express her genius. She was born smart and put in the effort == yes, she had those two components -- becoming the first female physician in Italy, and having majored in engineering prior to that.

    But then something happened to propel her into the work for which we know her today.

    She became pregnant -- recall this is circa 1900 Italy -- and the father of her child refused to marry her. So she secretly gave up the child to an orphanage and was heartbroken over missing the child as well as the father of the child, and actually more over the latter. It was at this point that she launched herself into the scientific study of children.

    She loved the study of children and appears nurturing of them in photos, yet her writings speak of the children in a cold and scientific manner. Oh, there is a lot of purpose expressed in her writings, a lot of "this is the future of the world," and "this is how we will achieve world peace," but the day-to-day observations are eerily at arms-length. It is just so natural for the rest of us -- too natural -- to "think of the children" with emotion rather than intellectually and scientifically think of the children. My personal theory is that her mothering nurturing was prematurely ended when she gave her son up for adoption.

    One of her biographers theorizes that the reason she restricted her study of children to those 3 years old and up -- until 50 years into her career when she was 80 years old and relented to creating a toddler program -- was because it would remind her of her son.

    And no one since Maria Montessori seems to have been able to scientifically analyze children and create a resulting pedagogy. Tallying filled scantron bubbles is too narrow -- Maria Montessori was able to observe motion, behavior, and motivation. And other pedagogies are derived from preconceived notions, much as pre-Renaissance "physics" was.

  • Calvin: I tell you, Hobbes, no one understands my genius.
    Hobbes: How did you get downstairs with both legs in one pant leg?
    Calvin: I fell down a lot. Why?
  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Friday October 19, 2012 @07:52PM (#41711377)

    Believe it or not there are thousands of people we'd call prodigies... and not many of them ever become geniuses. And conversely not every genius is a prodigy. As the article says it's a combination of determination and above average intellect. Obviously that doesn't have the sizzle and flash of a Good Will Hunting but seems to be accurate. I think the article is a little over the top in emphasizing the eccentric aspects though. Everyone wants to ascribe a little madness to genius but I think it's more a matter of communication being difficult due to a vast gap between the way they see the world and the way everyone else does. The real geniuses are able to bridge that gap.

  • only the Steve Jobs / Mark Zuckerberg "rock star" types whom turned their talent for being ruthless pricks into piles of money

  • 1. Look like a dweeb
    2. Have a super hot girlfriend

  • Maybe we don't want to be "spotted". Er, I mean "Maybe THEY don't want to be spotted".

  • Over-rated (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday October 19, 2012 @10:48PM (#41712241)

    Genius is an accident of birth, and true genius can be as crippling as any mental health disorder you can think of. It means flunking out of school easily or being tested for things like ADD only to discover that you were merely bored. It can make a job that isn't challenging a living hell as your mind simply can't cope with the monotony.

    Genius level intelligence means a life of being shunned by school mates and later co-workers if you aren't careful to mask your intelligence. It creates a lot of social problems and can really hurt dating until you get really good at masking it. Genius is over-rated by those who lack it and rarely appreciated by those who have it. The most important skill a genius has to learn is how to mask their intelligence, so that those around them don't consider them to a 'genius'. Kind of sad when you think about it.

    If you have a genius level child, the most important thing you can do for them is help them to develop their social skills, it will be their greatest challenge.

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