Simonton, D. K. (2000m). [Review of
the book Insights
of genius: Imagery and creativity in science and art, A. I.
Miller]. Perception, 29, 1265-1268.
221. Locher, P., &
Simonton, D. K. (2001). Report on the XVI Biannual Congress of IAEA,
New York, U.S.A., 2000. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 19,
222. Simonton, D. K. (2000n).
Statistical correlations, nomothetic principles, and exceptions to the
rule. Politics and the Life Sciences, 19, 173-174.
223. Simonton, D. K. (2001a).
Creativity as a secondary Darwinian process. Bulletin of
Psychology and the Arts, 2, 33-39.
224. Simonton, D. K. (2001b).
Creativity as cognitive selection: The blind-variation and
selective-retention model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24,
Campbell (1960) proposed a
"blind-variation and selective-retention" model of creative cognition.
Subsequent researchers have developed this BVSR model into a
comprehensive theory of human creativity, one that recognizes that
human creativity operates by more than one cognitive process. The
question is then raised of how the BVSR model can be accommodated
within the Hull et al. selectionist system.
225. Simonton, D. K. (2001c).
Creativity, psychopathology, and positive psychology. Los Angeles
Psychologist, 15, 11-12.
226. Simonton, D. K. (2001d).
Emotion and composition in classical music: Historiometric
perspectives. In P. Juslin & J. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and
emotion: Theory and research (pp. 205-222). New York: Oxford
227. Simonton, D. K. (2001e).
Harvey C. Lehman's Age and Achievement: Talent development
across the life span [Review of
the book Age
and achievement, H. C. Lehman]. Roeper Review: A Journal on
Gifted Education, 23, 166.
228. Simonton, D. K. (2001f).
Kings, queens, and sultans: Empirical studies of political leadership
in European hereditary monarchies. In O. Feldman & L. O. Valenty
(Eds.), Profiling political leaders: Cross-cultural studies of
personality and behavior (pp. 97-110). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Analyzes similarities between modern
heads of state and historic hereditary monarchs by reviewing research
from the perspective of psychology, sociology, history, and political
leadership. The author finds evidence for strong variation in
personality and leadership style across hereditary monarchs and
relates this variation to genetic proclivity, role-modeling effects,
and gender. This preliminary discussion is then used to determine the
relative influence of historical activity, individual characteristics,
and personality attributes upon political leadership and perceptions
of greatness, both for historic hereditary monarchs and for modern
heads of state. Findings are specifically compared to what has been
learned in research on presidents of the US. This chapter concludes
with a discussion of the essential similarity of predictive
independent variables in determining performance and eminence in
monarch and modern heads of state and an argument that this comparison
may help to develop a more comprehensive understanding of political
leadership [from the introduction].
229. Simonton, D. K. (2001g).
Predicting presidential greatness: Equation replication on recent
survey results. Journal of Social Psychology, 141,
For more than 2 decades, researchers
have tried to identify the variables that predict the overall
performance of US presidents. In 1986, there emerged a 6-variable
prediction equation (D. K. Simonton, 1986, 1987) that has been
replicated repeatedly. The predictors are years in office, war years,
scandal, assassination, heroism in war, and intellectual brilliance.
The author again replicated the equation on recent rankings of all
presidents from George Washington through William Jefferson Clinton
according to a survey of 719 experts (W. R. Ridings, Jr., & S. B.
McIver, 1997). The original 6-variable equation successfully predicted
both the overall rankings as well as the 5 core components of the
rankings (leadership qualities, accomplishment, political skill,
appointments, character and integrity). The predictive value of the
equation was illustrated for the presidencies of Ronald W. Reagan,
George H. W. Bush, and Clinton.
230. Simonton, D. K. (2001h).
the book The
things we do: Using the lessons of Bernard and Darwin to understand
the what, how, and why of our behavior, G. Cziko]. Quarterly
Review of Biology, 76, 268.
231. Simonton, D. K. (2001i).
Talent development as a multidimensional, multiplicative, and dynamic
process. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10,
Recent empirical research has
challenged the common belief in the existence of talent, suggesting
that exceptional performance is entirely the product of nurture rather
than nature. However, this research has been based on a simple
conception of what talent entails. Rather than involving a
unidimensional, additive, and static genetic process, talent may
instead emerge from a multidimensional, multiplicative, and dynamic
process. This latter possibility is described in a two-part model that
combines multidimensional and multiplicative inheritance with dynamic
development. The first part of the model handles domain specificity,
profile heterogeneity, the distribution of individual differences,
familial heritability, and domain complexity. The second part
explicates early- vs late-bloomers, early signs of talent, talent
loss, and shifts in the domain of talent. The resulting model has
crucial implications for how best to gauge the impact of nature in the
development of talent.
232. Simonton, D. K. (2001j).
Totally made, not at all born [Review of
the book The
psychology of high abilities, M. J. A. Howe]. Contemporary
Psychology, 46, 176-179.
The current volume is but one
publication among many in which M. Howe has argued that exceptional
ability is entirely a product of nurture, not nature. Moreover, among
the several books that take this position, this can be considered
among the best. It is written well and well organized. For its length,
it reviews a large amount of scholarly research and does so
competently. The book is full of concrete examples, and avoids getting
distracted by technical details. Finally, the book covers almost all
of the central topics in the psychology of high abilities. In
particular, it treats the various influences on abilities (Chapter 1),
the family backgrounds of high achievers (Chapter 2), the question of
whether the acquisition of abilities can be accelerated (Chapter .3),
the central phenomena of child prodigies (Chapter 4) and geniuses
(Chapter 5), the relation between intelligence and high abilities
(Chapter 6), and how to help young children to acquire high abilities
(Chapter 8). Not surprisingly, a whole chapter is allotted to and
titled "Innate Talents: Reality or Myth?" (Chapter 7). Here Howe makes
it very clear which stand he thinks is most scientifically defensible.
All in all, it is an excellent book and one that I can heartily
recommend to any psychologist intrigued by exceptional abilities,
whether they subscribe to the drudge theory or not.
233. Cassandro, V. J., &
Simonton, D. K. (2002). Creativity and genius. In C. L. M. Keyes
& J. Haidt (Ed.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the
life well-lived (pp. 163-183). Washington, DC: American
This chapter describes the nature of
both creativity and the creative genius, their relationship to the
positive psychology movement, as well as strategies that have been
developed to measure these phenomena at the individual and
sociocultural levels. The concept of creativity is said to entail
three essential and product-focused criteria: novelty, adaptiveness or
appropriateness to the problem at hand, and completeness. Genius is
said to entail uniqueness, impact, and quality of intellectual power.
Creative products, eminence, intelligence, cognitive style, and
personality and biography are characteristics discussed in terms of
the study of creative genius at the level of the individual. And,
briefly discussed is the fact that creativity and genius can also be
conceptualized and measured at the sociocultural level as unique
features of a cultural or historical period [from the chapter].
234. Simonton, D. K. (2002a).
Collaborative aesthetics in the feature film: Cinematic components
predicting the differential impact of 2,323 Oscar-nominated movies. Empirical
Studies of the Arts, 20, 115-125.
Unlike most forms of artistic
expression, the feature film is the collaborative product of many
individuals. The comparative impact of these separate contributions
was assessed in 2,323 movies nominated for Academy Awards in the major
categories. The raw data from the sampling procedure and variable
measurement came from primarily electronic sources. Two criteria of a
film's impact were defined (best picture honors and movie guide
ratings) along with 16 potential predictor variables (direction, male
and female leads, male and female supporting roles, screenplay, art
direction, costume design, makeup, cinematography, film editing,
score, song, visual effects, sound effects editing, and sound) and
five control variables (release date and the genre of drama, comedy,
romance, and musical). Multiple regression analyses indicated that
between 30% and 75% of the variance in impact could be explained using
a subset of these factors.
235. Simonton, D. K. (2002b).
Creativity. In D. J. Ekerdt (Ed.), Encyclopedia of aging (pp.
290-293). New York: Macmillan Reference.
236. Simonton, D. K. (2002c).
Creativity. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), The handbook
of positive psychology (pp. 189-201). New York: Oxford
237. Simonton, D. K. (2002d).
Errors and inaccuracies. Contemporary Psychology, 47,
238. Simonton, D. K. (2002e).
Great psychologists and their times: Scientific insights into
psychology's history. Washington, DC: American
This book comprehensively compiles
research on the factors that contribute to a psychologist having a
high impact on the discipline. Simonton examines those individuals who
have contributed most tot he advancement of psychological science.
Moreover, these notables are examined from a scientific perspective -
especially from the standpoint of the psychology of science. The book
integrates all of the relevant research on the psychology of eminent
psychologists, from the pioneering work of Francis Galton to work
published in the 21st century. Chapters contain examples drawn from
the lives and careers of notable psychologists, examining such issues
as birth order, intellectual precocity, mentoring, psychopathology,
worldview, and aging. Of particular interest are chapters exploring
what aspects of the sociocultural context are most conductive to the
emergence of illustrious psychologists and how these sociocultural
conditions - including political events, economic disturbances, or
cultural values - affect not only the magnitude of achievement but
also the very nature of that achievement. The findings reviewed lead
to suggestions about how best to educate and train both undergraduate
psychology majors and graduate students in psychology [from the
239. Simonton, D. K. (2002f).
In the beginning ... The alpha and omega of the mind [Review of
book The evolution of cognition,
C. Heyes & L. Huber (Eds.)]. Contemporary Psychology, 47,
As Heyes emphasizes in her
introductory chapter, the goal is to treat evolutionary psychology "in
the round." By this she means a discipline that goes beyond an
anthropocentric focus on just the human species, and a discipline that
encompasses the full range of analytical perspectives, including the
ecological, phylogenetic, comparative, and selection theoretic. The
volume's chapters were therefore selected to demonstrate the full
breadth and depth of this alternative evolutionary psychology. The
awesome diversity of issues and methods is augmented by the
tremendously diverse backgrounds of those who wrote the chapters. In
short, the chapters represent an international and interdisciplinary
perspective on the evolution of cognition. This book presents an
evolutionary psychology that is not just in the round, but global
240. Simonton, D. K. (2002g).
Intelligence and presidential greatness: Equation replication using 56
estimates. Advances in Psychology
Research, 13, 163-174.
For more than 20 years researchers
have tried to identify the variables that predict the overall
performance of US presidents. Eventually a six-variable prediction
equation emerged that has undergone repeated replication in studies
published between 1986 and 2001. The predictors are years in office,
war years, scandal, assassination, war hero, and intellectual
brilliance. However, because previous investigations were confined to
presidents between Washington and Reagan, the current study extended
the test to all presidents between Washington and Clinton. In
addition, the test used the most recent ratings of presidential
performance and introduced updated intelligence estimates that were
transformed into IQ scores. According to a multiple regression
analysis, all six predictors were again statistically significant,
together accounting for 77% of the variance in presidential
241. Simonton, D. K. (2002h).
It's absolutely impossible? A longitudinal study of one psychologist's
response to conventional naysayers. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Psychologists
defying the crowd: Stories of those who battled the establishment
and won (pp. 238-254). Washington, DC: American
The author presents a professional
autobiography of his research into creativity. The relationship
between the author's research and mainstream psychology interests form
the context of the autobiography [from the chapter].
242. Simonton, D. K. (2002i).
Las personas que hacen historia. In R. Ardila (Ed.), La psicholgía
en el futuro: Los más destacados psicólogos del mundo reflexionan
sobre el futuro de su disciplina (pp. 271-275). Madrid:
243. Simonton, D. K. (2002j).
On underrepresented populations in creativity research. Creativity
Research Journal, 14, 279-280.
Replies to a commentary by S.
Benolken (2002) regarding the author's previous article discussing
creativity research. Simonton argues that he does not want to be
interpreted as implying that creativity is completely different in
anyone who is not a White male. Also, he does not believe than other
aspects of the phenomenon may operate somewhat differently depending
on gender and ethnicity. Simonton notes that he is currently studying
294 eminent African Americans.
244. Simonton, D. K. (2002k).
Persistent myths, probabilities, and psychologists as human beings. Dialogue,
245. Simonton, D. K. (2002l).
the book Genius
explained, M. J. I. Howe]. Isis: Journal of the History of
Science Society, 93, 475.
246. Simonton, D. K. (2002m).
When does giftedness become genius? And when not? In N. Colangelo
& G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd
ed., pp. 358-370). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
247. Simonton, D. K. (2003a).
Creative cultures, nations, and civilizations: Strategies and results.
In P. B. Paulus & B. A. Nijstad (Eds.), Group creativity:
Innovation through collaboration (pp. 304-328). New York: Oxford
This chapter focuses on the
creativity of nations, and offers an analysis of the factors that lead
cultures, nations, and civilizations to be creative. The author argues
that the coming and going of great creative genius in various times
and places can be better attributed to changes in the cultural,
social, political and economic circumstances that determine the extent
to which the resulting milieu nurtures the development of creative
potential and the expression of that developed potential. The chapter
reviews previous research literature on the area of creativity, and
suggest that a comprehensive psychology of creativity must view it as
a complex phenomenon that occurs at multiple levels, from individuals,
interpersonal interactions, and problem-solving groups to cultures,
nations, and civilizations [from the chapter].
248. Simonton, D. K. (2003b).
Creativity assessment. In R. Fernández-Ballesteros (Ed.), Encyclopedia
psychological assessment (Vol. 1, pp. 276-280). London: Sage
249. Simonton, D. K. (2003c).
Creativity as variation and selection: Some critical constraints. In
M. Runco (Ed.), Critical creative processes (pp. 3-18).
Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Discusses evolutionary variation and
selection aspects of creativity. Selection processes are discussed at
the level of ideas, individual creators and groups or cultures.
Factors discussed include cognitive selection, interpersonal selection
and sociocultural selection. These factors represent restraints that
operate at different levels to restrict the ideational variations in
the world. Critical constraints that are imposed at the beginning of
the processes are discussed in 2 broad classes: limitations on problem
identification implemented by creative individuals, and constraints
imposed on solution generation. The following themes are emphasized in
conclusion: (1) creativity is a precarious activity, (2) creativity is
at risk due to adjustment of tradeoffs, and (3) the necessity of
finding an equilibrium between opposites often results in curvilinear
relations between antecedent variables and creative behavior [from the
250. Simonton, D. K. (2003d).
Exceptional creativity across the life span: The emergence and
manifestation of creative genius. In L. V. Shavinina (Ed.), International
handbook of innovation (pp. 293-308). Oxford, United Kingdom:
251. Simonton, D. K. (2003e).
Expertise, competence, and creative ability: The perplexing
complexities. In R. J. Sternberg & E. L. Grigorenko (Eds.), Perspectives
on the psychology of abilities, competencies, and expertise (pp.
213-239). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Discusses expertise, competence, and
creative ability. This chapter addresses questions about the status of
creativity as a psychological capacity. The author believe that the
phenomenon of creativity highlights some critical issues about the
nature of abilities, expertise, and competencies. Whether other human
capacities operate in a manner similar to creativity is also discussed
[from the chapter].
252. Simonton, D. K. (2003f).
The first six notes: Computer content analyses of classical themes. Bulletin
of Psychology and the Arts, 4, 13-15.
253. Simonton, D. K. (2003g).
Francis Galton's Hereditary Genius: Its place in the history and
psychology of science. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The anatomy of
impact: What has made the great works of psychology great (pp.
3-18). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
This chapter discusses the historical
importance and impact of the work of F. Galton. Specifically, the
author places the work Hereditary Genius into its historical context
and analyzes the impact of this work on future theorists, such as C.
Darwin. By comparing Hereditary Genius with what psychologists have
learned about the nature of great scientists and their works, this
chapter shows several attributes that can be considered fairly
representative of what and how influential contributions have an
impact on the world [from the chapter].
254. Simonton, D. K. (2003h).
Genius and g. In H. Nyborg (Ed.), The scientific study of
general intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen (pp. 229-245).
Oxford, England: Pergamon.
255. Simonton, D. K. (2003i).
Human creativity: Two Darwinian analyses. In S. M. Reader & K. N.
Laland (Eds.), Animal innovation (pp. 309-325). New York:
Oxford University Press.
256. Simonton, D. K. (2003j).
Journalists and geneticists - greatness and goodness [Review of
book Good work: When Excellence
and Ethics Meet, H. Gardner, M. Csikszentmihalyi, & W.
Damon]. Contemporary Psychology, 48, 188-190.
Provides a review of the book "Good
Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet" by Howard Gardner, Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi, and William Damon (2001) which discusses the link
between greatness and psychoticism or other "unattractive human
vices". This book has many attractive features that render it "highly
recommended" for all readers who share the authors' concerns. It is
full of provocative and insightful observations by some of the leading
geneticists and journalists in the world today. These virtues
notwithstanding, it must be stressed that the focal audience for this
book is clearly the general educated layperson rather than the
257. Simonton, D. K. (2003k).
Kroeber's cultural configurations, Sorokin's culture mentalities, and
generational time-series analysis: A quantitative paradigm for the
comparative study of civilizations. Comparative Civilizations
Review, 49, 96-108.
258. Simonton, D. K. (2003l).
Qualitative and quantitative analyses of historical data. Annual
Review of Psychology, 54, 617-640.
Although the typical study in
psychology involves the quantitative analysis of contemporary research
participants, occasionally psychologists will study historical persons
or events. Moreover, these historical data may be analyzed using
either qualitative or quantitative techniques. After giving examples
from the subdisciplines of cognitive, developmental, differential,
abnormal, and social psychology, the distinctive methodological
features of this approach are outlined. These include both data
collection (sampling, unit definition, etc.) and data analysis (both
qualitative and quantitative). The discussion then turns to the
advantages and disadvantages of this research method. The article
closes by presenting the reasons why (a) psychologists will probably
continue to use historical data and (b) quantitative analyses may
eventually replace qualitative analyses in such applications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2003m). [Review of the book King of the
mountain: The nature of political leadership
, A. M. Ludwig]. JAMA:
Journal of the American Medical Association, 289,
. Simonton, D. K. (2003n). [Review of the book The
psychological assessment of political leaders: With profiles of Saddam
Hussein and Bill Clinton
, J. M. Post (Ed.)]. JAMA: Journal of
the American Medical Association
261. Simonton, D. K. (2003o).
Scientific creativity as constrained stochastic behavior: The
integration of product, process, and person perspectives. Psychological
Bulletin, 129, 475-494.
Psychologists have primarily
investigated scientific creativity from 2 contrasting in vitro
perspectives: correlational studies of the creative person and
experimental studies of the creative process. Here the same phenomenon
is scrutinized using a 3rd, in vivo perspective, namely, the actual
creative products that emerge from individual scientific careers and
communities of creative scientists. This behavioral analysis supports
the inference that scientific creativity constitutes a form of
constrained stochastic behavior. That is, it can be accurately modeled
as a quasi-random combinatorial process. Key findings from both
correlational and experimental research traditions corroborate this
conclusion. The author closes the article by arguing that all 3
perspectives - regarding the product, person, and process - must be
integrated into a unified view of scientific creativity.
262. Simonton, D. K. (2003p).
Thar's gold in them thar hills! [Review of
the book The eureka effect: The art and logic
of breakthrough thinking, D. Perkins]. Contemporary
Psychology, 48, 174-176.
Provides a review of the book "The
Eureka Effect: The Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking" by David
Perkins (2001). Although he does have criticisms, the reviewer
concludes that the book is clearly, even elegantly written. It is full
of provocative ideas. And it is rich in concrete examples. On some
counts, "The Eureka Effect" might even be considered a superior
product. It is more accessible and more concise, and yet somehow
manages to cover considerable ground - a less is more tour de force.
In my mind, at least, it represents Perkins's own best work.
263. Simonton, D. K. (2004a).
Adding developmental trajectories to the DMGT: Nonlinear and
nonadditive genetic inheritance and expertise acquisition. High
Ability Studies: A Journal on Gifted Education, 15,
Comments on an article by Françoys
Gagné on the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT).
Gagné has offered a most impressive synthesis of the developmental
literature regarding the giftedness and talent. Given the
comprehensiveness of the treatment, it would seem difficult that any
commentator would be able to do anything more that tinker with some
tangential feature of the model. Nonetheless, I would like to suggest
that in future, elaborations of the model should be devoted to the
specification of developmental trajectories-how participating factors,
components and processes change over time. Especially crucial would be
the explicit recognition that these trajectories may assume a far more
complex form than specified in unidimensional and monotonic maturation
models. Two examples are provided.
264. Simonton, D. K. (2004b).
The "Best Actress" paradox: Outstanding feature films versus
exceptional performances by women. Sex Roles, 50, 781-794.
On the basis of prior research on
acting careers, it was hypothesized that exceptional women's
performances are less likely to be associated with outstanding feature
films than is the case for men. This hypothesis was tested in 2
studies. In Study 1, 2,157 films that received Oscar nominations or
awards between 1936 and 2000 were examined, whereas in Study 2, I
scrutinized 1,367 films that received awards or award nominations from
7 major professional, journalistic, and critical associations from
1968 to 2000. In both studies, a significant gender discrepancy was
found, a differential that persisted after the introduction of a large
number of statistical controls and that showed no tendency to diminish
over time. The results are discussed in terms of possible explanations
and directions for future research.
265. Simonton, D. K. (2004c).
Creative clusters, political fragmentation, and cultural
heterogeneity: An investigative journey though civilizations East and
West. In P. Bernholz & R. Vaubel (Eds.), Political
competition, innovation and growth in the history of Asian
civilizations (pp. 39-56). Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward
266. Simonton, D. K. (2004d).
Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity]. In M. E. P. Seligman & C.
Peterson (Eds.), Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and
classification (pp. 109-123). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association; New York: Oxford University Press.
267. Simonton, D. K. (2004e).
Creativity as a constrained stochastic process. In R. J. Sternberg, E.
L. Grigorenko, & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Creativity: From
potential to realization (pp. 83-101). Washington, DC: American
In this chapter the author argues
that creativity necessarily involves a heavy dose of chance. The
probabilistic nature of creativity is first illustrated in the two
phenomena of multiple discovery and creative productivity. He then
explicates the stochastic feature of creativity in terms of the
creative process, person, and product. Finally, he observes that
constraints are usually imposed on this stochastic behavior,
constraints that are largely defined by the creative domain. These
contrasts in the relative importance of stochastic processes then
determine the optimal personal characteristics and backgrounds of
creators for various domains. The domain-specific nature of these
profiles implies that the identification of creative individuals
cannot operate on a "one size fits all" principle. Instead,
identification must be carefully tailored to the particular needs of
each domain - especially the extent to which creativity in a given
domain is highly constrained. Yet in even the most constrained
creative discipline the need for stochastic creativity is not totally
obliterated. A domain in which achievement left nothing to chance
would not be considered a creative domain.
268. Simonton, D. K. (2004f).
Creativity in science: Chance, logic, genius, and zeitgeist.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
269. Simonton, D. K. (2004g).
Does character count in the Oval Office? [Review of
the book Personality, Character, &
Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents,
S. J. Rubenzer & T. R. Faschingbauer]. PsycCRITIQUES, 49
In this text by Steven Rubenzer and
Thomas Faschingbauer (2004), a modified survey-questionnaire technique
was employed to determine traits of Presidents of the United States.
In particular, the authors sent experts on U.S. presidents a copy of
the NEO Personality Inventory. The respondents were asked to rate one
or more presidents for whom they had special expertise on the items
making up each of the five scales. The authors then incorporated data
from other investigations. As a result, they came up with some
fascinating empirical findings about how personality impacts on the
presidency. The book itself consists of two major parts. Part 1 is
called "Personality and the Personality" and contains chapters that
outline the basic methodology and perhaps the most important empirical
results. Chapter 2 has the descriptive title of "Who Are These Guys?
Personality Traits of Presidents, Founding Fathers, Democrats, and
Republicans." After giving the typical profile of the U. S. presidents
on the five factors and character, the authors present the actual
scores that the presidents received on these assessments. The reviewer
notes however, that although the volume is full of interesting results
and intriguing facts, it is not without flaws, including presentation
and missing information. It is also reported that the investigation
itself raises some serious methodological issues. Overall however, the
book still represents the most ambitious attempt to divulge the
270. Simonton, D. K. (2004h).
Exceptional creativity and chance: Creative thought as a stochastic
combinatorial process. In L. V. Shavinina & M. Ferrari (Eds.), Beyond
knowledge: Extracognitive facets in developing high ability (pp.
39-72). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
In this chapter I wish to explore the
extent to which luck, both good and bad, participates in creative
performance. Following definitions of these, I can show that the
concepts of luck, chance, and randomness are highly descriptive of how
discovery, invention, and creativity function in renowned geniuses. I
begin by discussing a phenomenon that is largely confined to
scientific and technological creativity - when two or more scientists
or inventors independently make the same discovery or invention. I
next turn to a more general phenomenon, that of creative productivity
across and within careers. Models that affirm that creativity involves
the ability to generate combinations of ideas through a quasi-random
process will explicate both phenomena. I conclude by discussing some
of the principal objectives that might be raised regarding what these
models imply about the creative process and person.
271. Simonton, D. K. (2004i).
Film awards as indicators of cinematic creativity and achievement: A
quantitative comparison of the Oscars and six alternatives. Creativity
Research Journal, 16, 163-172.
Unlike most forms of artistic
expression, the feature film is the collaborative product of many
individuals. The comparative impact of these separate
contributions was assessed in 2,323 movies nominated for Academy
Awards in the major categories. Two criteria of a film?s impact
were defined (best picture honors and movie guide ratings) along with
16 potential predictor variables (direction, male and female leads,
male and female supporting roles, screenplay, art direction, costume
design, makeup, cinematography, film editing, score, song, visual
effects, sound effects editing, and sound) and 5 control variables
(release date and the genre of drama, comedy, romance, and
musical). Multiple regression analyses indicated that between
30% and 75% of the variance in impact could be explained using a
subset of these factors.
272. Simonton, D. K. (2004j).
Group artistic creativity: Creative clusters and cinematic success in
1,327 feature films. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34,
Filmmaking represents a distinctive
form of group creativity in which many individuals contribute to a
single creative product. This exploratory investigation examines
these contributions in 1,327 English-language, narrative feature
films. Besides control variables, the measures included two
criteria of impact (best picture honors and movie guide ratings) and
16 assessments of outstanding cinematic contributions (direction, male
and female lead, male and female supporting, screenplay, art
direction, costume design, makeup, cinematography, film editing,
score, song, visual effects, sound effects editing, and sound).
A factor analysis showed that the contributions formed 4 creative
clusters: dramatic, visual, technical, and musical. Hierarchical
regression analyses indicated that a film's impact was a positive
additive function of the dramatic and visual clusters, with the
dramatic having the primary role.
273. Simonton, D. K. (2004k).
High-impact research programs in psychology: Quantitative and
qualitative aspects. In T. C. Dalton & R. B. Evans (Eds.), The
life cycle of psychological ideas: Understanding prominence and the
dynamics of intellectual change (pp. 83-103). Dordrecht:
274. Simonton, D. K. (2004l).
Of old-age styles, swan songs, and winter roses [Review of
book Aging, creativity, and art:
A positive perspective on late-life development, M. S.
Lindauer]. PsycCRITIQUES, 49 (14).
The book consists of five parts, or a
total of 17 chapters. Part 1 contains two introductory chapters making
the case on behalf of late-life creativity in general and the
creativity of old artists in particular. The three chapters of Part 2
discuss the two supposedly rival views of late-life creativity,
namely, the decline model versus the continuity model. Part 3
encompasses five chapters that deal with the level of late-life
creativity in both contemporary and historical artists. In Part 4,
rather than focus on the quantity of work produced in various periods
of an artist's career, the four chapters in this section treat the
qualitative features of the work produced late in life. Part 5
consists of three chapters, and the author's attention turns to the
role that the arts play in the elderly. The reviewer notes that one
distinctive feature of the volume is Lindauer's attention to
humanistic perspectives on late-life development, rather than
confining the discussion to scientific data and theories. However,
this does not detract from a number of criticisms the reviewer has
concerning the text. It is noted that the text contains many factual
errors, overlooks important research, and includes inappropriate or
misinterpreted statistical analyses.
275. Simonton, D. K. (2004m).
Psychology's status as a scientific discipline: Its empirical
placement within an implicit hierarchy of the sciences. Review of
General Psychology, 8, 59-67.
Psychology's standing within a
hypothesized hierarchy of the sciences was assessed in a 2-part
analysis. First, an internally consistent composite measure was
constructed from 7 primary indicators of scientific status
(theories-to-laws ratio, consultation rate, obsolescence rate, graph
prominence, early impact rite, peer evaluation consensus, and citation
concentration). Second, this composite measure was validated through 5
secondary indicators (lecture disfluency, citation immediacy,
anticipation frequency, age at receipt of Nobel Prize, and rated
disciplinary hardness). Analyses showed that the measures reflected a
single dimension on which 5 disciplines could be reliably ranked in
the following order: physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and
sociology. Significantly, psychology placed much closer to biology
than to sociology, forming a pair of life sciences clearly separated
from the other sciences.
276. Simonton, D. K. (2004n).
Representations and combinations: A challenge to contemporary
cognitive science [Review of
the book Creativity,
cognition, and knowledge: An interaction, T. Dartnall Ed.]. Contemporary
The majority of the chapters in this
book deal with the general cognitive processes that might account for
human creativity, at least in its more everyday forms. The chapters
vary greatly in their accessibility to those unfamiliar with the
corresponding research areas and also differ appreciably in what they
mean by creativity. Moreover, some chapters are highly philosophical
and others are more empirical. This book can either be treated as
another edited volume containing many fascinating essays on some
important topics in cognitive psychology, or it can be treated more
holistically, as the editor intended. This is a very provocative book,
rich in ideas, and definitely worth a serious read. However, until its
alternative epistemology can be more fully developed, it is doubtful
that cognitive psychologists are going to give up representationism or
that creativity researchers are going to turn away from
combinationalism. In the final analysis, the core argument about human
cognition must incorporate more knowledge and display more creativity.
277. Simonton, D. K. (2004o).
the book Human
accomplishment: The pursuit of excellence in the arts and sciences,
800 B.C. to 1950, C. Murray]. Journal of the History of the
Behavioral Sciences, 40, 435-438.
The author's most recent work can be considered part of this Galtonian
tradition. Earlier, he had coauthored the much-discussed book "The Bell
Curve," which dealt with the implications of intelligence - normally
distributed and influenced by genetic inheritance - for socioeconomic
success. The present book, in conrrast, is more interested in the
uppermost tail of the distribution where we find the geniuses
responsible for the main accomplishmenls that define civilization. At
the same time, the author goes to considerable effort to show that
alternative ratings display an exceptional degree of concordance, and,
hence, these evaluations represent a secure consensus. The author has
some fairly forthright views on several issues that are bound to
stimulate debate. Three of these views are perhaps the most conspicuous.
First, on the decline of Western civilization, he concludes that
creative accomplishment in the Western world is already on the wane.
This conclusion is based on both quantitative data and qualitative
judgments. In addition, the book is crammed with fascinating information
and provocative observations.
278. Simonton, D. K. (2004p).
Thematic content and political context in Shakespeare's dramatic
output, with implications for authorship and chronology controversies.
Empirical Studies of the Arts, 22, 201-213.
Empirical studies of Shakespeare's
plays have usually assumed that the traditional Stratfordian
chronology is basically correct. This assumption is cast in
doubt by Oxfordians who claim that the plays were authored by Edward
de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. However, prior investigations
have shown that Stratfordian chronologies are more strongly supported
by stylometric analyses than are Oxfordian chronologies. In this
study the two authorship positions are evaluated by examining the
correlation between the thematic content of the plays and the
political context in which the plays would be written according to
rival sets of dates. Stratfordian chronologies, when lagged just
2 years, yield substantively meaningful associations between thematic
content and political context, whereas Oxfordian chronologies yield no
relationships, however lagged. Hence, only the Stratfordian
results are consistent with previous research indicating that artistic
creativity is responsive to conspicuous political events.
279. Simonton, D. K. (2005a).
Are developmental psychologists ready for this creative development?
the book Creativity
and development, R. K. Sawyer, V. J. Steiner, S. Moran, R. J.
Sternberg, D. H. Feldman, J. Nakamura, & M. Csikszentmihalyi]. American
Journal of Psychology
. Simonton, D. K. (2005b, June 1). Are genius and madness
related? Contemporary answers to an ancient question. Psychiatric
Ever since antiquity, thinkers have associated creativity with
psychopathology - the classic idea of the "mad genius." By looking at
historiometric, psychiatric and psychometric research one can conclude
that exceptional creativity is often linked with certain symptoms of
psychopathology. Nevertheless, this relationship is not equivalent to
the claim that creative individuals necessarily suffer from
281. Simonton, D. K. (2005c).
Cinematic creativity and production budgets: Does money make the
movie? Journal of Creative Behavior, 39, 1-15.
Although filmmaking requires
substantial capital investment, it is not known whether cinematic
creativity is positively correlated with the size of the film's
budget. Therefore, budgetary impact was investigated in a sample
of feature films released between 1997 and 2001. Although
production costs were positively related to box office success (as
measured by both first weekend and gross), such expenditures had no
correlation with best picture awards and were negatively correlated
with critical acclaim (as gauged by both film reviews and movie guide
ratings). These divergent consequences could be partly
interpreted in terms of how the budget and success criteria
differentially correlated with what have been identified as the four
creative clusters of filmmaking, namely, the dramatic, visual,
technical, and musical.
282. Simonton, D. K. (2005d).
Creativity (in the arts and sciences). In M. C. Horowitz (Ed.), New
dictionary of the history of ideas (Vol. 2, pp. 493-497). New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
283. Simonton, D. K. (2005e).
Creativity in psychology: On becoming and being a great psychologist.
In J. C. Kaufman & J. Baer (Eds.), Faces of the muse: How
people think, work, and act creatively in diverse domains (pp.
139-151). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
In this chapter, the author discusses how creativity in psychology is
both similar to and very unlike creativity in other domains, and
suggests that even among creative psychologists there is great
diversity. He shows that most great psychologists have personality
traits that cluster at one of two very distinct poles, with experimental
psychologists tending to be similar to creators in the natural sciences
and correlational/humanistic psychologists tending to have personality
profiles that are similar to creators in artistic fields.
. Simonton, D. K. (2005f). Darwin as straw man: Dasgupta's
(2004) evaluation of creativity as a Darwinian process. Creativity
Dasgupta (2004) challenged Darwinian
theories of creativity by scrutinizing three historic episodes drawn
from the careers of James Watt, Jadadis Chandra Bose, and Pablo
Picasso. However, in the current article I present
counterarguments based on a critical consideration of scholarship,
theory, logic, and data. By all four standards, the
anti-Darwinian argument is considerably undermined. In
particular, (a) Dasgupta's presentation did not reflect the most
recent Darwinian scholarship and therefore (b) the theory evaluated is
one not advocated by any modern proponent. Moreover, the
supposed test (c) requires the application of an inappropriate
falsifiability criterion and (d) depends on a questionable
interpretation of data - data that may not even be the most germane to
the theory's empirical evaluation. I end by discussing the
broader problems faced by anyone advocating Darwinist theories of
285. Simonton, D. K. (2005g).
Film as art versus film as business: Differential correlates of
screenplay characteristics. Empirical Studies of the Arts,
This investigation determined whether
certain screenplay features can differentiate films directed toward
artistic expression from those aimed at financial gain. The
sample consisted of 1436 English-language, narrative films released
between 1968 and 2002. The variables included 4 economic
indicators, 5 movie award assessments, 2 composite critical
evaluations, and 24 screenplay characteristics. A subset of
those characteristics distinguished film as art from film as
business. In particular, the two types could be distinguished
according to the impact of sequels, adaptations (e.g., from plays),
writer-directors (or "Auteurs"), genre (viz. dramas), and MPAA ratings
(especially Restricted). These contrasts help explain why budget
and box office variables fail to correlate with the most important
movie awards and are even negatively correlated with critical acclaim.
286. Simonton, D. K. (2005h).
Genetics of giftedness: The implications of an emergenic-epigenetic
model. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Davidson (Eds.), Conceptions of
giftedness (2nd ed., pp. 312-326). New York: Cambridge
. Simonton, D. K. (2005i). Giftedness and genetics: The
emergenic-epigenetic model and its implications. Journal for the
Education of the Gifted
The genetic endowment underlying
giftedness may operate in a far more complex manner than often
expressed in most theoretical accounts of the phenomenon. First,
endowment may be emergenic. That is, a gift may consist of
multiple traits (multidimensional) that are inherited in a
multiplicative (configurational) rather than an additive (simple)
fashion. Second, endowment may not appear all at once but rather
will more likely unfold via an epigenetic process. These two
complications have consequences regarding such aspects of giftedness
as the likelihood of early signs, the appearance of early- versus
late-bloomers, the distribution of giftedness in the general
population, and the stability and continuity of gifts over the course
of childhood and adolescence. These complexities lead to a
fourfold typology of giftedness that has important practical
. Simonton, D. K. (2005j). The manifest destiny of the
hypomanic immigrant [Review of the book The hypomanic edge: The link
between (a little) craziness and (a lot of) success in America
D. Gartner]. PsycCRITIQUES
One of the oldest issues in intellectual history is the relation between
genius and madness. In Gartner's book, high achievement is ascribed to
an affective disorder. The author proposes a threefold thesis for this
tendency. First, the key disorder is hypomania, a subclinical form of
mania. Hypomania can be a tremendous asset insofar as it supports the
ideational fluency, optimism, energy, and sometimes irrational
determination necessary for extraordinary achievement. Second, this
"hypomanic edge" is not the exclusive property of artistic creators but
rather has also been a prominent attribute of the major leaders of
history. Third, the United States of America has become a great power
largely because it attracts hypomanic immigrants to its shores -
newcomers who have what it takes to achieve supreme success. The
reviewer offers, in an effort to make the reader able to appreciate
Gartner's contribution, an overview of the book's contents and a
critique of its thesis.
. Simonton, D. K. (2005k). Putting the gift back into
giftedness: The genetics of talent development. Gifted and Talented
Although giftedness and talent are semantically linked to genetic
endowment, some psychologists have questioned whether innate gifts
really exist. Instead, these researchers argue that so-called
giftedness or talent merely involves the acquisition of domain-specific
expertise by means of deliberate practice. However, these
arguments are deficient because they (a) exaggerate the empirical
support for the extreme nurture position and (b) overlook the empirical
evidence on behalf of a moderate nature position. Hence, a
comprehensive understanding of giftedness and talent - upon which gifted
education must be based - requires a more finely nuanced appreciation of
the relative contributions of genes and the environment. This
appreciation necessarily includes recognition that giftedness and talent
do include genetic gifts.
. Simonton, D. K. (2005l). Rejoinder to Response of Steven J.
Rubenzer and Thomas R. Faschingbauer to "Does Character Count in the
Oval Office"? PsycCRITIQUES, 50
Replies to the comments of S. J. Rubenzer and T. R. Faschingbauer on D.
K. Simonton's review of their book Personality, Character, and
Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents
Simonton asserts that while the NEO personality ratings were not the
only data, that scores on the Big Five dominate the presentation and
analysis and that Rubenzer and Faschingbauer did not respond to his
concern about overlooked research. Simonton's concern regarding
different raters for different Presidents is more than possible
ideological bias but whether the biographers gravitate to particular
subjects for reasons other than political affiliation. Finally, from a
scientific perspective, we should desire a more complete understanding
of the causal processes involved, such as a careful distinction between
direct and indirect effects.
. Simonton, D. K. (2005m, October 1). Response to Dr. Krizek.
292. Simonton, D. K., &
Baumeister, R. F. (2005). Positive psychology at the summit. Review
General Psychology, 9, 99-102.
Psychology has traditionally placed
more emphasis on the negative than positive aspects of human
behavior. The Positive Psychology movement, since its beginnings
in 1999, has made major advances toward correcting this
imbalance. Research inspired by the movement now spans an
impressive range of topics, including many that are absolutely
essential to a comprehensive psychological understanding of human
nature. The present special issue provides a sampling of some of
the best work in the area. All but the first and last articles
come from presentations at the Second International Positive
Psychology Summit held in 2003 in Washington DC. This sample can
be supplemented by the chapters that have appeared in several recent
anthologies of contemporary research.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006a). Beauty and the beast [Review of the
book Neuropsychology of art: Neurological, cognitive and
, D. W. Zaidel]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51
The book begins with a brief and perfunctory series preface,
followed by a far more substantial preface by the author. It contains an
overview of the topic and a specification of what she will and will not
discuss in the book. On the neuropsychology side, she will pay special
attention to the effects of brain damage on artistic creativity, with
some subsidiary attention to autistic savants and dementia patients. Of
particular interest is the localization of brain function, including
hemispheric differentiation. On the art side, she makes it clear that
the focus will be on the visual and musical arts, with an emphasis on
the first. This book is crammed with useful facts and insightful
speculations. The reviewer personally learned a lot about
neuropsychology - especially about the adverse effects of particular
brain injuries and dysfunctions. Moreover, the author has done a
reasonable job of organizing the material and communicating that
material in a fashion accessible to a broad audience. As a result, the
reviewer can recommend this volume to anyone who is interested in the
interface between neuropsychology and art.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006b). Cinematic artifice sans psyche
[Review of the motion picture The Da Vinci Code
, R. Howard,
Because The Da Vinci Code
is directly adapted from Dan Brown's
popular book by the same name, many readers of this review will already
know that this film is not really about Leonardo da Vinci, the artistic
genius of the Italian Renaissance. Instead, Leonardo posthumously
provides a set of props for a murder mystery. The reviewer states he can
much more easily review this film as a critic than as a psychologist.
That is because anything of psychological interest is not very
interesting psychologically. For instance, although Robert Langdon (Tom
Hanks) is claustrophobic, the film does not examine this condition with
any sophistication or insight. Rather, the origins and manifestations of
claustrophobia are treated with just enough superficiality to justify
certain lines of dialogue. Another example is the representation of
problem-solving behavior. In two crucial spots in the plot, Langdon is
called on to perform major acts of decipherment. The first time is with
respect to the anagrams left by the curator, and the second is with
respect to the cryptex. In both cases he supposedly takes advantage of
his unusual eidetic memory. The main psychological experience in this
film is déjŕ vu
: These episodes are strikingly similar to the
scenes in A Beautiful Mind
(Howard, 2001) in which mathematician
John Nash comes up with his creative (and crazy) ideas. This similarity
is no accident. Not only did Ron Howard direct both movies, but Akiva
Goldsman wrote both screenplays. Any psychologist would also experience
disappointment regarding the motives of the main characters. They all
seem to possess cardboard personalities designed to fill particular
slots in the plot development. But an even more fundamental problem
involves the premise behind the whole film - and here the reviewer may
be guilty of inserting a spoiler. This is the supposed top secret that
all members of the Priory of Sion must protect and that all members of
Opus Dei must destroy forever. The secret is the "fact" that Jesus was
married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a child together. Perhaps
the book provides more justification for why this information would be
so earthshaking, but the film certainly does not succeed. Biblical
prophecies did not require that the Messiah be celibate (and can most
likely be construed to foretell that he would found a new Davidian line
of kings). Nor would the divinity of Jesus have been seriously
compromised had he fathered a child, especially not in the context of
Greco-Roman and Middle Eastern civilizations. Even the great Zeus
impregnated more than his proper share of mortal women. More important,
religion and procreation are not psychological misfits. Many faiths,
such as certain sects in Hinduism and Buddhism, argue for an intimate
relation between the two aspects of the human psyche. The Prophet
Mohammed, the founder of the Islamic religion, had several wives and
numerous children. Although Martin Luther was originally a monk, shortly
after launching the Protestant movement, he married an ex-nun.
Spirituality and sexuality are not inherently antithetical,
psychologically or historically. Accordingly, the reviewer failed to
understand why the postulated mystery should motivate murder. The
reviewer concludes that in a nutshell, whatever its cinematic merits or
demerits, The Da Vinci Code
will never provide provocative film
clips for use in psychology lectures or discussion sections. It is,
quite literally, mindless entertainment.
295. Simonton, D. K. (2006c).
Cinematic creativity and aesthetics: Empirical analyses of movie
awards. In P. Locher, C. Martindale, & L. Dorfman (Eds.), New
directions in aesthetics, creativity, and the arts (pp.
123-136). Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing.
In this chapter I plan to illustrate an analytical strategy that enables
the investigator to examine hundreds, even thousands of films. Besides
studying feature-length films in their entirety, the approach permits
the simultaneous examination of all the major contributions to a film's
cinematic success. To be specific, the methodological approach takes
advantage of the rich amount of raw data already available in archival
sources, whether paper or electronic. The illustrations will entail four
published investigations: (a) film awards and critical acclaim, (b)
creative clusters in cinematic art, (c) budget, box office, and
aesthetic success, and (d) gender differences in acting contributions.
Because these four studies do not answer all of the questions that might
be entertained regarding cinematic creativity and aesthetics, I end this
chapter with a brief discussion of other questions that can be addressed
using the suggested research strategy.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006d). Creative genius, knowledge, and
reason: The lives and works of eminent creators. In J. C. Kaufman &
J. Baer (Eds), Creativity and reason in cognitive development
(pp. 43-59). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
297. Simonton, D. K. (2006e).
Creativity around the world in 80 ways ... but with one destination.
In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), International
handbook of creativity research (pp. 490-496). New York:
Cambridge University Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006f). Creativity in Creating Minds
A retrospective evaluation. In J. A. Schaler (Ed.), Howard Gardner
under fire: A rebel psychologist faces his critics
Chicago: Open Court.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006g). Creativity in the cortex [Review of
the book The creating brain: The neuroscience of genius
, N. C.
This book has many positive features. It is replete with clear
black-and-white photographs of geniuses and their creations. It also is
graced with many direct quotations from great poems-indeed, a poem opens
every chapter. At the same time, the book contains numerous instructive
figures, tables, and brain scans (albeit none of the geniuses). Hence, a
reader casually flipping through the pages would certainly feel that the
volume is about the neuroscience of genius. Better yet, the text is
extremely well written. Andreasen probably writes better than most
psychiatrists, and even better than most former professors of
Renaissance literature. She seems to have a very sharp intellect and an
attractive personality that makes her writing a pleasure to read from
beginning to end. All that said, I felt somewhat disappointed after my
reading was complete. And the more I reflected on what I read, the
greater that disappointment became. Some of my discontentment came from
what some might consider relatively trivial matters. For instance, the
book does not use any of the expected paraphernalia of scholarship,
whether citations, footnotes, or endnotes. As a consequence, the origins
of many of her assertions cannot be determined. Accordingly, the reader
has no way of going to the original articles or books to find additional
information about the reported findings. My biggest disappointment,
however, was where I least expected trouble: Andreasen's treatment of
neuroscience. For the most part, the book consists of two disconnected
discussions: creativity on the one hand and the brain on the other. With
the exception of the research on psychopathology, the two topics are
seldom interlinked even when potential linkages are available in the
literature. So my final assessment is this: Although the book is a
delight to read, we still must wait for a comprehensive treatment of the
neuroscience of creative genius. Perhaps Andreasen should consider
writing a second edition.
300. Simonton, D. K. (2006h).
Historiometric methods. In A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich,
& R. R. Hoffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise
and expert performance (pp. 319-335). New York: Cambridge
. Simonton, D. K. (2006i). Origins of genius [Review of the
book From such simple a beginning: The four great books of Charles
, E. O. Wilson Ed.]. PsycCRITIQUES
This book should catch the eye of any scientific psychologist. The
volume contains Darwin's four most pathbreaking contributions: On
the Origin of Species
, The Descent of Man, and Selection in
Relation to Sex
, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and
, and The Voyage of the Beagle
. Besides Darwin's
own words, the volume contains the thoughts of Edward O. Wilson,
certainly one of the greatest living evolutionary thinkers. Wilson
begins with a general introduction, then adds a specific introduction at
the beginning of each of the four books, and then concludes the whole
anthology with an afterword that devotes some thought to the relation
between evolution and religion. Wilson clearly aimed the introductions
and afterword at a general audience. For those who are already familiar
with Darwin and evolutionary theory, the editor offers no novel
insights. However, the book is attractively produced and priced. Hence,
I strongly recommend the volume for anyone who does not already have the
four works on his or her bookshelf. Few volumes published today contain
so many great ideas in so little space and with such minimal cost.
. Simonton, D. K. (2006j). Nothing more than a university
engaged in teaching, research, and service: Nor less.
In J. G. Irons, B. C. Beins, C. Burke, B. Buskist, V. Hevern, & J.
E. Williams (Eds.), The teaching of psychology in autobiography:
Perspectives from psychology's exemplary teachers
(Vol. 2, pp.
85-91). Washington, DC: Society for the Teaching of Psychology, American
. Simonton, D. K. (2006k). Presidential IQ, Openness,
Intellectual Brilliance, and leadership: Estimates and correlations for
42 US chief executives. Political Psychology
Individual differences in intelligence are consistently associated with
leader performance, including the assessed performance of presidents of
the United States. Given this empirical significance, IQ scores
were estimated for all 42 chief executives from Washington to G. W.
Bush. The scores were obtained by applying missing-values
estimation methods (expectation-maximization) to published assessments
of (a) IQ (Cox, 1926; n
= 8), (b) Intellectual Brilliance
(Simonton, 1986c; n
= 39), and (c) Openness to Experience
(Rubenzer & Faschingbauer, 2004; n
= 32). The
resulting scores were then shown to correlate with evaluations of
presidential leadership performance. The implications for George
W. Bush and his presidency were then discussed.
Simonton, D. K. (2006l). [Review of the book Investigative
pathways: Patterns and stages in the careers of experimental
, F. L. Holmes]. Journal of the History of Medicine
and Allied Sciences
. Simonton, D. K. (2006m). Scientific status of disciplines,
individuals, and ideas: Empirical analyses of the potential impact of
theory. Review of General Psychology
The place of theory in scientific research can be subjected to empirical
investigation. This possibility is illustrated by examining three
issues. First, what determines a scientific discipline's placement in a
hypothesized hierarchy of the sciences? This was addressed in an
analysis of the characteristics that distinguish various disciplines,
including attributes bearing an explicit connection to the role of
theory. Second, what individual research programs are most likely
to have a long-term impact on a scientific discipline? This was
examined by looking at how thematic organization and theoretical
orientation influence a scientist's disciplinary visibility.
Third, what are the features of scientific publications that render some
more successful in terms of long-term influence? This question was
addressed by examining how theoretical content determines the impact of
. Simonton, D. K. (2006n). The Tower of Babel undone. [Review
of the book Empires of the word: A language history of the world
N. Ostler]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51
This book is not a psycholinguistic analysis but rather a historical
survey of the factors that are responsible for some languages becoming
widely spoken. Part 1 consists of two chapters that discuss the nature
of language history. Here the author introduces some of the processes -
such as population growth, diffusion, conquest, and migration - that
figure prominently throughout the remainder of the book. Part 2 then
devotes six chapters to languages that had spread "by land." This
presentation is followed by Part 3, which discusses a more recent
development - languages that spread "by sea" and thus formed
noncontiguous communities. Part 4 has two chapters on the present and
future of the world languages, with special attention to the "current
top 20." The text is also illustrated throughout with 66 maps, 2 tables,
and 12 figures. In addition, the book features an index in which the
world's major languages are put in boldface to make it easier for the
curious reader to seek them out. The reviewer notes that the maps are
sometimes confusing, and the author sometimes overlooks empirical
research that might have shed light on certain topics. Nonetheless, the
reviewer states that the author does an excellent job of presenting
various theories and disproving them one by one. He is also willing to
put forth his own hypotheses about the factors that determine the
differential success of languages on the world stage.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007a). Achievement. In J. E. Birren (Ed.),
Encyclopedia of gerontology
(2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 20-29). San
Diego, CA: Academic Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007b). But is truth beautiful, or beauty
symmetric? [Review of the book Why beauty is truth: A history of
, I. Stewart]. PsycCRITIQUES
The book is organized as a series of historical narratives; each chapter
is devoted to a particular big name in the history of symmetry. The
book's historical narrative spans a tremendous range of topics:
quadratic, cubic, quartic, and quintic equations; regular polygons;
Fermat's Last Theorem; non-Euclidean geometry; imaginary and complex
numbers; quaternions and octonions; transcendental numbers; group
theory; the Fano plane; topology; Maxwell's equations; quantum
mechanics; antimatter; the special and general theories of relativity;
cosmology; string theory and superstring theory, and loop quantum
gravity. The reviewer greatly enjoyed the book but criticized the
author's attempt to combine the history of ideas with the intimate
biographies of those who have contributed those ideas, believing that
this was too much of a distraction. Another, more serious problem, was
that the reviewer lost the overall thread in the author's thesis, with
large sections of the book lacking any explicit reference to the core
theme. Finally, the reviewer laments that the author never truly
grapples with the various forms that beauty may take, and that symmetry
is only one form.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007c). Chance. In N. J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia
of measurement and statistics
(Vol. 1, pp. 129-133). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007d). Cinema composers: Career
trajectories for creative productivity in film music. Psychology of
Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
It was hypothesized that film composers, like classical composers, have
career trajectories that are endogenously rather than exogenously driven
(i.e., contingent on internal processes rather than external
influences). Study 1 examined 153 composers who composed original film
music or music adapted later for film. The correlations among the number
of total hits and the ages at first hit, best hit, and last hit followed
the same pattern as found for classical composers. Study 2 concentrated
on a subset of 78 composers who were nominees or awardees for best score
or song from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The
analyses indicated the same predicted configuration of correlations
among the number of total nominations and the ages at first nomination,
first award, last award, and last nomination. Furthermore, the
longitudinal placement of the career landmarks corresponded closely
across the two studies: first hit with first nomination, best hit with
first award, and last hit with last award. The endogenous determination
of the career course helps explain the poor association between
exceptional film music and the corresponding film's cinematic success.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007e). The creative process in Picasso's
Guernica sketches: Monotonic improvements or nonmonotonic variants' Creativity
A controversy has emerged over whether Picasso's sketches for Guernica
illustrate a Darwinian process of blind-variation and
selective-retention (i.e., nonmonotonic variants) rather than a more
systematic, expertise-driven process (i.e., monotonic
improvements). This issue is objectively addressed by having
judges (1 pro-Darwinian, 2 anti-Darwinian, and 2 neutral) rank the
figural components according to their perceived progress toward the
final version of the painting. Besides strongly agreeing on the
perceived order (composite progress score alpha
= .85), the
independent judges concurred that this order was conspicuously
nonmonotonic, with minimal tendency to converge on the end result.
These conclusions held not only for the sketches as a whole, but also
for the sequence of sketches for the separate figural elements of the
painting. Hence, Picasso's creative process is best described as
producing blind nonmonotonic variants rather than expert monotonic
improvements. The general method used in this study can be
extended to other documentary evidence - such as musical sketches,
literary drafts, and laboratory notebooks - to determine the extent to
which creativity operates in a Darwinian manner.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007f). Creative life cycles in literature:
Poets versus novelists or conceptualists versus experimentalists' Psychology
of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
The economist Galenson (2005) proposed a theory of creative life cycles
that distinguishes between early-peaking conceptual creators (finders)
and late-peaking experimental creators (seekers). This contrast is
claimed to invalidate previous research findings that poets tend to peak
earlier than novelists. However, a multiple regression analysis of his
published data on 23 creative writers shows that the poetry-novel genre
contrast makes a contribution to the prediction of the career trajectory
that is orthogonal to the conceptual-experimental contrast. The result
is a fourfold typology of creative life cycles: conceptual poets,
conceptual novelists, experimental poets, and experimental novelists who
do their best work at ages 28, 34, 38, and 44, respectively. The article
closes with a discussion of additional empirical and theoretical issues.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007g). Creativity. In R. F. Baumeister
& K. D. Vohs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social psychology
200-202). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007h). Creativity. In J. E. Birren (Ed.),
Encyclopedia of gerontology
(2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 316-325). San
Diego, CA: Academic Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007i). Creativity: Specialized expertise
or general cognitive processes? In M. J. Roberts (Ed.), Integrating
the mind: Domain general versus domain specific processes in higher
(pp. 351-367). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007j). Don't worry, be high in subjective
well being! [Review of the documentary short How Happy Can You Be?
L. Hatland, Director.]. PsycCRITIQUES
Researchers associated with the positive psychology movement study not
just special virtues and talents but also the psychological quality of
our everyday lives. Perhaps the most important of these qualities is
happiness, or what researchers are more likely to refer to as subjective
well-being, a more scientific-sounding term. Hence, many positive
psychologists have tried to tease out the causes of human happiness. Why
are some people seemingly happier than others? Why do some nations seem
to be filled with happy people whereas other nations appear to be
populated by far more discontented folk? Does money buy happiness? Is
there anything we can do to enhance our own subjective well-being?
Should we really want to do so? Does happiness live up to all the hype?
Might not mere contentment have its advantages? Is there a downside to
never being down? These are the kinds of questions addressed by Line
Hatland in her fascinating documentary How happy can you be?. Given the
nature of the topic, this product might be considered as falling under
the genre of an educational video designed for classroom use. Yet this
documentary also has the attributes of a standard film designed for
. Simonton, D. K. (2007k). Film music: Are award-winning
scores and songs heard in successful motion pictures? Psychology of
Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Using a sample of 401 feature-length narrative films released between
1998 and 2003, the current study examines whether award-winning film
music is more likely to appear in successful films. Film success
was measured using two measures of critical evaluations, a composite
measure of best picture awards and nominations, and box office gross,
whereas the success of the film music was gauged by the number of awards
and award nominations received. In addition, control variables
were defined for production costs, release date, release season,
runtime, MPAA rating, and genre (drama, comedy, romance, musical,
animation, and foreign-language). Although music awards and nominations
were positively correlated with film success, the score rather than song
was primarily responsible for the relationship. Moreover, after
introducing the control variables, song awards had no relation
whatsoever, whereas score awards were still positively associated with
the film success as measured by best-picture nominations and awards.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007l). The forward march of psychological
science and practice. [Review of the book Portraits of pioneers of
, D. A. Dewsbury, L. T. Benjamin, & M. Wertheimer
This book is the sixth in a series that began in 1991. Wertheimer was
involved in editing all six volumes, and Kimble, on the first five. As
is noted in the book's preface, the goal of the series is to "provide a
set of chapters about both the scholarly and personal lives of
psychologists who have made significant contributions to the development
of the field" (p. ix). The earlier volumes contain chapters devoted to
the lives and works of some of the greatest names in the history of
psychology. As the editors note, "This volume is a bit of a departure
from previous ones in that we have concentrated more on authors who have
made substantial contributions to the field of the history of
psychology" (p. x). Moreover, despite the greater historical expertise
of the solicited writers, every chapter is extremely readable. All of
the chapters - but especially those about the less well-known figures -
should be of interest to historians of psychology, including those who
teach the subject at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007m). Historiometrics. In N. J. Salkind
(Ed.), Encyclopedia of measurement and statistics
(Vol. 2, p.
441). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007n). Is bad art the opposite of good
art? Positive versus negative cinematic assessments of 877 feature
films. Empirical Studies of the Arts
Although some research suggests that negative judgments might be more
complex and more potent than positive judgments, cinematic assessments
may offer an instance of a genuine bipolar evaluative dimension.
This is shown in an analysis of 877 feature films that received positive
(Oscars) or negative (Razzie) recognition in the categories of
best/worst picture, director, male and female lead, male and female
supporting actor, screenplay, and original song (whether nomination or
actual award). These assessments were compared with film critic
evaluations, financial and box office data, and several relevant
cinematic attributes (e.g., literary adaptations, writer-directors,
biopics, sequels, remakes, film genres, runtime, and MPAA ratings).
Analyses indicated that negative assessments were largely the inverse of
positive assessments, with similar weights being assigned to most
cinematic attributes. However, the negative judgments were
somewhat less consequential regarding those same attributes.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007o). Picasso's Guernica
creativity as a Darwinian process: Definitions, clarifications,
misconceptions, and applications. Creativity Research Journal
The author responds to four commentaries on Simonton (2007e). The
response deals with two sets of issues. First are criticisms of the
Darwinian theory of creativity, especially as applied to Picasso's
sketches for the Guernica. These criticisms range from the presumed role
of associative processes to the essential nature of any Darwinian model.
The second set of issues pertains to diverse methodological objections
with respect to measurement and data analysis. The author responds to
each and every point. The author concludes not only that Picasso's
creative process is best described as Darwinian, but also that the
Darwinian theory of creativity has been notably strengthened by the
. Simonton, D. K. (2007p). The psychology of creativity. In M.
J. Epstein, T. Davila, & R. D. Shelton (Eds.), The creative
enterprise: Vol. 2. Culture
. Simonton, D. K. (2007q). Psychology's limits as a scientific
discipline: A personal view. Applied & Preventive Psychology:
Current Scientific Perspectives
, 12, 35-36.
I provided a more personal view of Wachtel's (1980) article. I began by
discussing the extent to which my own research program complied with his
distinctive recommendations. After offering a different take on the
impact of high productivity, I focused on (a) the negative effects of
the quest for extramural funding and (b) the positive effects of a
better balance between theoretical and empirical contributions. I then
turn to some of my own theoretical and empirical studies of the place
that theory has in successful science. This research suggests that
theory only has a beneficial effect when it is integrative in function
and when it is closely constrained by available data. I end with a
speculation regarding the value of having theories that are maximally
formal, even mathematical.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007r). [Review of the book Creativity:
Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice
, Mark A.
Runco]. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Reviews the book, Creativity: Theories and themes: Research,
development, and practice
by Mark A. Runco. This book consists of
11 chapters with the following titles: "Cognition and Creativity,"
"Developmental Trends and Influences on Creativity," "Biological
Perspectives on Creativity," "Health and Clinical Perspectives,"
"Social, Attributional, and Organizational Perspectives," "Educational
Perspectives," "History and Historiometry," "Culture and Creativity,"
"Personality and Motivation," "Enhancement and the Fulfillment of
Potential," and "Conclusion: What Creativity Is and What It Is Not."
Beyond this all-encompassing content, the volume is crammed with
illustrations and with all those "boxes" that are so characteristic of
introductory textbooks in psychology. Each chapter also begins with
appropriate quotations and a didactic "Advanced Organizer." Finally,
Runco closes with 63 pages of references and a 15-page subject index.
The reviewer has one major complaint: Runco seems to have adopted an
"open the floodgates" approach that sometimes results in the almost
willy nilly insertion of ideas and material. One consequence of this
tendency is that the illustrations and boxes are at times less useful
than they ought to be. Another repercussion of Runco's leave-nothing-out
approach is that it occasionally leads to the presentation of ideas with
minimal if any discussion or commentary. The reviewer does assert
though, that for someone in the market for a text for use in an
introductory creativity course, a book that is wide-ranging and most
current, Runco's Creativity
is a good choice.
. Simonton, D. K. (2007s). The social context of innovation.
In M. J. Epstein, T. Davila, & R. D. Shelton (Eds.), The
creative enterprise: Vol. 2. Culture
. Simonton, D. K. (2007t). Talent and expertise: The empirical
evidence for genetic endowment. High Ability Studies
. Simonton, D. K. (2007u). Why get your undergraduate
education at a major research university? Explorations: The UC Davis
Undergraduate Research Journal
. Song, A. V., & Simonton, D. K. (2007). Personality
assessment at a distance: Quantitative methods. In R. W. Robins, R. C.
Fraley, & R. F. Krueger (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in
(pp. 308-321). New York: Guilford Press.
. Nielsen, B. D., Pickett, C. L., & Simonton, D. K.
(2008). Conceptual versus experimental creativity: Which works best on
convergent and divergent thinking tasks? Psychology of Aesthetics,
Creativity, and the Arts, 2
Galenson's research on creativity has identified two unique creative
methods: conceptual and experimental. These methods have different
processes, goals, purposes and strategies for innovation. In order to
determine (a) if college students use one method more than the other,
and (b) if one method is superior to the other, 115 college students
were randomly assigned to utilize the conceptual creative method, the
experimental creative method, or their own creative method (i.e., how
they would solve a creative problem without instruction) while
completing two types of convergent and divergent thinking tasks.
Participants using the experimental creative method performed better on
both types of convergent thinking tasks and most participants using the
experimental creative method were unaware of this increase in
. Pardoe, I., & Simonton, D. K. (2008). Applying discrete
choice models to predict Academy Award winners. Journal of the Royal
Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society)
Every year since 1928, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
has recognized outstanding achievement in film with their prestigious
Academy Award, or Oscar. Before the winners in various categories are
announced, there is intense media and public interest in predicting who
will come away from the awards ceremony with an Oscar statuette. There
are no end of theories about which nominees are most likely to win, yet
despite this, there continue to be major surprises when the winners are
announced. This article frames the question of predicting the four major
awards - picture, director, actor in a leading role, actress in a
leading role - as a discrete choice problem. It is then possible to
predict the winners in these four categories with a reasonable degree of
success. The analysis also reveals which past results might be
considered truly surprising - nominees with low estimated probability of
winning who have overcome nominees who were strongly favored to win.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008a). Bilingualism and creativity.
In J. Altarriba & R. R. Heredia (Eds.), An introduction to
bilingualism: Principles and practices
Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008b). Childhood giftedness and adulthood
genius: A historiometric analysis of 291 eminent African Americans. Gifted
Although the association between giftedness and genius has been the
subject of several retrospective, longitudinal, and historiometric
studies, this research concentrated on majority-culture samples. Hence,
in the current study Cox's (1926) findings regarding 301 geniuses were
replicated on a sample of 291 eminent African Americans. Relative genius
was measured by two archival eminence measures (majority White and
minority Black culture) and by scores on the Creative Achievement Scale
(Ludwig, 1992). Giftedness was assessed by raters who were blind to the
identity of the individuals being evaluated. Control variables were
defined for gender, year of birth, status as a living contemporary, and
18 domains of achievement. Multiple regression analyses indicated that
adulthood eminence and creative achievement are positively correlated
with early giftedness, with an effect size comparable to that found in
the Cox study. Furthermore, this association was not moderated by
gender, birth year, and most of the remaining variables.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008c). Cliometrics. In W. A. Darity, Jr.
(Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences
ed., Vol. 1, pp. 581-583). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008d). Creative wisdom: Similarities,
contrasts, integration, and application. In A. Craft, H. Gardner, &
G. Claxton (Eds.), Creativity, wisdom, and trusteeship: Exploring
the role of education
(pp. 68-76). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin
. Simonton, D. K. (2008e). Distribution, normal. In W. A.
Darity, Jr. (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences
(2nd ed., Vol. 2, 415-417). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008f). Gender differences in birth order
and family size among 186 eminent psychologists. Journal of
Psychology of Science and Technology
Ever since Galton (1874) research has indicated that earlier born
children are overrepresented among distinguished scientists, even after
controlling for family size. Other studies imply that the developmental
asset of an early ordinal position could be even stronger for eminent
women. This hypothesis was tested using a sample of illustrious
psychologists born between 1802 and 1952 (112 women and 74 men). Not
only did women tend to have earlier birth orders, but also the relation
between family size and birth order was far weaker for women than for
men. In fact, where for men birth order was a positive monotonic
function of family size, for women it was a nonmonotonic single-peaked
function. These gender differences were stable across historical time
and survived control for differences in eminence and year of birth.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008g). Creativity and genius. In O. P.
John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of
personality: Theory and research
(3rd ed., pp. 679-698). New
York: Guilford Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008h). Going on living when you're buried
alive. [Review of the motion picture The Diving Bell and the
, Julian Schnabel, Director.]. PsycCRITIQUES
Imagine you wake up and life is a blur. You realize that you're almost
totally paralyzed from head to foot and can see only the limited world
around you from a single eye. People talk to you, but you cannot
respond. Your ability to enter into the social exchanges that are part
of everyday human life is cruelly truncated. You learn from the
physician that you had a massive stroke and that you are now suffering
from what is known as "locked-in syndrome." Your intellectual and
emotional capacities are untouched, but you have become pure mind sans
body - with one crucial exception. You can move one eyelid. A therapist
informs you that she has a system by which you can again communicate
with the world. She'll just read through a list of letters ordered
according to frequency of use, and you blink when she gets to the right
letter. Almost immediately you use this new-found power to tell the
therapist, "I want to die." Yet you're encouraged to "hang on to the
human who is inside you," and you decide on a more creative and adaptive
response. You'll write a book about your new life. It is called The
Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This is the life of Schnabel. His book
was later turned into the film. As for the film, the reviewer will not
say that the motion picture is perfect. he would give it only four stars
out of five. One problem is that the filmmakers did not shy away from
revealing the fact that the protagonist was not a particularly
sympathetic human being prior to his stroke. At the same time, the
filmmakers had no qualms about casting rather attractive women as his
caretakers. So at times his empathetic feelings were attenuated by the
fleeting thought that this guy was a womanizing jerk.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008i). Napoleon complex. In W. A. Darity,
Jr. (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences
(2nd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 366-367). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008j). Practicing essential cinematic sex.
[Review of the motion picture Lust, Caution
, A. Lee, Director.].
Practicing essential cinematic sex. PsycCRITIQUES, 53
Lee is willing to take advantage of his reputation to expand the
boundaries of mainstream cinema. This willingness became strikingly
apparent in Brokeback Mountain, a love story about two cowboys. Although
the story Lust, Caution
centers on a heterosexual love affair, Lee pushes the limit in a
different direction: Where Brokeback stayed within the bounds of an
R-rated film, Lee thrusts this film quite emphatically into NC-17
territory. The reviewer states we have to be grateful that the director
had sufficient artistic freedom to have the final word on the film's
Motion Picture Association of America rating. In my opinion, Ang Lee
practiced essential cinematic sex.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008k). Presidential greatness and its
socio-psychological significance: Individual or situation? Performance
or attribution? In C. Hoyt, G. R. Goethals, & D. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership
the crossroads: Vol. 1. Psychology and leadership
Westport, CT: Praeger.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008l). Scientific talent, training, and
performance: Intellect, personality, and genetic endowment. Review
of General Psychology
Despite over a century of research, psychologists have still not
established scientific talent as an empirically demonstrable phenomenon.
To help solve this problem, a talent definition was first proposed that
provided the basis for three quantitative estimators of criterion
heritability that can be applied to meta-analytic and behavior genetic
research concerning the intellectual and personality predictors of
scientific training and performance. After specifying the ideal data
requirements for the application of the three estimators, the procedures
were applied to previously published results. Personality traits were
illustrated using the California Psychological Inventory and the Eysenck
Personality Questionnaire with respect to two criteria (scientists
versus nonscientists and creative scientists versus less creative
scientists) and intellectual traits using the Miller Analogies Test with
respect to seven criteria (graduate grade point average, faculty
ratings, comprehensive examination scores, degree attainment, and
research productivity, etc.). The outcome provides approximate,
lower-bound estimates of the genetic contribution to scientific training
and performance. Subsequent discussion concerns what future research is
necessary for a more complete understanding of scientific talent as an
. Simonton, D. K. (2008m). Self-actualization. In W. A.
Darity, Jr. (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences
(2nd ed., Vol. 7, pp. 394-396). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
. Simonton, D. K. (2008n). Willing creation. In J. Baer, J. C.
Kaufman, & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Are we free? Psychology and
(pp. 296-303). New York: Oxford University Press.
The chapter discusses the place of volition in the act of creation.
Discussion of this issue raises something of a paradox. The human will
has both a major role in creativity and a very minor role in creativity.
In a sense, creative thought is a function of both active and passive
processes - of yang and yin. This conclusion is apparent from research
on the creative process and its relation to incubation, serendipity,
chance, regression behavior genetics, psychoticism, expertise
development, and multiples. The safest conclusion is simply that
creativity is a complex consequence of the interaction between willful
independence and will-free contingency.
. Simonton, D. K., Moore, T. L., & Shaughnessy, M. F.
(2008). A reflective conversation with Dean Keith Simonton. North
American Journal of Psychology
Presents a reflective conversation with Dean Keith Simonton. Topics of
discussion in the conversation include writing, researching,
historiometric inquiry, socio-cultural context of the psychology of
science, personality and individual differences, and motivation.
. Cerridwen, A., & Simonton, D. K. (2009). Sex doesn't
sell - nor impress: Content, box office, critics, and awards in
mainstream cinema. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the
Although it is commonly assumed that "sex sells" in mainstream cinema,
recent research indicates a far more ambiguous relation between strong
sexual content and financial performance. Moreover, such content may not
be justified by either critical evaluations or movie awards. The
literature even suggests that cinematic sex may reflect long-term gender
biases in the film industry. The current study investigates these issues
by addressing two questions. First, what is the impact of sex and other
graphic content on the central criteria of cinematic success? Second, to
what extent is such content contingent on the proportion of women
engaged in filmmaking, whether as producers, directors, writers, or
actors? Analyses of 914 films released between 2001 and 2005 indicated
that sex and nudity do not, on the average, boost box office, earn
critical acclaim, or win major awards. Although female involvement does
influence a film's content, the only impact on the presence of sex and
nudity is the proportion of women who make up the cast. Notwithstanding
statistical complications, the best conclusion is that graphic sex
neither sells nor impresses.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009a). Applying the psychology of science
to the science of psychology: Can psychologists use psychological
science to enhance psychology as a science? Perspectives on
Added to the already tremendous diversity of subdisciplines of
psychological science is the psychology of science. Although research on
the psychology of science began in 1874, the field has seen a
substantial expansion of activity in recent years. One particular subset
of this research literature has special importance, namely inquiries
into the psychology of doing great science. These investigations may be
assigned into four groups: cognitive, differential, developmental, and
social. Each of these deal with critical questions that can, if
answered, contribute directly to the improvement of psychology as a
science. Potential applications include (a) the identification of
scientific talent in psychology, (b) the education of future
investigators in psychological science, and (c) the evaluation of
psychology's progress as a scientific endeavor.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009b). Archival methods. In H. Reis &
S. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships
pp. 104-105). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009c). Cinema talent: Individual and
collective. In L. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook of
(Part One, pp. 699-712). New York: Springer.
Cinema is an unusual form of achievement in that it involves both (a)
extensive collaborative effort and (b) considerable financial resources.
A series of investigations examines the operation of both these
characteristics in large samples of award-winning films. These empirical
studies reveal the multidimensional complexity of cinematic products and
indicate the dimensions that are most critical for understanding
individual contributions to the collective products. Especially crucial
are those who contribute to the dramatic qualities of film, especially
the screenplay and direction. Hence, future research should focus on the
factors that underlie giftedness and talent in screenwriters and
. Simonton, D. K. (2009d). Cinematic success, aesthetics, and
economics: An exploratory recursive model. Psychology of Creativity,
Aesthetics, and the Arts
Although the reputation of creative artists is based largely on the
merit of their work, the latter can sometimes be assessed in several
different ways that may not necessarily agree. This lack of evaluative
consensus is perhaps most apparent in cinematic success; this can be
judged by film critics (initial and final), movie awards (picture,
dramatic, visual, technical, and music), and box office performance
(including both first weekend and later gross). Previous research not
only shows that these success criteria may not always agree, but also
that the criteria may have distinct aesthetic and economic antecedents.
However, because the success criteria emerge at distinct points across
time, a recursive model can be developed that describes the
relationships among the criteria as well as their differential
dependence on the predictive factors most frequently identified in the
literature. The model was constructed using a sample of 1006
English-language, live-action, feature-length narrative films released
between 2000 and 2006. The resulting equations indicate the complexity
of cinematic success. Nonetheless, overriding this complexity is the
fundamental contrast between film as art and film as entertainment.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009e). Cinematic success criteria and
their predictors: The art and business of the film industry. Psychology
The author reviewed the empirical research on the factors underlying the
success of feature-length narrative films. After specifying some
methodological caveats, the review examined the three main criteria by
which a film's success can be evaluated: critical evaluations (both
early and post theatrical run), financial performance (including first
weekend and gross), and movie awards (including dramatic, visual,
technical, and music categories). To what extent do these criteria
represent distinct aesthetic and economic assessments? The review then
turned to the various predictors of these success criteria. How is
success connected with the film's production and distribution
characteristics? To what extent do the predictors converge and diverge
across alternative criteria? The article then closed with a discussion
of some psychological issues raised by the reviewed findings.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009f). Controversial and volatile flicks:
Contemporary consensus and temporal stability in film critic
assessments. Creativity Research Journal
Prior research has shown that the aesthetic assessments by film critics
display a high level of concurrent consensus and temporal stability.
However, neither the consensus nor the stability is so great as to
preclude evaluative disagreements and reassessments (e.g., sleepers and
faders). The present investigation was designed to identify the
predictors of these concurrent and temporal departures from critical
congruence. The potential predictors were variables that emerged in
previous research on the determinants of cinematic creativity: (a)
financial data, such as production budget and box office performance;
(b) movie awards and nominations in the major categories (viz. picture
and the dramatic, visual, technical, and music clusters of honors); and
(c) film attributes, such as the MPAA rating, running time, and
screenplay characteristics like sequels, remakes, and adaptations (from
plays, novels, nonfiction, etc.). Both simultaneous and stepwise
regression analyses indicated that the cinematic exceptions to critical
consensus and stability were predictable. However, because the
predictors only accounted for between 10 and 15% of the variance and
were not the same for dissent and instability, the departures cannot be
said to contaminate the critics' evaluations in any systematic manner.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009g). Creative genius in classical music:
Biographical influences on composition and eminence. The
. Simonton, D. K. (2009h). Creativity. In C. R. Snyder &
S. J. Lopez (Eds.), The handbook of positive psychology
ed., pp. 261-269). New York: Oxford University Press.
Because creativity is often viewed as a highly positive human capacity
both at the individual and societal levels, the chapter provides an
overview of what psychologists have learned about this phenomenon. After
beginning with the definition of creativity in terms of adaptive
originality, the review turns to how measurement depends on whether
creativity is to be treated as a process, a person, or a product. The
next section of the review concentrates on the principal empirical
results, with special focus on the two findings that would seem to be
especially germane for positive psychology, namely (a) the impact of
early trauma on creative development and (b) the relation between
creativity and psychopathology. This section is followed by a discussion
of the two key theoretical issues that pervade research on creativity:
the nature-nurture question and the small-c versus big-C creativity
question. Once these empirical and theoretical matters have been
discussed, the article can progress to a treatment of some practical
applications. These applications concern creativity-improving techniques
that can be implemented during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. The
chapter closes with a brief discussion of the most fruitful directions
for future research on creativity. Despite the tremendous accumulation
of knowledge about the phenomenon, a lot of unanswered questions remain.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009i). Creativity as a Darwinian
phenomenon: The blind-variation and selective-retention model. In M.
Krausz, D. Dutton, & K. Bardsley (Eds.), The idea of creativity
(2nd ed., pp. 63-81). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
Charles Darwin's theory of biological evolution has often served as a
model for human creativity. The most influential application is Donald
T. Campbell's (1960) blind-variation and selective-retention model. The
BVSR model has undergone recent development into a full-fledged
theoretical framework. Moreover, substantial empirical research on the
creative process, the creative personality, and creative development
provide support for the theory's key claims. One special feature of the
theory is that it provides a basis for ordering domains according to the
degree to which creativity in those domains is dependent on BVSR
processes (e.g, science < art; paradigmatic science <
nonparadigmatic science; formal/classical art < expressive/romantic
art). Corresponding to this placement would be expected differences in
the disposition and development of the domain's creators.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009j). The decline and fall of musical
art: What happened to classical composers? Empirical Studies of the
Martindale (2009) asserted that a dialectic conflict between novelty and
intelligibility causes serious art to go into a death spiral. This
assertion is examined with respect to classical music. More
specifically, three questions are addressed. First, did classical music
truly decline and die? Second, why did it do so? Third, where did
would-be classical composers end up in the absence of classical music?
It seems that the decadence is real, and that Martindale's explanation
has some merit. Even so, classical composers still exist. We just call
them cinema composers. And they jumped off a sinking ship to board a
. Simonton, D. K. (2009k). Emotion and composition in
classical music: Historiometric perspectives. In P. Juslin & J.
Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research,
(pp. 347-366). New York: Oxford University Press.
Simonton, D. K. (2009l). Genetic Studies of Genius. In B.
Kerr (Ed.), Encyclopedia of giftedness, creativity, and talent
(Vol. 1, pp. 373-375). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009m). Genius, creativity, and leadership.
In T. Rickards, M. Runco, & S. Moger (Eds.), Routledge companion
London: Taylor & Francis.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009n). Genius 101
New York: Springer Publishing.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009o). Giftedness: The gift that keeps on
giving. In T. Balchin, B. Hymer, & D. Matthews (Eds.), The
Routledge international companion to gifted education
26-31). London: Routledge.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009p). Gifts, talents, and their societal
repercussions. In L. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook of
(Part Two, pp. 905-912). New York: Springer.
There are a number of ways of justifying special programs for the gifted
and talented, but certainly among the most practically important
concerns the societal benefits of adulthood achievements. This
justification is elaborated by considering the cross-sectional
distribution of impact in various domains of achievement. Because this
distribution is highly skewed, with an extremely long upper tail, a
large proportion of the contributions to any domain come from a small
number of contributors. This means that any failure to promote the
actualization of potential of this productive elite can have
consequences out of proportion to the number of individuals involved.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009q). Historiometry. In B. Kerr (Ed.), Encyclopedia
of giftedness, creativity, and talent
(Vol. 1, pp. 422-424).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009r). Historiometry in personality and
social psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass
Historiometry is one of the oldest methods in personality and social
psychology. In fact, the first professional publication in experimental
social psychology also incorporated a historiometric study. The present
review article begins by describing the nature of the technique with
respect to unit definition and sampling, the several approaches to
measuring variables, and the correlational nature of the statistical
analyses. This description also pinpoints some of the unique
characteristics of the approach. These attributes and other attributes
are then illustrated using the historiometric research on assessed
leadership of United States presidents. This research has converged on a
single predictive equation that has been successfully replicated and
extended over a quarter century of research. The article closes with a
brief evaluation of historiometry's future prospects in the field.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009s). How thin is the partition? Where
does it reside? [Review of the documentaries Hidden Gifts
Higgins, Director, and Between Madness and Art
, Christian Beetz,
The first film, Between madness and art
, is a 75-min documentary
devoted to the Prinzhorn Collection of drawings, paintings, and
sculptures by schizophrenic patients. Dr. Hans Prinzhorn had begun
collecting these works in the 1920s while he was director of the
Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic. Besides ample images taken from the
collection, the documentary includes interviews with psychotherapists,
artists, the current collection director, and two contemporary
outpatient artists. The second film, Hidden gifts
, is a concise,
25-min documentary focused on a single Scotsman named Angus MacPhee.
Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1946, he was sent to a
psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for a half century. As a kind of
protest, he adopted elective mutism, refusing to speak to any of the
staff. Yet MacPhee seemed to express himself in a strikingly different
way: He would go out to the nearby fields and use grass to weave various
articles of clothing, such as boots, coats, and gloves. These ephemeral
products of his imagination were destroyed each year by the hospital
staff without his registering any complaint. Taken together, the two
films raise many fascinating issues.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009t). The literary genius of William
Shakespeare: Empirical lessons drawn from his dramatic and poetic
creativity. In S. B. Kaufman & J. C. Kaufman (Eds), The
psychology of creative writing
(pp. 131-145). New York: Cambridge
. Simonton, D. K. (2009u). The "other IQ": Historiometric
assessments of intelligence and related constructs. Review of
General Psychology, 13
Running parallel to mainstream research on the psychometric assessment
of intelligence is another tradition of research on the historiometric
assessment of intelligence and closely affiliated variables.
Historiometric assessment is based on four data sources: (a) personality
sketches (e.g., Intellectual Brilliance), (b) developmental histories
(e.g., IQ), (c) content analyses (e.g., integrative complexity), and (d)
expert surveys (e.g., Openness to Experience). The first two represent
major lines of intelligence research that involved key figures in the
development of corresponding psychometric methods (e.g., Galton, Terman,
and Thorndike), whereas the last two constitute independent research
paradigms that later intersected with the first two. The literature on
US presidents then provides an integrated illustration of the four
historiometric approaches and how they converge on the same broad
conclusions. Significantly, historiometric investigations on the
relation between broadly-defined intelligence and adulthood achievement
obtain about the same effect size as found in psychometric research
s or betas = .25 ± .10). Because historiometric and
psychometric studies have rather distinctive methodological advantages
and disadvantages, this consistent outcome provides corroborative
support for both sets of empirical findings.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009v). Political leaders. In B. Kerr
(Ed.), Encyclopedia of giftedness, creativity, and talent
2, 683-684). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009w). Presidential leadership styles: How
do they map onto charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leadership? In
F. J. Yammarino & F. Dansereau (Eds.), Research in Multi-Level
Issues: Vol. 8. Multi-level issues in organizational behavior and
(pp. 123-133). Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Mumford, Hunter, Friedrich, and Caughron (2009) discuss at length three
generic types of extraordinary leadership: charismatic, ideological, and
pragmatic. I raise the question of whether this general framework
applies to more focused domains of leadership. More specifically, I
discuss my own research on leadership styles in the US presidency -
interpersonal, charismatic, deliberative, creative, and neurotic - and
then examine whether these five styles have some correspondence to the
three broad types.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009x). Scientific creativity as a
combinatorial process: The chance baseline. In P. Meusburger, J. Funke,
& E. Wunder (Eds.). Milieus of creativity
The chapter puts forward the thesis that the key features of scientific
creativity can be explicated in terms of combinatorial models. Such
models can explain the most aspects of the phenomenon with the fewest
possible assumptions, and thus satisfies the law of parsimony or
Ockham's razor. At the very minimum the models provide a baseline for
comparing explanations that try to explain the same phenomena using more
assumptions. The argument begins with six core assumptions that specify
how combinatorial creativity operates in the context of the individual
scientist, the concepts and ideas that constitute the domain, and the
colleagues and associates who define the field. These six assumptions
then lead to several implications with respect to (a) scientific careers
(individual variation and longitudinal change in output) and (b)
scientific communities (namely the central attributes of multiple
discovery and invention). The theory then undergoes elaboration in terms
of a more complex mathematical model that makes highly precise and
empirically distinctive predictions. The chapter ends with a discussion
of how the combinatorial models connect with other empirical findings
regarding scientific creativity.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009y). Shakespeare's "small Latin and less
Greek"? Scientific perspectives on education, achieved eminence, and the
authorship controversy. Mensa Research Journal
Although William Shakespeare is widely seen as one of the greatest
writers in world literature, a serious debate rages about the author's
true identity. On the one hand, the traditional Stratfordians maintain
that a man baptized as Shakspere wrote the plays and poems. On the other
hand, the anti-Stratfordians have advocated alternative candidates such
as Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon, and Neville. One of the central issues in
this debate concerns the relation between education and genius. Is
genius ingrained or must it be trained? To address this issue, I present
a review of the most germane scientific inquiries. Even though genius in
literature does not have to be associated with high levels of formal
education, such achievement is correlated with extensive self education,
that is, extensive reading in childhood and adolescence. These empirical
results are then used to discuss the plausibility of the Stratfordian
candidate. This issue needs to be resolved if we ever wish to understand
other features of the author, such as this genius's most probable IQ.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009z). Varieties of perspectives on
creativity. Perspectives on Psychological Science
The author of the target article concentrates on two broad issues raised
by the four commentaries: the hierarchical model of domains and
individual differences in creativity. In the first case, additional
research is cited to address (a) the contrast between "hard" and "soft"
domains and (b) the application of this contrast to children,
adolescents, and non-eminent adults. In the second case, two recent
studies are shown to confirm the model's predictions regarding personal
creative achievement. It is hoped that the target article, the
commentaries, and this reply will inspire future inquiries into
creativity in all its disciplinary varieties.
. Simonton, D. K. (2009aa).Varieties of (scientific)
creativity: A hierarchical model of disposition, development, and
achievement. Perspectives on Psychological Science
Prior research supports the inference that scientific disciplines can be
ordered into a hierarchy from the "hard" natural sciences to the "soft"
social sciences. This ordering corresponds with such objective criteria
as disciplinary consensus, knowledge obsolescence rate, anticipation
frequency, theories-to-laws ratio, lecture disfluency, and age at
recognition. It is then argued that this hierarchy can be (a)
extrapolated to encompass the humanities and arts and (b) interpolated
within specific domains to accommodate contrasts in subdomains (e.g.,
revolutionary versus normal science). This expanded and more finely
differentiated hierarchy is then shown to have a partial psychological
basis in terms of dispositional traits (e.g., psychopathology) and
developmental experiences (e.g., family background). This demonstration
then leads to three hypotheses about how a creator's domain-specific
impact depends on his or her disposition and development: the
domain-progressive, domain-typical, and domain-regressive creator
hypotheses. Studies published thus far lend the most support to the
domain-regressive creator hypothesis. In particular, major contributors
to a domain are more likely to have dispositional traits and
developmental experiences most similar to those that prevail in a domain
lower in the disciplinary hierarchy. However, some complications to this
generalization suggest the need for more research on the proposed
. Simonton, D. K., & Song, A. V. (2009). Eminence, IQ,
physical and mental health, and achievement domain: Cox's 282 geniuses
revisited. Psychological Science
Catharine Cox published two studies of highly eminent creators and
leaders, the first in 1926 as volume two of Terman's (1925-1959)
landmark Genetic Studies of Genius and the second in 1936 as a
co-authored article. The former publication concentrated on the relation
between IQ and achieved eminence whereas the latter focused on early
physical and mental health. Taking advantage of unpublished data from
the second study, the present authors examine for the first time the
relationships among achieved eminence, IQ, early physical and mental
health, and achievement domain. The correlation and regression analyses
showed that for these 282 individuals (a) eminence is a positive
function of IQ and (b) IQ is a positive function of mental health and a
negative function of physical health, implying an indirect effect of
physical and mental health upon eminence. Furthermore, levels of early
physical and mental health vary across 10 specific domains of
. Cassandro, V. J., & Simonton, D. K. (2010). Versatility,
openness to experience, and topical diversity in creative products: An
exploratory historiometric analysis of scientists, philosophers, and
writers. Journal of Creative Behavior
Creative individuals are considered versatile
achievements extend beyond their most commonly cited domain, thus
indicating remarkable and varied interests and abilities. The present
study examined the association between versatility and (a) the
personalities of eminent creators and (b) the topical diversity of their
creative products. The main sample consisted of 67 eminent scientists,
creative writers, philosophers, and scholars drawn from the history of
Western Civilization, with a subsample of 38 creators obtaining
observer-based scores on openness to experience. Versatile creators were
found to have produced works with greater topical diversity than did
their non-versatile counterparts. In addition, topical diversity was
positively associated with openness. These relationships varied
according to the domain of creative achievement.
. Simonton, D.K. (2010a, May/June). Are mad and genius peas in
the same pod? The National Psychologist
. Simonton, D. K. (2010b). Creativity as blind-variation and
selective-retention: Combinatorial models of exceptional creativity. Physics
of Life Reviews
Campbell (1960) proposed that creative thought should be conceived as a
blind-variation and selective-retention process (BVSR). This article
reviews the developments that have taken place in the half century that
has elapsed since his proposal, with special focus on the use of
combinatorial models as formal representations of the general theory.
After defining the key concepts of blind variants, creative thought, and
disciplinary context, the combinatorial models are specified in terms of
individual domain samples, variable field size, ideational combination,
and disciplinary communication. Empirical implications are then derived
with respect to individual, domain, and field systems. These abstract
combinatorial models are next provided substantive reinforcement with
respect to findings concerning the cognitive processes, personality
traits, developmental factors, and social contexts that contribute to
creativity. The review concludes with some suggestions regarding future
efforts to explicate creativity according to BVSR theory.
. Simonton, D. K. (2010c). Creativity in highly eminent
individuals. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Cambridge
handbook of creativity
(pp. 174-188). New York: Cambridge
. Simonton, D. K. (2010d). The curious case of Catharine Cox:
The 1926 dissertation and her Miles-Wolfe 1936 follow-up. History of
Simonton, D. K. (2010e). Doctrine of Chances
Moivre). In N. J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of research design
(Vol. 1, pp. 383-386). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2010f). Heisenberg effect. In N. J. Salkind
(Ed.), Encyclopedia of research design
(Vol. 2, pp. 563-567).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2010g, Fall). Introducing our
president-elect for Division 1: Dean Keith Simonton. The General
. Simonton, D. K. (2010h). Little science to big science: Big
scientists to little scientists. Gifted and Talented International
. Simonton, D. K. (2010i). Personal tastes and stylistic
change in music: How do they fit with an evolutionary interpretation? Physics
of Life Reviews
. Simonton, D. K. (2010j). Personality and leadership. In R.
A. Couto (Ed.), Political and civic leadership
631-639). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2010k). Reply to comments. Physics of
Both positive and negative comments are discussed with the aim of
stimulating future theoretical and empirical research on BVSR models of
creativity, including combinatorial models.
. Simonton, D. K. (2010l). So you want to become a creative
genius? You must be crazy! In D. Cropley, J. Kaufmann, A. Cropley, &
M. Runco (Eds.), The dark side of creativity
(pp. 218-234). New
York: Cambridge University Press.
. Simonton, D. K., & Damian, R. I. (2010). In the
beginning was the word ... [Review of the motion picture Police,
, Corneliu Porumboiu, Director]. PsycCRITIQUES
This is a small-budget film, coming out of the Romanian New Wave, about
an undercover police officer tailing a teenage boy who is suspected of
dealing drugs. The audience is placed in the voyeuristic role of
following him through the painstaking routine of his job. There is no
proof to incriminate the 16-year-old, other than the fact that he has
smoked a few joints with his friends, and the police officer would
rather continue the investigation in order to find the real drug dealer.
His boss, however, wants to close the case and arrest the boy for drug
use, but the police officer is reluctant to condemn the boy to seven
years in prison for a joint. For the viewer, the focus is not on the
facts collected by the police officer but on his interactions with other
people, which accentuate the absurdity of his position. Various scenes
in the movie make a very artful use of humor, providing comic relief but
also subtly reaffirming the ludicrousness of the police officer's
situation. The officer's predicament is touching, as is the accurate
portrayal of the psychological aftermath ensuing from the fall of the
Iron Curtain. This film has captured the crux of the problem faced by
transition countries: societies whose mind-set has not yet adapted to
the newfound freedom and can evolve only with time and through
generational change. From a historical perspective, this seems natural
and easy, but the cost is paid with every individual's psychological
health. Fight the system or be the system. Many avoid this difficult
choice by simply leaving the country - only to find out that this choice
has to be made anywhere in the world. Although Western societies offer
more individual freedom and more opportunities for self-actualization,
the police officer's conflict really is a universal one.
. Simonton, D. K., & Ting, S.-S. (2010). Creativity in
Eastern and Western civilizations: The lessons of historiometry. Management
What are the fundamental factors that promote highly influential
creativity? How do these factors differ in Western and Far Eastern
civilizations? Many researchers have addressed these questions using
historiometrics, a method that tests nomothetic hypotheses about human
behavior by subjecting historical and biographical data to objective and
quantitative analyses. These investigations may entail either
aggregate-level analyses (e.g., generational time series of creative
activity) or individual-level analyses (e.g., cross-sectional studies of
creative achievement). Moreover, the empirical findings in each of these
two approaches fall into two categories of East-West comparisons: (a)
shared variables and convergent results versus (b) shared variables and
divergent results. After reviewing representative findings in each of
these categories, we discuss what the results imply about the nature of
high-impact creativity in the East and West and also explore areas of
potential future historiometric research.
. Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2011). From past to
future art: The creative impact of Picasso's 1935 Minotauromachy
his 1937 Guernica
. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and
This paper reports a quantitative analysis of how Picasso's 1935 etching
influenced the creative process observed in the
sketches for his 1937 painting Guernica
. The experimental
stimuli consisted of 39 images obtained from the original set of Guernica
sketches. We included only the four figural elements that appear in both
the etching and throughout the Guernica
bull/minotaur head, the horse, the woman holding a lamp, and the ladder
climb). Seven independent raters judged the similarity of the sketches
to the images extracted from the 1935 etching. The average similarity
rating gave us the progress score for each sketch when compared to the
etching. Using the data from Simonton (2007a), we also included in our
discussion the sketch progress scores towards Guernica
. We found
evidence for the nonmonotonicity of the creative process (characterized
by numerous backtrackings), as opposed to monotonic improvement. This
suggests that although Picasso used some of the figural elements found
in his earlier work, he did not merely improve them through a monotonic
"honing" process, but rather explored a variety of possibilities, as is
characteristic of a blind-variation process.
. Jennings, K. E., Simonton, D. K., & Palmer, S. E. (2011,
November). Understanding exploratory creativity in a visual domain. Proceedings
of the 8th ACM conference on Creativity
This paper describes a computerized aesthetic composition task that is
based on a "creativity as search" metaphor. The technique collects
detailed, moment-to-moment data about people's search behavior, which
can help open the "black box" that separates independent variables that
influence creativity from their outcomes. We first describe the
technique and provide a detailed theoretical framework. Then, we discuss
how the technique is typically applied, describe several in-progress
studies, and present some preliminary results. Finally, we discuss
relations to other work, limitations, and future directions. We argue
that this technique and the research that it enables will facilitate a
deeper understanding of the creative process, become a valued tool for
creativity researchers, and contribute to methodological and theoretical
advances in how creativity is studied and understood.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011a). Awards. In M. A. Runco & S.
Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 1,
pp. 107-113). Oxford: Elsevier.
Awards, prizes, and honors are offered for a wide variety of creative
achievements in the arts and sciences. Such honors also assume many
different forms, such awards for single products versus entire careers.
Because such recognition has face validity, they have been often used to
solve the criterion problem in creativity research. Two illustrations
are discussed at length: Nobel Prizes given to great scientists and
Academy Awards (Oscars) bestowed on great cinematic accomplishments.
Because use of awards has disadvantages as well as advantages,
comparisons are made with alternative indicators of exceptional
creativity, such as productivity and eminence. Finally, the Creative
Achievement Questionnaire is used to show how awards might be integrated
with lower levels of creativity to produce a scale that covers the full
range of the phenomenon.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011b). Big-C creativity in the Big City:
Definitions, speculations, and complications. In D. E. Andersson, Ĺ. E.
Andersson, & C. Mellander (Eds.), Handbook of creative cities
(pp. 72-84). Cheltenham Glos, UK: Edward Elgar.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011c). Creativity and discovery as blind
variation and selective retention: Multiple-variant definitions and
blind-sighted integration. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and
In 1960, Donald Campbell proposed that creativity and discovery involve
blind variation and selective retention (BVSR). Over the past half
century, his proposal has continued to provoke controversy. The
principal focus of this debate has been on whether ideational variations
are blind or sighted. Although some progress has been made in providing
a more formal definition of what constitutes a blind variation, these
recent developments have assumed just two variants. In this article,
both blindness and sightedness are defined for any number of
hypothetical variants. This definition provides the metric for a
blind-sighted continuum applicable to any set of variants for a given
problem. The definition also yields a six-fold typology of ideational
variants that differ in blindness and vary in their likelihoods of being
selected for retention. With only minor modification, this definition is
demonstrated to apply to sequential as well as simultaneous
variation-selection. These formal definitions provide the means to
integrate both blindness and sightedness into a single conception,
thereby undermining the present tendency toward an exclusive, either-or
debate. Even so, if creativity and discovery are defined as the
generation of ideas that are novel, useful, and surprising, then all
three criteria are more likely to be met when the generated ideational
variations fall toward the blind end of the blind-sighted spectrum.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011d). Creativity and discovery as blind
variation: Campbell's (1960) BVSR model after the half-century mark. Review
This article assesses and extends Campbell's (1960) classic theory that
creativity and discovery depend on blind variation and selective
retention (BVSR), with special attention given to blind variations (BV).
The treatment begins by defining creativity and discovery, variant
blindness versus sightedness, variant utility and selection, and
ideational variants versus creative products. These definitions lead to
BV identification criteria: (a) intended BV, which entails both
systematic and stochastic combinatorial procedures, and (b) implied BV,
which involves both variations with properties of blindness (variation
superfluity and backtracking) and processes that should yield variant
blindness (associative richness, defocused attention, behavioral
tinkering, and heuristic search). These conceptual definitions and
identification criteria then have implications for four persistent
issues, namely, domain expertise, ideational randomness, analogical
equivalence, and personal volition. Once BV is suitably conceptualized,
Campbell's theory continues to provide a fruitful approach to the
understanding of both creativity and discovery.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011e). Debating the BVSR theory of
creativity: Comments on Dasgupta (2011) and Gabora (2011). Creativity
Donald Campbell's blind variation and selective retention (BVSR) theory
of creativity is now more than a half-century old, but it continues to
provoke debate, both in his original version and in the later versions
of subsequent researchers, especially Simonton (e.g., 2010a). Gabora
(2011) and Dasgupta (2011) have provided useful and detailed critiques.
The present response begins with an overview of the debate's history,
and then turns to the two sets of criticisms. This reply then closes
with a suggested integrative reconciliation in which variation-selection
episodes can be evaluated along a blind-sighted continuum.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011f). Do scientific geniuses also have
blind spots? Clio's Psyche
. Simonton, D. K. (2011g). Eminence. In M. A. Runco & S.
Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 1,
pp. 441-448). Oxford: Elsevier.
Creativity researchers sometimes use eminence as a manner of identifying
highly creative individuals as well as an approach to assessing the
magnitude of their creativity. After discussing various assessment
techniques, the article treats the psychometric features of the
resulting measures. The article next provides an overview of some of the
central empirical findings regarding achieved eminence as a creator. The
article then closes with a discussion of the advantages and
disadvantages of using eminence measures to study creativity.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011h). Exceptional talent and genius. In
T. Chamorro-Premuzic, S. Stumm, & A. Furnham (Eds.), The
Wiley-Blackwell handbook of individual differences
New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011i). Film. In M. A. Runco & S.
Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 1,
pp. 509-515). Oxford: Elsevier.
Although film first emerged as a form of entertainment, it later evolved
into a major medium of artistic creativity. Even so, the entertainment
aspect persisted so that the medium has largely bifurcated into film as
artistic expression and film as entertainment business. This split is
first illustrated by examining the three principal criteria of a film's
impact: critical evaluations, financial performance, and movie awards.
The correlations among measures in each of these three categories
indicate that financial performance is largely independent of critical
evaluations and movie awards in the major categories. This segregated
pattern is further demonstrated by the variables that predict the three
criteria of cinematic impact. These predictors include production costs,
screenplay characteristics, personnel, and distribution and exhibition.
These findings then lead to a discussion of the methodological and
substantive issues that must be resolved to obtain a better
understanding of film as art and as business.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011j, Fall). General psychology's
wonderful new benefactor. The General Psychologist
. Simonton, D. K. (2011k). Genius and greatness. In M. A.
Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
ed., vol. 1, pp. 564-570). Oxford: Elsevier.
The terms genius and greatness are often used interchangeably in
reference to historic achievers, but what is the actual correspondence
between these two concepts? The answer begins by examining the two
alternative definitions of genius, namely, historiometric genius and
psychometric genius. Next, the analysis turns to greatness, focusing on
its three main manifestations: exceptional creativity, outstanding
leadership, and prodigious performance. Kant's definition of genius is
used to indicate the circumstances in which genius and greatness
converge into a single phenomenon. However, it is also shown when both
historiometric and psychometric genius diverge from true greatness.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011l). Great flicks: Scientific
studies of cinematic creativity and aesthetics
York: Oxford University Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011m). Historiometry. In M. A. Runco &
S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of
(2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 617-622). Oxford: Elsevier.
Historiometry is the application of quantitative methods to archival
data about historic personalities and events to test nomothetic
hypotheses about human thought, feeling, and action. It has a long
history of successful application to the scientific study of both the
creative individual and the creative product. After reviewing some the
central findings, the article closes with an evaluation the method's
advantages and disadvantages.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011n). Positive psychology in historical
and philosophical perspective: Predicting its future from the
discipline's past. In K. Sheldon, T. Kashdan, & M. Steger (Eds.), Designing
the future of positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward
(pp. 447-454). New York: Oxford University Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011o). War. In M. A. Runco & S.
Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 2,
pp. 509-514). Oxford: Elsevier.
The relation between war and creativity has been the subject of a large
number of historiometric investigations. These inquiries adopt several
distinct forms. First, where some concentrate on creativity in entire
nations or civilizations, others focus on individual creators. Second,
where some studies look at quantitative effects (e.g., number of
products generated), others examine war's qualitative effects (e.g., the
types of products generated). Third, although a majority of researchers
investigate how war affects creativity, a small number of studies
indicate how creativity may influence war.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011p). When the high-wire act takes place
on the piano's keyboard. [Review of the book The improvising mind:
Cognition and creativity in the musical moment
, A. L. Berkowitz].
Aaron Berkowitz's The improvising mind
starts with an
introductory chapter that defines improvisation and outlines its
connections with basic cognitive processes. The next several chapters
are then grouped into two parts. Part I concerns "Cognition in the
Pedagogy and Learning of Improvisation." It consists of four chapters.
Part II turns to "Cognition in Improvised Performance." It also consists
of four chapters. The reviewer provides a short bio of the author,
including his qualifications in music, which he uses as examples of
improvisation throughout the book. The reviewer liked that the book has
a wealth and diversity of information on the topic: classic pedagogical
treatises; cognitive research on learning, memory, and language;
brain-imaging studies; recordings; lectures and master classes; and
interviews with performers. Because the emphasis is on music production,
the author ignores some areas of research that might bear some
connection with improvisation. Examples include music perception,
aesthetics, and emotion. This book is recommended for those interested
in music and musical improvisation, especially using the piano.
. Simonton, D. K. (2011q). Zeitgeist. In M. A. Runco & S.
Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 2,
pp. 533-538). Oxford: Elsevier.
The Zeitgeist represents the political, cultural, economic, social, and
disciplinary circumstances that affect the quantity and quality of
creativity in a particular time and place. In its extreme form,
Zeitgeist theory becomes sociocultural determinism in which
psychological variables become irrelevant in explaining creativity. The
Zeitgeist can assume two forms: internal and external. The internal
Zeitgeist concerns the conditions that hold within a given domain of
creative achievement. Examples include the influence of disciplinary
role models, the impact of scientific paradigms, and the repercussions
of stylistic conventions in the arts. The external Zeitgeist regards the
circumstances outside a particular domain. These circumstances include
political events and economic conditions that can influence both the
quantity and quality of creativity displayed in a particular time and
place. Most if not all forms of creativity are the partial function of
both internal and external
. Simonton, D. K., & Damian, R. I. (2011a). Picasso. In M.
A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity
(2nd ed., vol. 2, pp. 231-238). Oxford: Elsevier.
Pablo Picasso is well known as one of the most eminent artists in the
history of Western civilization, and certainly the most famous artistic
creator of the 20th century. This entry begins by narrating his life and
works in order to give an overview of his personal and artistic
development. The article then turns to empirical studies, which may be
divided into those that deal with his life and those that deal with his
work. In the former case, Picasso has been a subject of
psychobiographical, comparative, and historiometric research, albeit in
the latter case this usage is more covert. In the case of works, a
number of researchers have examined specific paintings, with the vast
bulk of the studies concentrated on the extensive sketches that Picasso
drew for his 1937 Guernica
. These studies provide insight into
Picasso's creative process.
. Simonton, D. K., & Damian, R. I. (2011b). Sometimes old
wine in new bottles can taste better - and more bitter. [Review of the
motion picture Tuesday, After Christmas
, Radu Muntean,
Reviews the film, Tuesday, after Christmas
directed by Radu
Muntean (2010) This film is yet another one coming out of the Romanian
New Wave. The story line concerns a man's extramarital affair and how
the man must choose between his mistress and his wife and mother of his
young daughter. For one and a half hours, we follow closely the
unfaithful husband, the banker Paul Hanganu (Mimi Branescu), and we are
given the (shocking) role of filling his shoes. We see through his eyes,
hear through his ears, feel his emotions, and feel the emotions of
others in reaction to him. Throughout the movie, we are placed in a
voyeuristic position, feeling like we are watching Paul's life through a
peephole. The print is a reproduction of Matisse's Fall of Icarus
Like Paul, Icarus wanted too much and so ended up with much less.
. Simonton, D. K., & Flora, C. (2011, Winter). Spark of
genius [Introduction, Genius
Special Issue]. Discover
. Overskeid, G., Grřnnerřd, C., & Simonton, D. K. (2012).
The personality of a nonperson: Gauging the inner Skinner. Perspectives
on Psychological Science
B. F. Skinner is consistently rated as one of the most important figures
in the history of psychology. Much has been said about his character,
some of it strongly negative. Yet little is known about what kind of man
he really was. Based on information from published sources, archival
material, and people who knew him, we used "blind" raters to assess
Skinner's score on the Big Five personality factors. We found that
Skinner was a highly conscientious man, and highly open to experience.
He was also somewhat neurotic and somewhat extraverted, but neither
agreeable nor disagreeable. The resulting personality profile was
directly compared to meta-analytic results concerning scientists versus
nonscientists, creative scientists versus non-creative scientists, and
artists versus non-artists. In general, Skinner's personality was
consistent with findings regarding other notable scientists.
. Ritter, S. M., Damian, R. I., Simonton, D. K., van Baaren,
R. B., Strick, M., Derks, J. & Dijksterhuis, A. (2012). Diversifying
experiences enhance cognitive flexibility. Journal of Experimental
Past research has linked creativity to unusual and unexpected
experiences, such as early parental loss or living abroad. However, few
studies have investigated the underlying cognitive processes. We propose
that some experiences have in common a "diversifying" aspect and an
active involvement, which together enhance cognitive flexibility (i.e.,
creative cognitive processing). In the first experiment, participants
experienced complex unusual and unexpected events happening in a virtual
reality. In the second experiment, participants were confronted with
schema-violations. In both experiments, comparisons with various control
groups showed that a diversifying experience - defined as the active
(but not vicarious) involvement in an unusual event - increased
cognitive flexibility more than active (or vicarious) involvement in
normal experiences. Our findings bridge several lines of research and
shed light on a basic cognitive mechanism responsible for creativity.
Russo, N. F., & Simonton, D. K. (2012). Looking back
and looking forward: The Society for General Psychology highlights from
2011. The General Psychologist
. Simonton, D. K. (2012a). Citation measures as criterion
variables in predicting scientific eminence. Measurement:
Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives
. Simonton, D. K. (2012b). Combinatorial creativity and
sightedness: Monte Carlo simulations using three-criterion definitions.
International Journal of Creativity & Problem Solving
Monte Carlo simulations are used to examine the relation between
creativity and sightedness in combinatorial models. After defining
combination creativity as the joint product of originality, utility, and
surprise, random numbers were generated that represented the three
defining attributes. When the three attributes were subjected to
multiplicative integration, creativity was shown to have an extremely
skewed distribution, making creative combinations very rare. Then
sightedness was defined as the multiplicative function of probability,
utility, and prior knowledge. Consistent with expectation, the joint
distribution of creativity as a function of sightedness was found to be
triangular: When sightedness is high, creativity must be low, but when
sightedness is low, creativity can vary continuously between high and
low. The increased variance in creativity under low sightedness thus
requires the application of blind-variation and selective-retention to
identify the most creative combinations. These conclusions hold under
both uniform and skewed distributions for the three combination
attributes. Moreover, the inferences are only slightly modified if
creativity and sightedness definitions are truncated to include only
their first two factors.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012c). "Combinatorial creativity and
sightedness: Monte Carlo simulations using three-criterion definitions":
Errata. International Journal of Creativity & Problem Solving
. Simonton, D. K. (2012d). Creative genius as a personality
phenomenon: Definitions, methods, findings, and issues. Social and
Personality Psychology Compass
Genius first became the subject of scientific inquiry in the early 19th
century, and it has continued to attract research interest to the
present day. Although genius can be defined as either superlative
intelligence or achieved eminence, this review is restricted to the
latter definition, and is further confined to creative achievement. The
article then describes the main methods for studying creative genius as
a personality phenomenon. These methods entail three central dichotomous
methodological decisions: single-case versus multiple-case samples,
qualitative versus quantitative analyses, and direct versus indirect
assessments. Next, the main empirical findings are presented with
respect to both generic traits and domain-contingent traits. There
follows a brief discussion of three major issues: genetic and
environmental influences, additive and multiplicative effects, and
individual and situational factors. Given the intrinsic importance of
the phenomenon and the many questions still unanswered, creative genius
certainly deserves future treatment in personality psychology.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012e). Creative productivity and aging: An
age decrement - or not? In S. K. Whitbourne & M. Sliwinski (Eds.), The
Wiley-Blackwell handbook of adult development and aging
477-496). New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012f). Creativity, problem solving, and
solution set sightedness: Radically reformulating BVSR. Journal of
Too often psychological debates become polarized into dichotomous
positions. Such polarization may have occurred with respect to
Campbell's (1960) BVSR theory of creativity. To resolve this unnecessary
controversy, BVSR was radically reformulated with respect to creative
problem solving. The reformulation began by defining (a) potential
solution sets consisting of k possible solutions each described by their
respective probability and utility values; (b) a set sightedness metric
that gauges the extent to which the probabilities correspond to the
utilities; and (c) a solution creativity index based on the joint
improbability and utility of each solution. These definitions are then
applied to representative cases in which simultaneous or sequential
generate-and-test procedures scrutinize solution sets of variable size
and with representative patterns of probabilities and utilities. The
principal features of BVSR theory were then derived, including the
implications of superfluity and backtracking. Critically, it was
formally demonstrated that the most creative solutions must emerge from
solution sets that score extremely low in sightedness. Although this
preliminary revision has ample room for further development, the
demonstration proves that BVSR's explanatory value does not depend on
any specious association with Darwin's theory of evolution.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012g, Fall/Winter). Fabrication,
plagiarism, embellishment, and/or dumb mistakes in science journalism:
Observations from my 2010 interview with Jonah Lehrer. The Amplifier
. Simonton, D. K. (2012h). Fields, domains, and individuals.
In M. D. Mumford (Ed.), Handbook of organizational creativity
Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science.
Although creativity is often viewed in an individualistic manner, most
creativity takes place in a disciplinary context. The systems
perspective is used to relate the individual creator with two major
features of that context: the domain and the field. This basic
three-system perspective is then illustrated by its application to two
separate topics, namely, combinatorial models and disciplinary
hierarchies. The first illustration uses the systems perspective as the
explicit foundation for combinatorial models that explicate phenomena
that cannot be understood from the standpoint of the individual alone.
Perhaps the most notable explication concerns the occurrence of multiple
discoveries in science. The second illustration concerns disciplinary
hierarchies, an idea that originated with speculations about whether the
sciences can be ordered into a hierarchy. Not only is this ordinal
placement justified according to characteristics of the scientific
domain and field, but also many of the same criteria can be applied to
(a) extrapolate beyond the sciences (e.g., the humanities and arts) and
(b) interpolate within single disciplines (e.g., normal versus
revolutionary science). Corresponding to this extended and elaborated
disciplinary hierarchy is a set of dispositional traits and
developmental experiences most descriptive of the individual creators
working within the same domain and field. This correspondence then has
consequences for the magnitude of creativity an individual displays. In
particular, the more eminent creators tend to have traits and
experiences proximate to those creators in disciplines lower in the
hierarchy. Given these two illustrations, it should be apparent that
individual creativity cannot be understood without reference to the
domain and field in which that creativity takes place. This conclusion
has implications well beyond the two examples discussed in this chapter.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012i). Foresight, insight, oversight, and
hindsight in scientific discovery: How sighted were Galileo's telescopic
sightings? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Galileo Galilei's celebrated contributions to astronomy are used as case
studies in the psychology of scientific discovery. Particular attention
was devoted to the involvement of foresight, insight, oversight, and
hindsight. These four mental acts concern, in divergent ways, the
relative degree of "sightedness" in Galileo's discovery process and
accordingly have implications for evaluating the blind-variation and
selective-retention (BVSR) theory of creativity and discovery. Scrutiny
of the biographical and historical details indicates that Galileo's
mental processes were far less sighted than often depicted in
retrospective accounts. Clearly, hindsight biases tend to underline his
insights and foresights while ignoring his very frequent and substantial
oversights. Of special importance was how Galileo was able to create a
domain-specific expertise where no such expertise previously existed -
in part by exploiting his extensive knowledge and skill in the visual
arts. Galileo's success as an astronomer was founded partly and
"blindly" on his artistic avocations. The investigation closes by
briefly discussing Antonie van Leeuwenhoek's similar creation of
microscopic biology. This parallel case indicates that Galileo's
telescopic astronomy was probably not unique as an illustration of how
scientific discovery works in practice.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012j). Genius. In K. J. Holyoak & R.
G. Morrison (Eds.), Oxford handbook of thinking and reasoning
New York: Oxford University Press.
Scientific research on genius began in the early 19th century, and
increased in popularity throughout the end of the century and the
beginning of the 20th century. Although the first investigations used
mainly historiometric methods, later psychologists introduced
psychometric and experimental techniques. Definitions of genius fall
into two categories: superlative intellect and phenomenal achievement,
where the latter can be subdivided into extraordinary creativity,
exceptional leadership, and prodigious performance. However defined,
genius has been studied from four main psychological perspectives:
general intelligence, domain expertise, heuristic search, and blind
variation. Each of these perspectives has distinct advantages and
disadvantages as explanatory accounts. As a consequence, a comprehensive
understanding of how geniuses think and reason will require an
integration of all four perspectives. The chapter closes with a
discussion of future directions for research.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012k). One creator's meat is another
creator's poison: Field and domain restrictions on individual
creativity. In D. Ambrose & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), How dogmatic
beliefs harm creativity and higher-level thinking
New York: Routledge.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012l). The Orlando program: The psychology
of science and psychology as science. The General Psychologist
. Simonton, D. K. (2012m). Quantifying creativity: Can
measures span the spectrum? Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 14
Because the cognitive neuroscientists have become increasingly
interested in the phenomenon of creativity, the issue arises about how
creativity is to be optimally measured. Unlike intelligence, which can
be assessed across the full range of intellectual ability, creativity
measures tend to concentrate on different sections of the overall
spectrum. After first defining creativity in terms of the three criteria
of novelty, usefulness, and surprise, the article provides an overview
of the available measures. Not only do these instruments vary according
to whether they focus on the creative process, person, or product, but
differ regarding whether they tap into "little-c" versus "Big-C"
creativity, only productivity and eminence measures reaching into
genius-level manifestations of the phenomenon. The article closes by
discussing whether various alternative assessment techniques can be
integrated into a single measure that quantifies creativity across spans
the full spectrum.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012n). Reconnecting with Fechner? [Review
of the book Aesthetic science: Connecting minds, brains, and
, A. P Shimamura & S. E. Palmer (Eds.)]. PsycCRITIQUES
Reviews the book, Aesthetic Science: Connecting Minds, Brains, and
edited by Arthur P. Shimamura and Stephen E. Palmer.
Fechner's law must count as one of the most important eponyms in the
annals of psychology's history, yet his pioneering work on experimental
aesthetics is too often forgotten. Fechner would also have been very
happy to see the edited volume under review. As its subtitle hints,
Aesthetic Science is actually three books in one. Part I, Philosophical
Perspectives, corresponds to minds; this section contains chapters
treating various issues connecting experimental aesthetics with the much
older and comprehensive field of philosophical aesthetics. Part II deals
with experience; titled Psychological Perspectives, it features chapters
by psychologists actively engaged in research on aesthetics and the
arts. Part III, which concerns brains, is titled Neuroscience
Perspectives; here the full panoply of neuroscientific techniques is
brought to bear on aesthetic questions - yielding the new discipline of
. Simonton, D. K. (2012o). Ringing a bell. [Review of the book
The idea factory: Bell Labs and the great age of American innovation
J. Gertner]. PsycCRITIQUES
Reviews the book, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of
by Jon Gertner. This book presents a lively
and informative account of the origins, development, and accomplishments
of Bell Labs. Bell Labs sometimes just developed an idea that originated
elsewhere and other times collaborated with other industrial and
governmental institutions in the origination itself; yet it can still
take primary credit for the overwhelming majority of technological
achievements. The book is organized into two parts. Part One contains 11
chapters that narrate the rise of Bell Labs from its modest beginnings.
Part Two contains nine chapters that largely narrate the empire's fall.
Jon Gertner, is an excellent writer and a conscientious journalist, but
he is not a psychologist. So it should not amaze anyone that he
completely ignores the relevant research on individual and group
creativity. It also comes as no surprise that he misses how his extended
narrative dovetails with the history of psychology.
. Simonton, D. K. (2012p, November/December). The science of
genius. Scientific American Mind
. Simonton, D. K. (2012q). Scientific creativity as blind
variation: Explicit and implicit procedures, mechanisms, and processes.
In R. Proctor & E. J. Capaldi (Eds.), Psychology of science:
Implicit and explicit processes
(pp. 363-388). New York: Oxford
. Simonton, D. K. (2012r). Taking the US Patent Office
creativity criteria seriously: A quantitative three-criterion definition
and its implications. Creativity Research Journal
Although creativity has recently attracted considerable theoretical and
empirical research, researchers have yet to reach a consensus on how
best to define the phenomenon. To help establish a consensus, a
definition is proposed that is based on the three criteria used by the
United States Patent Office to evaluate applications for patent
protection. The modified version uses the criteria of novelty, utility,
and surprise. Moreover, creativity assessments based on these three
criteria are quantitative and multiplicative rather than qualitative or
additive. This three-criterion definition then leads to four
implications regarding (a) the limitations to domain-specific expertise,
(b) the varieties of comparable creativities, (c) the contrast between
subjective and objective evaluations, and (d) the place of blind
variation and selective retention in the creative process. These
implications prove that adding the third criterion has critical
consequences for understanding the phenomenon. Creativity is not only
treated with superior sophistication, but also paradoxes that appear
using the most common two-criterion definition readily disappear when
the third criterion is included in the analysis. Hence, the conceptual
differences between two- and three-criterion definitions are not
. Simonton, D. K. (2012s). Teaching creativity: Current
findings, trends, and controversies in the psychology of creativity. Teaching
In the past decade, the psychological study of creativity has
accelerated greatly. To facilitate the teaching of creativity, I provide
an overview of the recent literature. The overview begins by discussing
recent empirical results and research trends. This discussion
specifically treats creativity's cognitive, differential, developmental,
and social aspects. Then I outline the central controversies. These
debates concern the nature of creative thought (domain-specific versus
generic processes), creative development (nature versus nurture), and
creative persons (psychopathology versus mental health). The article
closes by asking not just how to teach creativity, but also how to teach
. Simonton, D. K., Graham, J., & Kaufman, J. C. (2012).
Consensus and contrasts in consumers' cinematic assessments: Gender,
age, and nationality in rating the top-250 films. Psychology of
Popular Media Culture
Motion pictures provide among the most conspicuous manifestations of
worldwide popular culture. One specific manifestation of this universal
presence appears in the cinematic assessments compiled and updated on
internet websites. This empirical inquiry investigated the consumer
ratings that the Internet Movie Database used to determine the "Top-250"
all-time great movies. Of particular interest was how these ratings were
contingent on the gender (male versus female), age (under 18, 18-29,
30-44, and 45 or over), and nationality (US vs. non-US voters). In
addition, the investigation explored how any evaluation discrepancies in
these three demographic categories might be attributed to year of
release (e.g., classic versus contemporary films), movie honors (viz.
Oscar versus non-Oscar nominations and awards), and the MPAA rating (R,
PG-13, PG, and G). Correlational, principal components, and multiple
regression analyses indicate the following core conclusions. First, a
very broad and impressive consensus permeates all evaluations no matter
what the gender, age, or nationality contrasts. Second, although gender
and nationality both exhibit contrasting assessments, age provides the
main contrast that supports departures from the consensus: Those under
30 have strikingly different assessments than those 30 and over. Third
and last, although movie awards and MPAA ratings clearly have a role to
play in these differences, the year of release was by far the most
critical predicator. Older consumers prefer older movies while younger
consumers prefer movies that are more recent. After some conjectures
regarding the reasons for this pronounced contrast, the discussion
closes by mentioning the dynamic nature of these popular ratings.
. Simonton, D. K., Skidmore, L. E. & Kaufman, J. C.
(2012). Mature cinematic content for immature minds: "Pushing the
envelope" versus "toning it down" in family films. Empirical Studies
of the Arts
How does a film's content influence its reception by moviegoers and
critics? What movie qualities result in better reviews, a higher box
office, and more awards? This study investigates these questions in the
specific genre of family films. One strategy is to "push the envelope"
by intensifying adult themes and hints of sex and violence. An
alternative strategy is to "tone it down," and keep any adult content to
a minimum. The sample of 220 family films was assessed on (a) 15
measures of mature content, (b) multiple measures of film evaluations
(3), box office performance (4), and movie honors (3, including children
and teenager awards), and (c) 5 control variables. Broadly, this study
supports the "pushing the envelope" strategy, especially regarding
violence, topics to talk about, jump scenes, blood/gore, and
inappropriate music. The optimal mature content for a family film
differs markedly from that needed for films in general.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013a, January 31). After Einstein:
Scientific genius is extinct. Nature
. Simonton, D. K. (2013b). Age and creative
productivity. In E. G. Carayannis (Editor-in-chief), Encyclopedia
of creativity, invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship
40-44). New York: Springer.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013c). Blind-variation and
selective-retention theory of creativity. Physics of Life Reviews
. Simonton, D. K. (2013d). BVSR theory of human creativity. In
E. H. Kessler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of management theory
pp. 102-103). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013e). Creative genius in literature,
music, and the visual arts. In V. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook
the economics of art and culture
(Vol. 2, pp. 15-48). Amsterdam:
This chapter examines creative genius in the three most prominent
domains of artistic achievement, namely literature, music, and the
visual arts. Treatment begins with the definition of artistic genius in
terms of achieved eminence, with special attention to the measurement
issues (viz. magnitude of consensus and degree of temporal stability).
From there discussion turns to the personal attributes of eminent
artistic creators in the three domains, with an emphasis on how writers,
composers, and artists differ from each other as well as from eminent
scientific creators. The next issue concerns the developmental factors
involved in the emergence and manifestation of artistic genius. These
factors include both early developmental antecedents and adulthood
career trajectories (especially the location of career peaks). The final
topic pertains to the sociocultural contexts underlying outstanding
artistic achievement. These contexts include both internal factors, such
as artistic styles, as well as external factors, such as the political
and economic milieu.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013f). Creative genius in science. In G.
J. Feist & M. E. Gorman (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of
(pp. 251-272). New York: Springer Publishing.
This chapter concerns the conjunction of three concepts that overlap
only partially: creativity, genius, and science. Not all creativity
requires genius, as is evident in everyday forms of creativity. Nor does
all genius require creativity. Finally, it is obvious that creativity
and genius, both separately and together, can and do appear in domains
that cannot be considered scientific by any stretch of the imagination.
I start with a discussion of how to assess creative genius in science. I
then turn to a treatment of two sets of factors associated with this
phenomenon: individual differences and personal development. I then turn
to a more brief discussion of some additional topics relevant to the
subject. Where appropriate, I will mention when creative genius in
science differs from that in other domains, especially the arts.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013g). Creative problem solving as
sequential BVSR: Exploration (total ignorance) versus elimination
(informed guess). Thinking Skills and Creativity
Although the theory that creativity requires blind variation and
selective retention (BVSR) is now more than a half-century old, only
recently has BVSR theory undergone appreciable conceptual development,
including formal three-parameter definitions of both creativity and
sightedness. In this article, these new developments are for the first
time extended to encompass sequential BVSR, that is, when ideas are
generated and tested consecutively rather than simultaneously.
Formulated in terms of creative problem solving, sequential BVSR is
shown to have two forms: (a) exploratory
in which the person
decreases total ignorance and (b) eliminatory
in which the
person vets informed guesses. Only in the latter case does sightedness
for both single potential solutions and the set of potential solutions
necessarily increase with each generation-and-test trial. Exploratory
BVSR is illustrated by Edison's search for a practical incandescent
filament, whereas eliminatory BVSR is exemplified by Watson's discovery
of the DNA base code. Hence, although epistemologically and
psychologically distinct, both represent important forms of creative
. Simonton, D. K. (2013h). Creative teaching of creativity: A
potential user's personal perspective. In M. Gregerson, J. C. Kaufman,
& H. Snyder (Eds.), Teaching creatively and teaching creativity (pp. 185-191)
. New York: Springer.
Having published on both the teaching of creativity and creative
teaching, the author had special interest in the chapters that make up
this volume. This concluding chapter begins with what he learned about
teaching creatively, providing his own examples of certain useful
techniques. He next turns to the chapters concerning teaching for
creativity, again providing some new illustrations of approaches. Along
the way, he also addresses the important problem of whether creativity
is domain-specific, a question that has obvious consequences for any
attempt to teach creativity. The author concludes his conclusion with a
brief treatment of the far more difficult question of how to teach
creatively for creativity.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013i). Creative thought as blind variation
and selective retention: Why sightedness is inversely related to
creativity. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
Campbell (1960) proposed the theory that creativity required blind
variation and selective retention (BVSR). More than a half century has
transpired without any resolution of the controversy over the theory's
validity. This inability to reach consensus may reflect a fundamental
failure on both sides to define the critical terms of the debate,
namely, creativity and blindness. Hence, to help resolve the issue, the
ideas making up a variant set are first described via three parameters:
(a) the idea's initial probability of generation, (b) its final utility,
and (c) any prior knowledge of its utility value. These three subjective
parameters are then used to derive a creativity index
to each idea in the set. The same parameters are also deployed to
produce a sightedness metric
that describes the sightedness of
the variant set as well as each idea in that set. It is then logically
demonstrated, first, that an idea's creativity is inversely related to
its sightedness, and, second, that an idea's creativity is inversely
related to the sightedness of the variant set that contains that idea.
Furthermore, the same general conclusions hold when the third parameter
is omitted from the two definitions or when the two definitions are not
functions of identical parameters (e.g., novelty in one but originality
in the other). Because blindness is just the inverse of sightedness, it
automatically follows that creativity has an essential positive
connection with blind variation. The article closes with a discussion of
BVSR implications regarding the joint distribution of creativity and
. Simonton, D. K. (2013j). Creative thoughts as acts of free
will: A two-stage formal integration. Review of General Psychology
This article integrates two topics usually considered disciplines apart,
namely, creativity and free will. In particular, creative thoughts are
conceived as acts of free will. This integration begins by reviewing
recent advances in a specific two-stage theory of creative problem
solving, namely blind variation and selective retention (BVSR). After
discussing the parallel two-stage theory of free will (chance then
choice), both two-stage theories are then integrated into a single
formal representation entailing choice initial probabilities, final
utilities, and prior knowledge values. These three parameters are used
to define the creativity of any given solution and the "sightedness" of
any generated thought or choice. Both creativity and free will vanish as
sightedness increases, but their relation to blindness is more complex,
yielding a triangular joint distribution that mandates a second-stage
selection or decision process. In addition, to accommodate the need to
create choices actively rather than just decide among given choices, the
treatment expands to encompass both thoughts and choices as
combinatorial products. This extension connects the discussion of free
will with both combinatorial models of creativity and the research on
the factors that enable a person to engage in free combinatorial
processes. The article closes with suggestions of future empirical and
theoretical research with respect to psychology, philosophy, and
potential future exchanges between the two disciplines.
Simonton, D. K. (2013k). Creativity. In E. Diener & R.
Biswas-Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology
Champaign, IL: DEF Publishers. DOI: www.nobaproject.com
. Simonton, D. K. (2013l). The evolution of the music-emotion
relation. Physics of Life Reviews
. Simonton, D. K. (2013m). The genetics of giftedness: What
does it mean to have creative talent? In K. H. Kim, J. C. Kaufman, J.
Baer, & B. Sriramen (Eds.), Creatively gifted students are not
like other gifted students: Research, theory, and practice
167-179). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013n). If innate talent doesn't exist,
where do the data disappear? In S. B. Kaufman (Ed.), The complexity
of greatness: Beyond talent or practice
(pp. 17-26). New York:
Oxford University Press.
Is greatness born or made? In this chapter, I outline an answer
consisting of three parts. First, I treat why greatness must be nurtured
by environmental factors, including deliberate practice. Second, I
discuss why greatness must depend on nature, that is, on genetic
endowment. Third, I examine the intricate interplay of nature and
nurture in the emergence of greatness. Certainly many so-called
"environmental effects" are partially the outward manifestation of
underlying genetic effects. This conflation is apparent in the
development of greatness, where talent must be defined in terms of
expertise acquisition, yielding the "better faster" and "more bang for
the buck" effects. This nature-nurture integration helps us incorporate
empirical findings that would otherwise make no sense - such as the fact
that most individual-differences variables that predict greatness also
feature substantial heritability coefficients. These data will not just
go away simply because they are inconvenient for an extreme-nurture
. Simonton, D. K. (2013o). Presidential leadership. In M. G.
Rumsey (Ed.), Oxford handbook of leadership
(pp. 327-342). New
York: Oxford University Press.
A considerable empirical literature has accumulated on the leadership
displayed by the person occupying the office of the President of the
United States. This research has attempted to identify the predictors of
presidential leadership as assessed by both subjective expert
evaluations of presidential performance and objective researcher
measurements of specific leader behaviors. Moreover, investigators have
tested hundreds of potential predictors drawn from (a) the
administration's political and economic milieu, (b) the president's
political, occupational, and educational résumé, and (c) the incumbent's
personal traits and family experiences. Although many early researchers
merely scrutinized bivariate associations between criteria and
predictors, a growing number of investigators have used analytical
strategies that allow the discrimination of mediated, spurious,
suppression, and moderated effects. Although progress has been made in
identifying the predictors of various performance criteria, the chapter
closes by discussing six key questions that should guide future research
on presidential leadership.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013p, Fall/Winter). Research on cinema as
artistic creativity: A permanent scientific renaissance? The
. Simonton, D. K. (2013q). Scientific creativity as
combinatorial process. In E. G. Carayannis (Editor-in-chief), Encyclopedia
creativity, invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship
1592-1595). New York: Springer.
. Simonton, D. K (2013r). What is a creative idea? Little-c
versus Big-C creativity. In K. Thomas & J. Chan (Eds.), Handbook
of research on creativity
(pp. 69-83). Cheltenham, UK, and
Northampton, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013s). Wheeling around the world in 102
minutes. [Review of the documentary Samsara
, Ron Fricke,
Reviews the film, Samsara
directed by Ron Fricke (2011). Even
though this film is billed as a "nonnarrative documentary," it cannot be
considered a documentary in the technical sense. In some respects, it
seems more like a cinematic travelogue using pictures rather than words.
After all, the movie camera wanders all over the world, visiting almost
100 locations in 25 countries on the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe,
and both North and South America. Although the film contains no
narration, the title can be taken as a single-word description of the
whole. Samsara comes from a Sanskrit word that literally means
"continuous flow." It describes the continuing cycle of existence -
birth, life, death, and rebirth or reincarnation.
. Simonton, D. K. (2013t). You, too, can become a genius! IF
you just ... [Review of the book Genius Unmasked
, R. B. Ness]. PsycCRITIQUES
Reviews the book, Genius Unmasked
by Roberta B. Ness (2013). By
"unmasking" genius, the author appears to show how everybody can become
a genius: Just do as geniuses do. For the most part, this book consists
of a series of case studies devoted to a diverse set of 16 geniuses:
Charles Darwin, Maria Montessori, Albert Einstein, Stanley Milgram,
Thomas Edison, Jerry Morris, Ancel Keys, Marie Curie, Ernest Rutherford,
Paul Ehrlich, Elie Metchinkoff, Paul Baran, Norman Borlaug, Russell
Marker, Arthur Hertig, and John Rock. Clearly, some of these figures are
better known than others are, and a few might even seem obscure.
Nonetheless, all reputed geniuses provide illustrations of basic tools
of innovation. By using these tools, they were able to conceive ideas
and solve problems that earned them a lasting place in the history of
science and technology.
. Simonton, D. K., & Damian, R. I. (2013). Creativity. In
D. Reisberg (Ed.), Oxford handbook of cognitive psychology
795-807). New York: Oxford University Press.
An idea's creativity is most often defined as the joint function of its
originality or novelty and its adaptiveness or utility. Creativity is a
quantitative property that can range from "little-c" to "Big-C"
creativity. Given this definition, creativity can be studied from three
different perspectives: the product, the person, and the process.
Research adopting the product perspective may examine either the final
product or the notebooks or sketchbooks that led to that product.
Inquiries into the creative person have tended to pursue two alternative
viewpoints, one concentrating on domain-specific expertise and the other
on a generic cognitive style. Naturally, cognitive psychologists tend to
favor the third perspective, namely that concentrating on the creative
process. After discussing the three main theoretical views of this
process, the discussion turns to the three principal empirical
approaches. The chapter closes with four sets of questions that should
guide future research on creativity.
Damian, R. I.,
& Simonton, D. K. (2014a). Diversifying experiences in the
development of genius and their impact on creative cognition. In D. K.
Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of genius
Oxford, UK: Wiley.
"Diversifying experiences" (i.e., experiences that disrupt conventional
and/or fixed patterns of thinking, thus enabling a person to view the
world in multiple ways) are linked to more creativity. The impact of
diversifying experiences was first indicated by historiometric research
on "Big-C Creativity," which identified effects operating at both
societal and individual levels. The former level includes political
fragmentation and cultural heterogeneity whereas the latter includes
traumatic experiences, minority status, and psychopathology.
Furthermore, psychometric research on "little-c creativity" isolated
such diversifying factors as cognitive disinhibition, bilingualism, and
multiculturalism. Finally, recent laboratory experiments have lent
additional support to the positive impact of diversifying experiences on
creativity at both group and individual levels. Because excessive
diversifying experiences probably inhibit creativity, and because the
various experiences are to a certain extent interchangeable, different
creative individuals may have been exposed to a different but still
R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2014b, August 4). Psychopathology,
adversity, and creativity: Diversifying experiences in the development
of eminent African-Americans. Journal of Personality and Social
. Advance online publication.
Symptoms associated with mental illness have been hypothesized to relate
to creative achievement because they act as diversifying experiences.
However, this theory has only been tested on predominantly
majority-culture samples. Do tendencies toward mental illness still
predict eminent creativity when they co-exist with other diversifying
experiences, such as early parental death, minority-status, or poverty?
These alternative diversifying experiences can be collectively referred
to as examples of developmental adversity. This conjecture was tested on
a significant sample of 291 eminent African-Americans who, by the nature
of their status as long-term minorities, would experience more
developmental adversity. Replicating majority-culture patterns,
African-American artists showed higher mental illness rates than
African-American scientists. Yet, the absolute percentages were
significantly lower for the African-Americans, regardless of profession.
Furthermore, mental illness predicted higher eminence levels only for
the African-American artists, an effect that diminished when controlling
for developmental adversity. Because the latter predicted eminence for
both artists and scientists, the "madness-to-genius" link probably
represents just one of several routes by which diversifying experiences
can influence eminence. The same developmental ends can be attained by
different means. This inference warrants further research using other
eminent creators emerging from minority culture populations.
. Kaufman, J. C., & Simonton, D. K. (Eds.). (2014a). The
social science of cinema
. New York: Oxford University
. Kaufman, J. C., & Simonton, D. K. (2014b). The social
science of cinema: Fade in. In J. C. Kaufman & D. K. Simonton
(Eds.), The social science of cinema
(p. x). New York: Oxford
. Pardoe, I., & Simonton, D. K. (2014). Analyzing the
Academy Awards: Factors associated with winning and when surprises
occur. In J. C. Kaufman & D. K. Simonton (Eds.), The social
science of cinema
(pp. 233-253). New York: Oxford University
Ever since 1928, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have
bestowed its "Oscars" for major cinematic achievements. Well before the
awards are announced at a gala ceremony now broadcast worldwide, the
public and the media begin to speculate about which nominees will take
home a golden statuette. Although there is no shortage of speculative
theories about who is most likely to win, the announcements often
include some major surprises. In this chapter, the prediction is framed
as a discrete choice problem. Not only do these predictions enable us to
calculate the probabilities of winning for each nominee, but they also
provide a direct measure of surprise when an apparent frontrunner is
eclipsed by a dark horse. These predictions are calculated up to the
2010 award season.
. Robinson, A., & Simonton, D. K. (2014). Catharine Morris
Cox Miles and the lives of others (1890-1984). In A. Robinson & J.
L. Jolly (Eds.), A century of contributions to gifted education:
(pp. 101-114). London: Routledge.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014a). Addressing the
recommended research agenda instead of repeating prior arguments. Intelligence
Perhaps because of the long history of the debate, Ericsson (this issue)
largely failed to address the main arguments in my proposed research
agenda (Simonton, this issue). Instead, he focused on responding to
earlier questions in that controversy. Consequently, the agenda was here
translated into a series of specific empirical questions that capture
the key features of the hypothesized structural model. Although this
model is recursive, it is possible to test for non-recursive
specifications if future research shows that it is necessary. Yet at
present, it seems most reasonable to assume that both cognitive
abilities and dispositional traits are antecedents to creative
performance. Because the variables in both of these sets have
substantial heredities, the causal basis remains for a genetic
contribution to creative achievement.
D. K. (2014b, May 20). Can creative productivity be both positively
and negatively correlated with psychopathology? Yes! Frontiers in
Psychology, 5, 455. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00455
D. K. (2014c, April). The course of cultural genius. Mosaic:
Advancing Jewish Thought, http://mosaicmagazine.com/supplemental/2014/04/the-course-of-cultural-genius/
. Simonton, D. K. (2014d). Creative performance,
expertise acquisition, individual-differences, and developmental
antecedents: An integrative research agenda. Intelligence, 45
This article sketches an integrative research agenda for creative
achievement that combines the expertise-acquisition framework with
individual differences in cognitive abilities and dispositional traits
as well as the genetic and environmental factors underlying the
development of those same individual-differences variables. The
treatment begins with a discussion of domain-specific creative expertise
and performance, a discussion that indicates the added complexities in
assessing both variables. The analysis then shifts to substantial
individual variation in both expertise acquisition and creative
performance, variation that does not sit easily with a simple
single-cause conception, particularly when performance appears inversely
related to the amount of time taken to attain the requisite expertise.
This leads to the question of whether individual-difference variables
can account for otherwise inexplicable "faster better" and "more bang
for the buck" effects. If so, then the obvious last inquiry concerns the
developmental antecedents of those variables, where these antecedents
can be both genetic and environmental. The upshot of the suggested
analysis should be complex structural equation models that fully
accommodate both nature and nurture in explaining exceptional creative
. Simonton, D. K. (2014e). Does genius science have a future
history? In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of genius
(pp. 611-617). Oxford: Wiley.
The final chapter asks whether the scientific genius has a long-term
future. This question actually involves three subsidiary questions.
First, will empirical and theoretical research continue to advance?
Second, will the phenomenon of genius continue to exist? Third, can
theory and data help ensure that the phenomenon continues well into the
future? Although all three questions have complex and speculative
answers, the overall conclusion is optimistic.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014f). Hierarchies of creative
domains: Disciplinary constraints on blind-variation and
selective-retention. In E. S. Paul & S. B. Kaufman (Eds.), The
philosophy of creativity: New essays
(pp. 247-261). New York:
Oxford University Press.
Simonton, D. K. (2014g). Historiometric studies of
genius. In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of genius
87-106). Oxford: Wiley.
Historiometry applies quantitative measurement and statistical analysis
to historical and biographical data regarding historic creators and
leaders. The method is illustrated using representative studies
concerning life-span development (early origins and adult trajectories),
individual differences (intelligence, personality, motivation, and
psychopathology), cognitive processes, and sociocultural context
(interpersonal relations, disciplinary context, and cultural systems).
Although historiometry is the oldest scientific approach to the study of
genius, it remains underutilized in the field.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014h). The mad (creative) genius: What do
we know after a century of historiometric research? In J. C. Kaufman
(Ed.), Creativity and mental illness
(pp. 25-41). New York:
Cambridge University Press.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014i). The mad-genius paradox: Can
creative people be more mentally healthy but highly creative
people more mentally ill? Perspectives
on Psychological Science, 9
The persistent mad-genius
controversy concerns whether creativity and psychopathology are
positively or negatively correlated. Remarkably, the answer can be
"both"! The debate has unfortunately overlooked the fact that the
creativity-psychopathology correlation can be expressed as two
independent propositions: (a) among all creative individuals, the most
creative are at higher risk for mental illness than are the less
creative and (b) among all people, creative individuals exhibit better
mental health than do non-creative individuals. In both propositions,
creativity is defined by the production of one or more creative products
that contribute to an established domain of achievement. Yet when the
typical cross-sectional distribution of creative productivity is taken
into account, these two statements can both
be true. This potential compatibility is here christened the mad-genius paradox
. This paradox
can follow logically from the assumption that the distribution of
creative productivity is approximated by an inverse power function
called Lotka's Law. Even if psychopathology is specified to correlate
positively with creative productivity, creators as a whole can still
display appreciably less psychopathology than in the general population
because the more at risk creative geniuses represent an extremely tiny
proportion of those contributing to the domain. The hypothesized paradox
has important scientific ramifications.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014j). More method in the mad-genius
controversy: A historiometric study of 204 historic creators. Psychology
of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8
The so-called mad-genius controversy cannot be resolved without applying
more sophisticated historiometric methods to the issue. It is especially
important to recognize that (a) both eminence and psychopathology are
quantitative rather than qualitative variables, (b) the two variables
must be independently quantified, and (c) the relation between these two
variables may assume either linear or curvilinear forms depending on the
domain of creative achievement. These three points are then illustrated
in a study of 204 eminent scientists, thinkers, writers, artists, and
composers. Independent quantitative measures of psychopathology (Post,
1994) and eminence (Murray, 2003) were combined in a complex design that
tested for multiplicative and nonlinear effects. Positive monotonic
functions were found for writers and artists, whereas nonmonotonic
single-peaked functions were found for scientists, composers, and
thinkers. Moreover, the specific peaks for the latter three fields
differed from each other, indicating that scientists exhibit the least
psychopathology and the thinkers the most, with the composers falling
approximately in the middle. Although this historiometric study makes a
clear contribution to the debate, the article closes by recommending
additional improvements in both measurement and analysis.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014k). Preface. In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The
Wiley handbook of genius
(pp. xvii-xxi). Oxford: Wiley.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014l). Significant samples - not
significance tests! The often overlooked solution to the replication
problem. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8
The commentary discusses a frequently ignored route around the
replication problem: The use of significant samples that consist of
absolutely identifiable exemplars of the phenomenon of interest, such as
Nobel laureates in the sciences and literature, Oscar-nominated films,
Shakespeare sonnets, or Beethoven compositions. Because identical
samples can be studied by different researchers, research results can be
replicated exactly, an outcome most often impossible in conventional
research. Moreover, whenever findings are not duplicated, it becomes
feasible to isolate the precise cause of the replication failure (e.g.,
new or modified variables, added or subtracted cases, more advanced
statistics). Finally, because significant samples represent the
population, significance tests and other aspects of inferential
statistics prove useless. Sample and population parameters become
identical whenever sampling error reduces to zero. In this situation,
effect sizes assume far greater importance. Significant samples of
creative geniuses and artistic masterworks should accordingly acquire a
more prominent place in the psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and
. Simonton, D. K. (2014m, August 11). Thomas Alva
Edison's creative career: The multilayered trajectory of trials, errors,
failures, and triumphs. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and
.Advance online publication.
Thomas Edison is widely considered to be one of the greatest inventive
geniuses who ever lived. Therefore, his total output of 1093 patents was
used to study the trajectory of his creative career, including both
failures and triumphs. The study specifically examined two hypotheses
about how the creative process operates across the career course. First,
creativity will incorporate some form of blind-variation and
selective-retention. Second, creative productivity will be enhanced by
engagement in a "network of enterprises." To test these two hypotheses,
the 1093 patents were first assigned to 8 separate subject areas: (a)
miscellany, (b) telegraphy and telephony, (c) phonographs and sound
recording, (d) electric light and power, (e) mining and ore milling, (f)
batteries, (g) motion pictures, and (h) cement. The patents were then
tabulated into both 1- and 5-year age periods according to Edison's
chronological age at the time each was executed. Quantitative analyses
were then applied to determine the agewise trends and clustering of the
patents across the course of his 64-year career. In addition, direct
comparisons were made to a nomothetic baseline predicted by a
mathematical model of creative productivity. The quantitative analyses
were complemented by qualitative treatments of Edison's creative career.
All told, the two hypotheses received considerable empirical support.
Tellingly, the inventor's phenomenal triumphs notwithstanding, he could
not avoid even catastrophic failures.
. Simonton, D. K. (Ed.). (2014n). The Wiley handbook
. Oxford, UK: Wiley.
. Simonton, D. K. (2014o). Writing for success: Screenplays
and cinematic impact. In J. C. Kaufman & D. K. Simonton (Eds.), The
science of cinema
(pp. 3-23). New York: Oxford University Press.
Although screenwriters are often far less conspicuous than the actors
and directors, the screenplay has a critical role in the success of any
film. This chapter reviews the empirical research on the most obvious
distinguishing characteristics of the script: (a) the running time, (b)
the genre or broad story type, (c) the rating received from the Motion
Picture Association of America (MPAA), (d) the type and intensity of
"mature content" shown, (e) whether the movie is a sequel to or remake
of a prior movie, (f) whether the movie is based on a true story about a
person or event, and (g) whether the movie is based on an original
script or an adaptation, and in the latter case the source of the
adaptation. Where appropriate, these attributes are defined with respect
to the final theatrical release rather than either the pre-production
script or the later video/DVD version. Each of these script attributes
are examined with respect to three criteria of cinematic success: box
office impact, movie awards, and critical acclaim. When appropriate,
production costs or budget is introduced to put the main criteria in
. Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (in press).
Creativity. In R. A. Scott & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging
trends in the social and behavioral sciences
. Oxford, UK: Wiley.
Creativity is a unique feature of human thinking and behavior that is
essential to our species survival, future progress, and even the rise
and fall of civilizations. To understand this highly complex phenomenon,
we need to adopt an interdisciplinary and multi-method approach. Because
creativity happens at many different levels both intra- and
inter-individual, the psychological science of creativity currently
lacks a strong paradigmatic coherence. In this paper, we review
creativity research from four different scientific perspectives:
cognitive, differential, developmental, and social, and attempt to
provide a unified overarching picture. We present foundational and
cutting-edge research addressing the following questions: (a) What
cognitive processes are involved in creative thinking; (b) What
personality traits are characteristic of the creative person; (c) What
developmental factors lead to creative achievement; and (d) What social
factors foster creativity? We identify current debate issues and propose
ways to promote unity and coherence in creativity research across
psychological sub-fields. We offer a clear definition of creativity and
identify promising theoretical models that could help integrate and
direct future research.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-a).
Achievement. In S. K. Whitbourne (General Editor), Wiley-Blackwell's
encyclopedia of adulthood and aging
. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
. Simonton, D. K. (in
press-b). Early and late bloomers among classical composers: Were the
greatest geniuses also prodigies? In G. McPherson (Ed.), Musical
prodigies: Interpretations from psychology, music education,
musicology and ethnomusicology
. New York: Oxford University Press.
Although the history of classical music is replete with examples of
phenomenal prodigies - Mozart marking the best-known case - empirical
studies have been relatively rare. Of special interest is the question
whether former child prodigies are more likely to exhibit more creative
genius relative to composers far less precocious, if precocious at all.
After reviewing the relevant historiometric findings, the answer is
affirmative. Among composers who contributed at least one work to the
classical repertoire, precocity is associated with both productivity and
eminence. However, one fundamental limitation on this conclusion must be
acknowledged: The samples under investigation do not include any former
musical prodigies who never made a name for themselves in classical
music - not even as "one-hit wonders." Yet the number of "mute,
inglorious" Mozarts may be indefinitely large.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-c). Genius. In B. Thompson &
J. G. Golson (Eds.), Music in the social and behavioral sciences: An
. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
. Simonton, D. K. (in
press-d). Genius and creativity. In H. S. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia
of mental health
(2nd ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-e). Historiometry. In J.
Martin, J. Sugarman, & K. Slaney (Eds.), Wiley
handbook of theoretical and philosophical psychology
Historiometrics (or historiometry) is a method used to test nomothetic
hypotheses about historic thought, emotion, and behavior by applying
quantitative and objective techniques to biographical and historical
data. It originated in a theoretical question concerning genius,
creativity, leadership, and talent, namely, whether such exceptional
ability is born rather than made - the nature-nurture issue. Later the
method became applied to a large number of other theoretical questions,
such as the classic genius-versus-zeitgeist and mad-genius debates. Is
great achievement a matter of being the "right person" or simply of
being at the "right place at the right time"? Are eminent achievers
inclined to mental illness? The historiometric research on these two
controversies is then used to provide more detailed illustrations of the
method's application. These illustrations lead to a general evaluation
of how well historiometric research deals with the questions for which
it was designed. The chapter then closes with some recommendations about
how historiometrics might best undergo additional growth and more
extended application. Because there are certain theoretical questions
that can only be addressed using this technique, and because the
requisite historical record is becoming even more complete and precise,
the prospects for future applications remain very good.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-f). The [insert
publisher] handbook of [insert topic] … then repeat with tweaks. [Review
of the book The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations
David V. Day, Editor]. PsycCRITIQUES
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-g). Lehman, Harvey C. In
S. K. Whitbourne (General Editor), Wiley-Blackwell's encyclopedia of
adulthood and aging
. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Simonton, D. K. (in press-h). Numerical odds and evens in Beethoven’s
nine symphonies: Can a computer really tell the difference? Empirical
Studies of the Arts.
The odd-numbered symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven have long
been said to differ qualitatively from his even-numbered symphonies. Yet
no quantitative study has determined whether this common assertion has
any empirical justification. In the current investigation, his 9
symphonies were assessed on 10 potential correlates: prominence,
popularity, aesthetics, accessibility, length, the number of themes, and
four computer content analytical measures associated with melodic
originality (mean, standard deviation, maximum, and minimum). The
odd-numbered symphonies were distinguishable from the even-numbered
symphonies in prominence as well as three out of the four content
analytical measures. Moreover, the prominence of his symphonies were
strongly correlated with the three melodic originality indicators. Given
that the computer analyses cannot have been contaminated by subjective
biases, the odd versus even distinction has been empirically confirmed.
The article closes with a discussion of what the empirical results may
imply about Beethoven’s creative process.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-i). The personal characteristics
of political leaders: Quantitative multiple-case assessments. In G.
Goethals, S. Allison, R. Kramer, & D. Messick (Eds.), Conceptions
of leadership: Enduring ideas and emerging insights
UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-j). Quetelet, Adolphe.
In S. K. Whitbourne (General Editor), Wiley-Blackwell's encyclopedia
of adulthood and aging
. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
. Simonton, D. K. (in press-k). "So we meet again!"
– Replies to Gabora and Weisberg. Psychology of Aesthetics,
Creativity, and the Arts
This reply responds to comments and criticisms of Liane Gabora and
Robert Weisberg (this issue) concerning my empirical study of Thomas
Edison’s creative career. With respect to Gabora, I discuss backtracking
and superfluity, the evaluation of ideas as good or bad, the
quantification of responses, the network of enterprises, and other minor
issues. Regarding Weisberg, I focus on domain-specific expertise,
ordinary thought processes, and personality differences. I then close my
response with a brief discussion of why a BVSR theory of creativity is
urgently needed in this research area.