The following issues represent some major themes that permeate the
entire course. One of these shall be selected to be the subject of your
essay final exam.
Therefore, I strongly recommend that you periodically review the lectures
and your textbook readings in terms of these four broad integrative questions.
In the topic outlines located here
I indicate the lectures corresponding to each of the four themes. Above
I have indicated the main pages in the textbook corresponding to each theme.
However, please note that many pages in the text are applicable to more
than one theme.
In this course we have been assuming that exceptional creativity and leadership
define the two main manifestations of genius. To what extent does the term
"genius" successfully provide a generic label for these two behavioral
phenomena? Are there aspects of creativity and leadership which seem to
reside beyond this broad categorization? And can you conjure up other domains
of achievement or fame where the term "genius" might be reasonably applied
and yet which do not seem to fall into the subcategory of either creativity
or leadership? For example, what about those personalities who found major
world religions? Or rock stars? Or chefs? (See Genius 101: pp. 11-45,
parts of pp. 47-77, 107-134)
Each year the MacArthur Foundation awards handsome fellowships of $500,000
to notable contemporary achievers in virtually any domain of activity.
The press refers to these as the "genius awards," and thus the recipients,
besides being richer, become officially certified as geniuses. Let's say
that you graduate at the end of this year and start looking for a job,
only to discover in the "want ads" that the MacArthur Foundation is seeking
someone to help select the next round of geniuses. Having done well in
Psychology 175, you decide you are a shoo-in for the job, but you realize
that your application must include a well-formulated "position paper" in
which you specify the criteria that you should use to decide whether someone
is deserving of the award. What things would you look for? Any developmental
experiences or personality traits? Any objective behaviors or social relationships?
(See Genius 101: pp. 47-77; parts of pp. 79-105, 107-134, 161-195)
It is a national crisis: The President of the United States, in her State
of the Union Address, has claimed that America has fallen behind the rest
of the world in its per capita output of geniuses. This decline is evident
in the poor showing of Americans among recent recipients of the Nobel Prizes
as well as the dearth of first-rate leaders in industry and politics (herself
excluded). The Congress in its infinite wisdom has therefore voted to use
the entire budget normally granted the Department of Defense to launch
a massive campaign to boost the U.S. percentage of world genius by the
year 2050 A.D. Given that you did so well in Psychology 175 a decade ago,
you are recruited by the President herself to assume command as the "genius
czar." Because money is no object, you initiate a massive program to make
America rival the Golden Age of Greece. In particular, you.... (See Genius
101: pp. 79-105, 135-160; parts of pp. 47-77, 107-134, 161-195)
During the course of this class, we have examined genius, creativity, and
leadership from a great diversity of methodological techniques and theoretical
perspectives. Which of these approaches seem to be the most enlightening,
which the least, and why? To what extent are some methodologies tied
to certain theories whereas other methods seem relatively theory free?
Which methods and theories are most suitable for studying just creativity?
Which work best for investigating leadership? How possible is it
for a psychology of genius to emerge that imposes one method and theory
on all pertinent phenomena? Are there aspects of genius that are
overlooked by all current methodological and theoretical frameworks? (See
101: pp. 1-10, parts of pp. 14-22, 37-38, 50-56, 65-66, 95-102, 110-121,
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Last Revised: March 15, 2011