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Research On Scientific Success Expands On Dean Simonton's Findings

A new study points to a combination of personality, persistence, intelligence and luck as leading to success. Scientists say those same forces are at play at all levels of a discipline — from student to longtime professional.

The findings appear in the journal Science. An article in the New York Times cites previous work by Dean Simonton, a distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, and quoted him on the findings.

“It’s very impressive, what they’ve done, the size of the sample,” Simonton told the Times. “I have looked at the upper end of achievement; they have gone bottom-up, and found similar results” applying to an entire profession.

Simonton, who did not contribute to the study on scientists’ success, has long researched the nature and origins of creative genius. He had found that a similar mix of traits was behind the success of very top performers in a variety of work, including music composition, film, psychology and technical invention.