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Beautiful Minds

Beautiful Minds


Insights into intelligence, creativity, and the mind
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    Scott Barry Kaufman Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Follow on Twitter @sbkaufman.
  • Robin Williams’s Comedic Genius Was Not a Result of Mental Illness, but His Suicide Was

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    This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Genius, Suicide and Mental Illness: Insights into a Deep Connection Of course, the media is writing a lot today about the link between mental illness and creativity in light of Robin Williams’ suicide. Here’s the thing: Williams’ comedic genius was a result of many factors, including his compassion, [...]

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    What Predicts NBA Success?

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    “To an outsider watching Pop Herring’s basketball tryout in November 1978, it would not have been obvious that the gym at Laney High in Wilmington, N.C., held a player destined to become the greatest in the universe. He was still Mike Jordan then, not Michael Jordan, just another sophomore guard among 50 eager boys competing [...]

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    Talent versus Practice: Why Are We Still Debating This?

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    When I was a little kid, my mom and grandmom were having a heated argument in the front of the car. At one point I interrupted them, and with exasperation said: “You know, Mom, Grandmom is really right.” Then I turned to my grandmom and said, “I think my Mom is right too.” They were shocked, because [...]

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    Introducing… The Imagination Institute!

    The Imagination Institute

    One of humanity’s most precious resources is imagination. Our ability to overcome the constraints of the present environment and travel to distant places and hopeful futures all in the mind is a skill that is hugely neglected in today’s society. With our intense focus on enabling students and employees to master what is, we are [...]

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    The Controlled Chaos of Creativity

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    Fifty years ago, Sarnoff Mednick defined the process of creative thinking as “the forming of associative elements into new combinations which either meet specific requirements or are in some way useful. The more mutually remote the elements of the new combination, the more creative the process or solution.” Mednick argued that creative people have flat associative [...]

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    Will the Real Introverts Please Stand Up?

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    Quick Quiz: Which of the following are signs of introversion? Highly sensitive Deep Thinker Reflective Introspective Negative emotions Socially Anxious Defensive Vulnerable Always prefers solitude over social interaction Answer: Not a single one. Introversion is one of the most misunderstood dimensions of personality. Many people are not aware that the original definition of introversion, as [...]

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    The Philosophy of Creativity

    The Philosophy of Creativity

    There is little that shapes the human experience as profoundly and pervasively as creativity. Creativity drives progress in every human endeavor, from the arts to the sciences, business, and technology. We celebrate and honor people for their creativity, identifying eminent individuals, as well as entire cultures and societies, in terms of their creative achievements. Creativity [...]

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    The Neuroscience of Mathematical Beauty

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    Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty” — Bertrand Russell The latest neuroscience of aesthetics suggests that the experience of visual, musical, and moral beauty all recruit the same part of the “emotional brain”: field A1 of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC). But what about mathematics? Plato believed that mathematical beauty was [...]

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    How Does IQ Relate to Personality?

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    Personality and IQ have traditionally been viewed as distinct domains of human functioning. However, research over the past three decades suggests that IQ is a personality trait. In an excellent book chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence, personality neuroscientist Colin DeYoung points out that many personality traits involve cognitive processes and abilities. It’s just [...]

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    Why Academic Tenacity Matters

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    For academic achievement, ability is not enough. What’s also needed are mindsets and strategies for overcoming obstacles, staying on task, and learning and growing over the long-term. According to Gregory Walton and colleagues, academic tenacity is not about being smart, but learning smart. Academically tenacious students: Feel as though they belong in school, academically and socially. [...]

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