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Beautiful Minds

Beautiful Minds

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    Scott Barry Kaufman Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute and a researcher in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of imagination. His latest book is Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. Follow on Twitter @sbkaufman.
  • Why Academic Tenacity Matters


    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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    Are You Mentally Tough?

    Parkour Training

    Forty seconds before round two, and I’m lying on my back trying to breathe. Pain all through me. Deep breath. Let it go. I won’t be able to lift my shoulder tomorrow, it won’t heal for over a year, but now it pulses, alive, and I feel the air vibrating around me, the stadium shaking [...]

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    Imagining a New College Entrance Examination


    The ‘new’ SAT is causing a lot of debate and criticism. Rightly so. For many parents, students, educators, and college admissions committees, the revised SAT is just a minor variation on the same theme (e.g., more passage analysis, more relevant vocabulary, more focused math questions). In addition to criticizing the skills that are being measured, [...]

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    Interest Fuels Effortless Engagement


    Think back to a time when you were completely engaged in an activity. Maybe it was reading a comic book, or catching up with an old friend. Whatever it was, what do you remember about the experience? Are “effort” and “persistence” words you would use to describe the activity? Even though something technically got done [...]

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    Where do Savant Skills Come From?


    There’s a scene in the 1988 movie Rain Man in which Raymond Babbitt (played by Dustin Hoffman) recites a waitress’s phone number. Naturally the waitress is shocked. Instead of mental telepathy, Raymond had memorized the entire telephone book and instantly recognized the name on her nametag. Hoffman’s character was heavily influenced by the life of [...]

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    The Mind of the Prodigy


    Prodigies dazzle us with their virtuoso violin concertos, seemingly prescient chess moves, and vivid paintings. While their work would be enough to impress us if they were 40, prodigies typically reach adult levels of performance in non-verbal, rule-based domains such as chess, art, and music before the age of 10. Their performances are hard to [...]

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    What Do IQ Tests Test?: Interview with Psychologist W. Joel Schneider


    W. Joel Schneider is a psychologist at Illinois State University, dividing his time equally between the Clinical-Counseling program and the Quantitative Psychology program. He also runs the College Learning Assessment Service in which students and adults from the community can learn about their cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses. His primary research interests lie in evaluating psychological evaluations. He is [...]

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    Can Cognitive Training Make You Smarter?: Interview with Author Dan Hurley

    dan hurley

    Dan Hurley is one of my favorite science journalists. Not only does he write about issues that interest me, but he doesn’t sacrifice the nuance, or the humor. Dan’s popular feature in The New York Times Magazine, “Can You Make Yourself Smarter?” brilliantly presented multiple perspectives in the cognitive training debate. In his latest book, [...]

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    Working Memory and Fluid Reasoning: Same or Different?

    Brainy woman

    In 1990, researchers Patrick Kyllonen and Raymond Christal found a striking correlation. They gave large groups of American Air Force recruits various tests of working memory, in which participants performed simple operations on a single letter. For instance, in the “alphabet recoding” task, the computer briefly displayed three letters: H, N, C Followed by an [...]

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    From Evaluation to Inspiration


    We live in a culture saturated with evaluation. In school, we learn to take tests. We take the tests, and depending on the outcome, either feel really smart or really stupid. We then prepare for college entrance exams. And then graduate entrance exams. And then occupational entrance exams. Then on the job, we are constantly [...]

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