Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity by Dean Keith Simonton

Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity

byDean Keith Simonton

Hardcover | August 15, 1999

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How can we account for the sudden appearance of such dazzling artists and scientists as Mozart, Shakespeare, Darwin, or Einstein? How can we define such genius? What conditions or personality traits seem to produce exceptionally creative people? Is the association between genius and madnessreally just a myth? These and many other questions are brilliantly illuminated in The Origins of Genius. Dean Simonton convincingly argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. The artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgment, selecting only those that have the best chance tosurvive and reproduce. Indeed, the true test of genius is the ability to bequeath an impressive and influential body of work to future generations. Simonton draws on the latest research into creativity and explores such topics as the personality type of the genius, whether genius is genetic orproduced by environment and education, the links between genius and mental illness (Darwin himself was emotionally and mentally unwell), the high incidence of childhood trauma, especially loss of a parent, amongst Nobel Prize winners, the importance of unconscious incubation in creativeproblem-solving, and much more. Simonton substantiates his theory by examining and quoting from the work of such eminent figures as Henri Poincare, W. H. Auden, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, and many others. For anyone intrigued by the spectacular feats of the human mind, The Origins of Genius offers a revolutionary new way of understanding the very nature of creativity.

About The Author

Dean Simonton is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. The recipient of the Francis Galton Prize, he is the author of Genius, Creativity, and Leadership, Scientific Genius, Why Presidents Succeed, and other books. He lives in Davis, California.
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Details & Specs

Title:Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on CreativityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.18 inPublished:August 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195128796

ISBN - 13:9780195128796

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Are there correlations between mental illness and creativity? Are creative thinkers more inclined to isolate themselves from the rest of the population and if so, does this solitude contribute to their artistic gifts? Dean Keith Simonton surprises us all with startling revelations about the links between Darwinian principles and genius by relying on a variety of psychological and psychosocial findings with Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity.

Editorial Reviews

"A fascinating treatise leavened with candid descriptions by Einstein, Nietzsche, Mozart, Darwin, Poe, Linus Pauling and many others of their own creative processes.... Likely to generate controversy but also has the potential to influence how we think about the human mind."--PublishersWeekly