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Stories by Scott Barry Kaufman

Interest Fuels Effortless Engagement

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.

March 5, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Where do Savant Skills Come From?

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.

February 25, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman
The Mind of the Prodigy

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...

February 10, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman
From Evaluation to Inspiration

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.

January 8, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Do Painters Peak at the Golden Mean?

Do Painters Peak at the Golden Mean?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. – John Keats The golden mean, or divine proportion, has fascinated philosophers, mathematicians, artists, and scientists for centuries...

December 15, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Conversation on Daydreaming with Jerome L. Singer

Conversation on Daydreaming with Jerome L. Singer

Jerome L. Singer is the father of daydreaming. His seminal research over the past 50+ years with his colleagues (including John Antrobus and Eric Klinger) has laid the foundations for virtually all current investigations of the costs and benefits of daydreaming and mind wandering (see “The Origins of Positive-Constructive Daydreaming” and “Ode to Positive Constructive [...]..

December 10, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Creativity in the Brain

Creativity in the Brain

What’s going on in the brain when we reason, create, and imagine? A group of thoughtful cognitive neuroscientists have been unraveling some of creativity’s mysterious origins (see “The Real Neuroscience of Creativity” or the recent edited volume “Neuroscience of Creativity”)...

November 27, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Openness to Experience and Creative Achievement

Openness to Experience and Creative Achievement

Openness to experience– the drive for cognitive exploration of inner and outer experience– is the personality trait most consistently associated with creativity.

November 25, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development

The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development

[This post was co-authored with Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer] Many people often think of play in the form of images of young children at recess engaging in games of tag, ball, using slides, swings, and physically exploring their environments...

November 11, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
Nostalgia and Creativity

Nostalgia and Creativity

Lately I’ve become increasingly nostalgic: Nostalgic of my college years, old friends, and my more carefree days without as many commitments and responsibility.

November 7, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence

An alarming report on the current state of excellence in the United States has been released today. The conclusion of the report "Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and the Persistence of America's Permanent Talent Underclass" is that the United States is relying on less than half of its talent, with large percentages of our brightest students [...]..

October 22, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman

The Need for Belonging in Math and Science

From her earliest memories, Catherine Good was good at math. By second grade she was performing at the fourth grade level, sometimes even helping the teacher grade other students’ work.

October 21, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman

The Heritability of Intelligence: Not What You Think

One of the longest standing assumptions about the nature of human intelligence has just been seriously challenged. According to the traditional “investment” theory, intelligence can be classified into two main categories: fluid and crystallized...

October 17, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
New Cognitive Training Study Takes on the Critics

New Cognitive Training Study Takes on the Critics

Brain training: yay or nay? It’s not so simple. Traversing the swamp of studies on cognitive training is bound to give even the boldest explorer a migraine.

October 9, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman

The Real Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.”          —Salvador Dali The romantic notion that mental illness and creativity are linked is so prominent in the public consciousness that it is rarely challenged. So before I continue, let me nip this in the bud: Mental illness is neither necessary nor sufficient for creativity...

October 3, 2013 — Scott Barry Kaufman
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