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Stories by Scott Barry Kaufman

The Real Link Between Psychopathology and Creativity

Plato once noted that “creativity is a divine madness, a gift from gods." Romantic notions of the link between mental illness and creativity still appear prominently in popular culture...

September 15, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Robin Williams' Comedic Genius Was Not a Result of Mental Illness, but His Suicide Was

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, playfulness, divergent thinking, imagination, intelligence, affective repertoire, and unique life experiences...

August 12, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

What Predicts NBA Success?

“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...

August 5, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Practice Alone Does Not Make Perfect, Studies Find

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 [...]..

July 15, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Imagination Institute to Study How the Mind Conjures

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...

July 1, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

The Controlled Chaos of Creativity

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...

June 25, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Will the Real Introverts Please Stand Up?

Quick Quiz: Which of the following are signs of introversion? Highly sensitive Deep Thinker Reflective Introspective Intelligent Negative emotions Socially Anxious Defensive Vulnerable Always prefers solitude over social interaction Answer: Not a single one...

June 9, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman
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...

May 12, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

The Neuroscience of Mathematical Beauty

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)...

May 7, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

How Does IQ Relate to Personality?

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.

April 21, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

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...

April 14, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Are You Mentally Tough?

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 [...]..

March 19, 2014 — Scott Barry Kaufman

Reimagining College Admissions Criteria

I believe that if we implemented a more imaginative college admissions system, we'd be pleasantly surprised by just how much intellectual and creative potential there already exists all around us...

March 12, 2014 — 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
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