Geniuses have something in common. I mean, besides snagging Nobels and the ability to solve endless Sudoku puzzles.
University of California researchers have found that many were “sickly” kids. They analyzed archival evidence from 70 studies, including data on 282 ultra-intelligent people. Study co-author Dean Keith Simonton, a professor of psychology, said of the findings:
We cannot always assume that good goes with good. We don’t necessarily have the smart, stable, and fit on one side and the dumb, unstable, and sick on the other.
The researchers separated the geniuses into groups. The Nerds, Dweebs, Geeks…wait a second! Actually, it went more like this: politicians, revolutionaries, military commanders, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, informative writers, imaginative writers, composers and artists. (I’m pretty sure next year they’ll have one for sassy bloggers.)
Across all 10 groups (a little less so for that military genius), the commonality was sickness as kids. The study authors think that more illness during youth helps accelerate intellectual development.
Instead of spending all that time on the basketball court or baseball field, the kid becomes the nerdy bookworm, joining science clubs and serving on the knowledge bowl team.
Those sicker kids could be the ones to join the ranks of Voltaire, Abraham Lincoln, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton and Michelangelo. So while some children end up picked last for kickball, they may be the ones with the last laugh.
Let’s hope it’s not that maniacical “evil genius” type, eh?!