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Geniuses Are Born, Not Made? Debate Between Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, Dr. Zach Hambrick

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Do genes make the genius? Or is it really true that practice is what puts people in Carnegie Hall?

Some argue that the the seeds of genius are planted before birth—child prodigies like Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci and Tiger Woods come to mind. Others say 'genius' is just another word for minds that have been honed by untold hours of practice—Paul Cezanne, Robert Frost and even Charles Darwin were well-known 'late-bloomers.' Of course, many argue that brilliance and virtuosity represent the combined effects of learned and innate characteristics.


Wolfgang Mozart, Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton.

Who has genius right? We invited a pair of noted experts in the field to square off on this proposition: geniuses are born, not made. On one side is Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, a professor of psychology at New York University in New York City. On the other is Dr. Zach Hambrick, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Who wins the debate? That's up to you and other HuffPost Science readers, all of whom are invited to read the arguments side by side and then cast a vote. Whoever changes more minds is the winner.

Step
1

Pre-debate poll:

Tell us your opinion before the debate starts to set the starting line

Geniuses are born, not made.

Agree - Thanks for voting! Please proceed to read the debate below

Please vote to proceed to the debate

Step
2

Who makes the better argument?

Step
3

POST DEBATE POLL

Did one of the arguments change your mind?

Geniuses are born, not made.

VIEW DEBATE ROUND 1 RESULTS

Agree - Thanks for voting again! Here are the results:

Before

After

moreless AgreeDisagreeUndecided

"Agree""Disagree"Neither argumenthas changed the most minds

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Michigan State University was in Ann Arbor. In fact, it is in East Lansing.

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