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Scott Barry Kaufman
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Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Kaufman is also co-founder of The Creativity Post and author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. He is also the author of a forthcoming book on the science of creativity, with Huffington Post senior writer Carolyn Gregoire, to be published by Penguin Books in Fall 2015.

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Entries by Scott Barry Kaufman

The Creative Gifts of ADHD

(9) Comments | Posted October 30, 2014 | 10:28 AM

In his 2004 book Creativity is Forever, Gary Davis reviewed the creativity literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 reoccurring personality traits of creative people. This included 16 "positive" traits (e.g., independent, risk-taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, artistic, emotional) and six "negative" traits (e.g., impulsive, hyperactive, argumentative). In...

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Will the Real Introverts Please Stand Up?

(8) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 3:41 PM

Quick quiz: Which of the following are signs of introversion?

  • Highly sensitive

  • Deep thinker

  • Reflective

  • Introspective

  • Negative emotions

  • Socially anxious

  • Defensive

  • Vulnerable

  • Always prefers solitude over social interaction

Answer: Not a single one.

Introversion is one of the most misunderstood...

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The Varieties of the Prodigy

(1) Comments | Posted February 23, 2014 | 11:22 PM

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 nonverbal, rule-based domains such as chess, art, and music before the age of 10.

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Standardized Achievement Tests: What Are They Good For? Hint: Not Cognitive Ability

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2014 | 12:53 PM

It's well known that students who are good standardized test takers also tend to have high cognitive ability. That's not a shocker.

But until recently, very little research has looked at the effect of improving standardized achievement test performance. This is obviously a really important question, since we...

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Succumb to Your Desires in 2014: Controlling Them Only Intensifies the Urge

(22) Comments | Posted December 31, 2013 | 12:11 PM

Today millions of Americans will pull out their lists of New Year's resolutions, full of intentions to control their many temptations, from one-night stands to junk food to alcohol to smoking.

And 88 percent of those resolutions will probably end in failure.

We spend as much

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The Heritability of Intelligence: Not What You Think

(26) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 3:04 PM

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. Differences in fluid intelligence are thought...
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The Real Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness

(36) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 12:55 PM

"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...

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Why Education Needs More Radioactive Spiders

(6) Comments | Posted September 22, 2013 | 10:47 AM

Education needs more radioactive spiders.

Stay with me.

Consider Peter Parker. His childhood wasn't easy. Both his parents, Richard and Mary, were killed on a mission as double agents. Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, Peter spent most of his childhood without an identity.

Now, Peter...

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The Real Neuroscience of Creativity

(24) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 1:00 PM

So yea, you know how the left brain is really realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is so darn creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, vivid, and poetic?


Just no.

Stop it.


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23 Signs You're Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert

(241) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 11:07 AM

If I see one more listicle about introversion, I'm going to cry.

It started out with the fairly reasonable "31 Unmistakable Signs That You're An Introvert." Sure, many of the items on the list offered an exaggerated version of introversion, but there were some real gems that had a...

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Two Passionate Paths to Performance

(5) Comments | Posted July 14, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

"What I learn from the Yo-Yo is that if I make enough efforts with huge passion, there is no impossible." -- BLACK

With 600,000+ views, BLACK's...

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Is Your Child Ungifted?

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 2:57 PM


When Jay Leno asked Steve Carell how his kids were doing, he didn't seem too concerned:

"I hate it when people talk about kids on talk shows. I hate it, because every person who talks about their kids, their kids are obviously the most...
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Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 5:21 PM

Hardcover | E-book | Audio book

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids who don't always get A's
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers, And noses...

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Does Natural Exceptional Memory Exist?

(5) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 7:43 PM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

In his fascinating and informative TEDTalk, "Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do," journalist Joshua Foer describes what he learned about the nature of memory from...

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New Sensitivity Gene Discovered

(5) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 10:08 AM

In Psychiatry, there has been a great mystery. We know that virtually every single mental disorder identified thus far has a heritable basis. So we know that many genes are involved. At the same time, whenever we go fishing for the specific genes that are associated with any disorder, we...

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Social and Mechanical Reasoning Inhibit Each Other

(36) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 5:20 PM

I've got two questions for you:

  1. A guitar is a musical instrument with five metal strings of varying thicknesses. Plucking the strings causes them to vibrate and produce a sound. Each string has a different pitch depending on its thickness, which affects the speed of the vibration. The lightest or...
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The Pesky Persistence of Labels

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 6:41 PM

"We inhabit a world in which we tend to put labels on each other and expect that we will then march through life wearing them like permanent sandwich boards."
--Nick Webb

The tendency to classify and categorize objects is a deeply ingrained aspect of human nature. In many cases,...

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Social Rejection Can Fuel Creativity

(12) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 1:42 PM

"I will not choose what many men desire,
Because I will not jump with common spirits
And rank me with the barbarous multitudes."

--Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

The need to belong is a fundamental human motive. When people are socially rejected, they make a...

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'Do You Have Any Raisins? No? Well Then, How About a Date?': The Psychology of Pick-up Lines

(166) Comments | Posted August 24, 2012 | 2:56 PM

Every relationship begins with that first step. Some people never get past that first step. First impressions matter, and our opening few lines can either energize the interaction or cause the other person to look around for the nearest exit. Gratefully, psychologists have spent years of celibacy trying to understand...

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Pride and Creativity

(3) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 12:49 PM

"You received a score of 124 out of 147, which is the 94th percentile. Great job on that! That's one of the highest scores we've seen so far!"

When Lisa Williams and David DeSteno told this to their participants, they noticed a significant increase in perseverance on a...

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