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Discussing the Nature of Childhood Prodigies with Kimberly Stephens

by Scott Barry Kaufman, March 7, 2016

On this episode of the psychology podcast, we gain insight into the fascinating and mysterious psychology of child prodigies. Kimberly Stephens recently co-authored a book with psychologist Joanne Ruthsatz investigating the link between autism and extraordinary childhood talent called The Prodigy’s Cousin, which had made her an excellent source of knowledge. We discuss the extraordinary working memory, attention to detail, passionate interest, talent development and parenting styles that tend to characterize incredible childhood skill. We also cover an interesting genetic component; research suggests that autism tends to be present in the families of prodigies. The conversation is a celebration of the high achievement, intense interest and quirky personalities expressed by prodigies like Jonathan Russell, who has been known to pass the time recreating music with household items like blenders and washing machines! It’s a fun discussion and we’re excited to share it with our listeners.

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Kimberly Stephens has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist and as an attorney. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Brown University. She has co-authored two academic papers on child prodigies and is a member of the D.C. Science Writers Association. -Blurb taken from prodigyscousin.com


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