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People Favor Naturals Over Strivers — Even Though They Say Otherwise

by Scott Barry Kaufman, May 19, 2016

Our society is deeply conflicted about the source of excellence. On one hand, we are fascinated with child prodigies, portraying them as wonders of nature. On the other hand, we love a good “overcoming adversity” story, as it inspires us all to greatness.

But when it comes down to actually making judgments about individual performance, what influences our evaluations? Previous research has found that the potential to be good at something often carries more weight than actually being good at it. But why is this so?

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