Dean Simonton || The Science of Genius

July 22, 2021

Today it’s great to have Dean Keith Simonton on the podcast. Dean is distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California Davis. His well over 500 single author publications focus on topics such as genius, creativity, aesthetics, and leadership. In 2018, MIT Press published his book The Genius Checklist but he has also published many other books on these various topics of genius, leadership, and aesthetics. I just want to personally say his book, Greatness: Who Makes History and Why, is one of the major books that inspired me to go into the field that I’m in today.


  • Dean’s interest in genius, creativity, and leadership
  • The historiometic approach
  • Child prodigies and the savant syndrome
  • Dean’s schooling years
  • Can late bloomers become geniuses?
  • Fame and creativity in the age of social media
  • Using the equal odds rule to create a masterpiece
  • Grit and openness to experience predict genius
  • Dean’s solo publications and collaborations
  • Re-analysis of Cox’s data on geniuses
  • The IQs of Mozart, Cervantes, and Shakespeare
  • Scientific genius vs. artistic genius
  • The mad-genius paradox
  • US Presidents’ IQ scores and leadership
  • Variability and the role of talent in mastery

One Response to “Dean Simonton || The Science of Genius”

  1. Vic Steblin says:

    Note the historiometric approach, which instead of some scientific hypothesis
    method from some book, says to consider the existing data from history,
    and look at that as evidence. Do this with God, the soul, living forever, and then
    use this method to see if anyone anywhere can find the supernatural that cares
    anything about us down here. GOOD LUCK! Besides a whole lot of humans saying
    that there is EVIDENCE … show it to me! As Hume said, ‘It is more likely that us
    humans are just SAYING things.’ The religious writings are excellent examples of humans
    saying this and that … mostly without evidence, but with a superior attitude of ‘trust us’.
    Hitler, Stalin, pastors, prophets do the same thing over and over and many believe them!

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