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The Wiley Handbook of Genius by Dean Keith Simonton

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14 Genetics of Intellectual and Personality Traits Associated with Creative Genius Could Geniuses Be Cosmobian Dragon Kings?

Wendy Johnson and Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr.

The constructs of genius and creativity have long eluded understanding. As a consequence, they are surrounded by mystique. This does not mean we know nothing about them. To the contrary, we know much at a descriptive level (see relevant chapters in this handbook). What we do not fully understand are the “causes” of the constructs, or the processes through which they develop or emerge (Lee, 2012; Pearl, 2009). In this chapter, we discuss the ways in which genetic variation might contribute to these constructs, and to their particular configurations in those we have identified historically as creative geniuses.

Most of the substantive evidence for genetic influences we discuss comes from quantitative genetic models presumed to be causal. These models are variations and elaborations on the basic model introduced into agricultural genetics long ago by Ronald Fisher (Lynch & Walsh, 1998). These models have been applied to behavioral traits in both animals and humans (Carey, 2003; van Oers & Mueller, 2010). Animal studies provide opportunities to reveal genetic influences on traits in a powerful causal manner (through experimental manipulation of breeding) that is not available in human work. Demonstration that behavioral traits can be selected in animal populations provides strong empirical evidence that human behaviors ...

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