Intelligence and Hereditary Genius

  • H. J. Eysenck
Part of the Studies in Biology, Economy and Society book series (SBES)


Ever since Galton raised the question of ‘hereditary genius’ (Galton, 1869), we have been plagued by the problem of distinguishing between high intelligence and the creativity that is the prerogative of genius. Terman (1925) entitled his study of children with IQs above 140 ‘Genetic Studies of Genius’, ensuring the identification of IQ and genius, but while historical geniuses have usually been rated high in IQ (Cox, 1926), the reverse is certainly not true: there are many highly intelligent people with IQs above 180 whom nobody would call geniuses. Empirical studies of creativity, or ratings of creativity, have usually shown only slight correlation with IQ, suggesting independence between very high IQ and creativity (Prentky, 1980). IQ may be a necessary, but is certainly not a sufficient condition of ‘genius’; creativity clearly implies much more than intelligence.


Neural Element Creative People Creative Person Creative Thought Uniqueness Score 
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© The Galton Institute 1993

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  • H. J. Eysenck

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