Creative Geniuses, Polymaths, Child Prodigies, and Autistic Savants: The Ambivalent Function of Interests and Obsessions

  • Dean Keith SimontonEmail author


The impact of interests and obsessions is examined with respect to four types of exceptional personal performance: the creative genius, the polymath, the child prodigy, and the autistic savant. This examination entails seven influential factors: (a) domain-specific expertise, deliberate practice, and the 10-year rule; (b) the genetic and environmental foundations of interests and obsessions; (c) openness to experience, divergent thinking, and cognitive disinhibition; (d) inter- and intradomain versatility; (e) general intelligence; (f) asymmetrical development; and (g) early versus late bloomers. By combining the four types with the seven factors, it becomes evident that the developmental connection between creative achievement and interests or obsessions is extremely complex.


Creativity Genius Polymaths Child prodigies Autistic savants 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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