The word genius has ancient origins, dating back at least to Roman times. It has evolved and changed its meaning over the centuries and has become part of the field of the study of giftedness, creativity, and talent during the past century and a half. During this period, two basic defining qualities of genius have been emphasized, sometimes singly and sometimes in combination: eminence and IQ. In addition, a persistent theme linking genius to insanity has been part of the term's history for centuries. This entry discusses definitions of genius, nature and nurture roles, genius and insanity, and future research.


Francis Galton may have been the first to give genius one of its contemporary meanings in his classic 1869 work Hereditary Genius. Galton's work emphasized the ...

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