The quest to understand high-ability individuals has been ongoing since Lewis Terman and Melita Oden began their landmark Genetic Studies of Genius in 1921, which subsequently shed much light on the importance of the college years in the development of giftedness. This study of 1,528 gifted children with IQs of 135 and above demonstrated that intellectually superior children, contrary to opinion at the time, were not puny and weak but were, by and large, emotionally and physically strong and seemingly well positioned to fulfill their potential as adults. Some failed to do so. Midlife follow-up comparisons between occupationally successful and unsuccessful participants (success defined as achievements in college and later career) showed that differences between the two groups in academic achievement and persistence first began ...

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