Science Book a Day Interviews Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott-Barry-KaufmanSpecial thanks to Scott Barry Kaufman for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined: The Truth about Talent, Practice, Creativity, and the Many Paths to Greatness

I’m a cognitive psychologist investigating the development of intelligence and creativity. In my latest book, Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, I present a holistic approach to achievement that takes into account each person’s personal goals, individual psychology, and developmental trajectory. I’m adjunct assistant professor of psychology at New York University, where I teach courses on cognitive psychology and human intelligence. I’m also co-founder of The Creativity Post, and I write the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American Mind. – From Scott’s Homepage

Scott’s Homepage:
Scott’s Twitter:

#1 – What was the impetus for writing your book?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinating with individual differences. How and why do people differ from each other? What are the origins of greatness? What does it really take to succeed? These sorts of issues. Also, my early educational experiences in special education gave me a particular perspective on the limits of labeling. I wanted to bring in my personal perspective alongside the science to give these issues a more human dimension.

#2 – Intelligence is an often misunderstood and misconceived idea. Does society place too much or too little emphasis on IQ?

First of all, I don’t equate IQ with intelligence. Second of all, IQ testing is a tool, and can serve useful purposes. I think where we go wrong is when we use the results of such static tests to predict a person’s long-term potential. Instead, I am advocate for collecting as much information about a person as possible so that it can be used to design an appropriate intervention to address a real educational need in the moment. I think intelligence is a more long-term process of adaptation and niche selection where people use varying strategies to achieve their personal goals.

#3 – Your book seems to be infused with stories from you own life. What was your thinking about putting your own experiences amongst the other aspects of the book?

See answer above

#4 – What is the take-home message that you’d like to leave your readers with?

I would like people to think of intelligence as a more dynamic process that unfolds and develops over time, and which is heavily dependent on deep, personal engagement in the learning process. I think too many kids are falling between the cracks because of our misunderstanding of how children develop, and the conditions that help them to flourish.

#5 – Are you working on any new projects/books the you can tell us about?

I’m working on a follow-up book that takes many of the ideas of Ungifted, but is more of a practical guide for teachers, parents, and other educators.

[Image Credit: ]