Autism, Creativity & Genius

See also:    Intelligence    Savant Syndrome   

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left."

Oscar Levant

Internet Resources

It is possible for human beings to possess a level of intelligence far greater than that for which men are praised as "geniuses.'' There are people alive right now who are in the "beyond human'' category in intelligence. They are not recognized for what they are because their inner lives are beyond the comprehension of ordinary humanity. There are two requirements for achieving this level of intellect: a new "ply'' of reason, and subjugation of automatic belief by the wish to know the truth .
Caroline Elliot
Powerpoint presentation; includes extensive discussion of British economist Keith Joseph.
Michael Fitzpatrick
The aim is to give the reader 'a greater understanding of the genius's personality so that their work can be appreciated in a wider context.' It is this reviewer's contention that Fitzgerald has succeeded admirably.
Joe Sinclair
Fitzgerald states that Wittgenstein focused on these two areas (language and its social context) precisely because they confounded him, because of his high functioning autism.
Michael Fitzgerald
It is more logical to strive for greater acceptance of individuality than for the curing or reduction of autism. As uncomfortable as autistics often make closed-minded normal people, their positive traits are vital for innovation and societal growth.
Frank Klein
Though their ability to function properly is of utmost concern, since the cycling between manic and depressive phases is so traumatic and energy depleting, the unusual existence of creativity of such caliber in these people is something to conserve.
HimaBindu Krishna
Historical figures including Socrates, Charles Darwin, and Andy Warhol probably had a form of autism, says a leading specialist. He said: 'Asperger's syndrome provides a plus - it makes people more creative.'
British Broadcasting Corporation
Socrates spoke of enthousiasms (sometimes translated as divine madness, referring to then dominant belief that creators were simply conduits of divine muses. reations were gifts delivered through inspiration which occurred only when the creator set aside reason. In talking about creators Aristotle ascribed their melancholic temperament.
Bruce Ehrlich
Three studies are reported that address the often described impoverished creativity in autism. Using the Torrance Creativity Tests, Experiment 1 found that children with autism and Asperger syndrome (AS) showed impairments. Experiment 2 tested two explanations of these results: the executive dysfunction and the imagination deficit hypotheses. Results supported both hypotheses. Children with autism and AS could generate possible novel changes to an object, though they generated fewer of these relative to controls. Furthermore, these were all reality-based, rather than imaginative. Experiment 3 extended this using a test of imaginative fluency. Children with autism and AS generated fewer suggestions involving attribution of animacy to foam shapes, compared to controls, instead generating reality-based suggestions of what the shapes could be. Although this is evidence of executive dysfunction, it does not directly account for why imaginative creativity is more difficult than reality-based creativity.
J. Craig, Simon Baron-Cohen
If genius sometimes grows up in suffering, it seems that the pain of a few is of benefit to all of us. If we appreciate the gifts these creative people have given us, they deserve our understanding and careful consideration.
Laura Gosselink
The purposes of this essay are to quickly examine some of the personality traits that are associated with unusual creativity and innovation and to criticize management and educational techniques that penalize or discourage creativity.
Ronald Standler
Describes their research findings on infants' and toddlers' growing abilities to understand and use the language and symbols of their culture
Susan Engel, Judy DeLoache, Katherine Nelson
I said, 'You cannot be inventive and live a normal life.' Oh, I knew you could live a normal life, at least in the outward markers of normalcy. But at some point you have to go where others have not gone.
John Lienhard
This research may provide the clinical literature with valuable clues to those situations and techniques that can aid and improve the functioning of people with autism at both the cognitive and the behavioural level
Michelle Turner
Rather than savants having special powers, as others have argued, they claim that the same powers exist in everybody's brains but only those with a rare abnormality can access them.
Nigel Hawkes
The idea that genius is inheritable is another 'modernization' of a folk belief, that creativity runs in families and reappears in intermittent generations.
Steve Mizrach
Links on: Genius, Giftedness and Talent, Intelligence, Savants, Aesthetics Research and Practice, Computers and Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, Leadership, Etc., Library Research, Databases, APA Style, Geniuses, Creators, and Leaders, Movies
DK Simonton
The extreme introversion associated with Asperger's syndrome and related disorders may well be a factor which produces genius. Yet the tendency to view genius only in terms of autistic spectrum disorders runs the risk of promoting formulaic explanations for both mental abilities and singular works of art. We must view our gods among men not mainly in terms of their mental differences, but also in relation to the cultural forces which produce them.
Nancy Bombaci
Autism is no death sentence, yet we autistic adults feel rotten about the way society treats us. In and of ourselves, we are otherwise very happy.
Antonio Hernandez
Childhood pretend play and adult creative thinking and problem-solving share the same cognitive basis, namely the capacity to generate an initial supposition, and to think and reason within its scope.
Peter Carruthers
New research in fields as diverse as music, art, science and literature suggests that we're wrong to think that great men and women achieve despite disease. Their illness in many cases is a path, rather than an obstacle, to genius. Einstein, Warhol, Newton, Cézanne, Goya, Michelangelo, Turner and Berlioz are among many whose achievements are now thought to have been influenced by disease. Conditions such as depression, autism, myopia, anxiety, chronic pain, gout, stroke and dementia heavily influenced their paths to creativity.
Roger Dobson, Times UK
What is genius, and where does it come from? Are there many types of genius? And is there any real connection between genius and madness?
Lichtenstein Creative Media
The practice of describing some children as being innately gifted or talented inevitably results in influential adults discriminating against young people not so labelled.
Michael Howe
Talents that selectively facilitate the acquisition of high levels of skill are said to be present in some children but not others. The evidence for this includes biological correlates of specific abilities, certain rare abilities in autistic savants, and the seemingly spontaneous emergence of exceptional abilities in young children, but there is also contrary evidence indicating an absence of early precursors of high skill levels. An analysis of positive and negative evidence and arguments suggests that differences in early experiences, preferences, opportunities, habits, training, and practice are the real determinants of excellence.
Michael J. A. Howe et al
The boundaries between normal, abnormal, and supernormal, are arbitrary and blurred. What may seem eccentric behaviour to one observer may be regarded as madness by others. The definition of madness is surrounded by treacherous quicksand.
Kenneth Lyen
It's well known among researchers (that) the gifted, talented and creative...exhibit greater intensity and increased levels of emotional, imaginational, intellectual, sensual and psychomotor excitability and that this is a normal pattern of development.
Lynne Azpeitia, Mary Rocamora
Genius cannot exist without mental disorder, according to a study that names George Orwell, LS Lowry and Lewis Carroll among 21 artists who suffered a form of autism. The psychiatric portrait of some of the most imaginative minds in history claims to prove the link between madness and greatness.
Amy Iggulden
In the least, the realization must come that what is not normal is not necessarily wrong. It can, at times, be extra-ordinary, as the great creative minds have demonstrated before the world. History has shown many abnormal people, even geniuses, being persecuted for their strange ways. That should not happen again. We are in a new century and in a more civilized world.
Mohammed A. R. Galadar, Khaleej Times
Within the most putrid and lifeless places, the human mind has transcended barriers. Be it a prison for the criminal, or the cell for the so-called “insane,” many pieces of political manifesto, literary works, and visual art have been created. Now take the idea of prison to the human mind, or better said, the confines of physical or neurological impairment, or mental state --works of art can express lucid manifestations of those inner workings otherwise mysterious to an outside onlooker. To the person who creates art, the process is a breaking away, a freedom from those confines, either real or imagined. As Van Gogh alluded, art is like birthing an aspect of ourselves in order to become part of a larger whole. In the case of those with complex disabilities, art production is as much of a freedom to be, as it is a by-product of the Self. Many differently-abled individuals have found solace and esteem through art making. As Van Gogh said, art not only makes one a part of humanity, but it calls for the world's interaction with both the art and the artist. For the disabled members of our community, many who have complex disabilities (a series of diagnosis'), art is enablement and a validation.
Estee Klar
In practice, the organization seeks to improve the social education of the autistic, the mentally retarded, and, above all, the normal child. The applications of the Logos model beyond this scope are limited to projects that harmonize with its vision.
Antonio Cassella
The personnel department looks at all the trivial surface stuff and not the real stuff. What happens when someone can't do any of that, but has a genius IQ, and does EVERYTHING differently. The smarter they are, the more socially awkward they are.
Michael Katz
Michelangelo might have had it. So, too, may Einstein, Socrates and Jane Austen. All are claimed to have had Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. What is it about this developmental disorder that can lead to genius?
British Broadcasting Corporation

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