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Book review: Berkeley psychologists studied creative geniuses in the ’50s, results are still be analyzed
“Design for Living” reports on a remarkable set of studies done by psychologists in the late ‘50s. They studied outstanding leaders in four fields: literature, architecture, mathematics and physical science. The article, published by the Wall Street Journal on 8-5-16, describes research done by a team at The Institute of Personality Assessment and Research that could never be done today: the team consulted experts in each of the four fields, such as professors and magazine editors, to identify national leaders in each field, asked them to participate and many highly regarded experts agreed to join the study, flew the participants to Berkeley, had them participate in both intensive individual assessments and group discussions over several days, and studied the resulting data. They found that most of the subjects were highly independent thinkers, often had “psychiatric turbulence,” expressed as “a healthy form of restlessness,” and were rebellious in the field of study but not necessarily in social relationships.