Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Beyond exceptional: What makes a child prodigy?

By Dyani Lewis

Psychology researcher Dr Joanne Ruthsatz talks about the personality traits that set child prodigies apart from other children.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

DYANI LEWIS
I'm Dyani Lewis, thanks for joining us. Who hasn't heard of Mozart and Picasso, not only is their work admired and enjoyed decades, and even centuries after their deaths, but the sheer measure of their talents still astounds us. Part of our enduring fascination with Mozart and Picasso comes from the fact that both were well-recognised child prodigies in their days. Mozart, for example, began composing short piano pieces at the age of just five and by the age of 20 he had amassed an impressive repertoire of symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, violin and piano concertos and a few minor operas. More than most of us, even the musically inclined, are able to accomplish in a lifetime.

Today child prodigies can attract an enormous amount of attention in the media, but what is it that makes a child exceptional? Does talent blossom naturally, or does it require careful coaxing by parents and teachers and are the brains of child prodigies working different to our own? To enlighten us on these issues, my guest today on Up Close is psychologist Doctor Joanne Ruthsatz, who joins us from the studios of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Joanne is Assistant Professor of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.