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How do creativity and imagination figure into genius?

Geniuses tend not only to be exceptionally smart but to use imagination and creativity to invent, discover or create something new within their field of interest. They break new ground rather than simply remembering or reciting existing information.

Geniuses don't usually operate in isolation - most analyze the work of other great minds and use the information to make new discoveries. Self-taught geniuses, however, often explore information in unexpected or inventive ways. Either way, the ability to imagine new possibilities is as important as general intelligence.

The creativity of geniuses relates to productivity and hard work as well. Some examples of genius involve people who produce their best work at a very young age, such as Einstein and Mozart. But some, like Ludwig von Beethoven, do their best work later in life.

Researcher David Galenson theorizes a reason for this: that creative people come in two main types. Conceptual innovators think in bold, dramatic leaps and do their best work when young. Experimental innovators learn through trial and error and do their best work after lengthy experimentation.

Later research by Galenson suggests, however, that creativity can be expressed as a continuum. Instead of being experimental or conceptual, people can be mostly one or the other, or they can be somewhere in the middle, producing exceptional work throughout their lives.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.