What are the causes of exceptional abilities? How far is it possible to accelerate children's early development? Can any child become a genius ? Or do outstanding achievements necessarily have their origin in innate gifts, talents which will enevitably emerge whatever the circumstances? These have long been some of the most intractable questions in psychology. But where it has often been assumed that the origins of exceptional capabilities are largely mysterious, this book shows that much is known. The causes may be complicated and incompletely understood, but they are far from being completely obscure. In The Origins of Exceptional Abilities , Michael Howe is especially concerned with the circumstances in which children and young people acquire outstanding skills and knowledge. Using both psychological and biographical evidence, he explores the background factors which enable some to make exceptional progress in their earliest years, progress that can prepare the child for great achievements in later life. He reviews too psychological research into the effectiveness of efforts by parents and others to encourage accelerated early development in their children. Even if our understanding of the origins of exceptional ability is incomplete, he concludes, we know enough for it to be within our power to add greatly to the numbers of those whose outstanding accomplishments can be of benefit to all.
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