Confidence, Persistence and Early Parental Encouragement

Source: Stanford alumni mag, Jul/Aug 2000

Though the Terman kids were handpicked for high IQ, the longitudinal results tell us little about the meaning of IQ, except for one study conducted by Terman’s associate, Melita Oden.

In 1968, she compared the 100 most successful and 100 least successful men in the group, defining success as holding jobs that required their intellectual gifts. The successes, predictably, included professors, scientists, doctors and lawyers. The non-successes included electronics technicians, police, carpenters and pool cleaners, plus a smattering of failed lawyers, doctors and academics.

But here’s the catch: the successes and non-successes barely differed in average IQ. The big differences turned out to be in confidence, persistence and early parental encouragement.

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