A publication missing from Lewis M. Terman's CV? Ralph K. White's 1931 "The versatility of genius"

Hist Psychol. 2019 Nov;22(4):372-374. doi: 10.1037/hop0000135_c.


Lewis M. Terman's publication list is impressively long. Even a selective bibliography includes around three dozen articles and books (Watson, 1974). Yet by many standards of authorship assignment, one significant contribution is invariably omitted: the paper "The Versatility of Genius" nominally sole-authored by Ralph K. White in 1931. To see why, it is necessary to place this article in the context of two careers-Terman's and White's. Terman (1940) discussed White's (1931) key results in his overview of "Psychological Approaches to the Biography of Genius." In that article, Terman's appreciation for the study seems much greater than the author's own. No criticisms even mentioned. Furthermore, it has become apparent many decades later that White's inquiry into the versatility of genius remains the most rigorous empirical treatment of the subject-a subject that encompasses the fascinating topic of polymathy as well (Cassandro & Simonton, 2010). Hence, why not give White's (1931) inquiry the attention it deserves? Just add the reference to Terman's curriculum vita with an asterisk indicating White's mentor as covert coauthor! (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Authorship / history
  • Bibliographies as Topic*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests / history
  • Intelligence*

Personal name as subject

  • Lewis M Terman
  • Ralph K White