Re: the ways of child prodigies

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Tue Nov 08 2005 - 10:48:44 MST
gives a good overview of the average life outcomes of a group of high
performing pre-teens. Note that they are not a random sample, but rather a
sample with parents wealthy and academically encouraging enough to send them
to CTY.
It's not dealing with actual prodigies, but this is the most selective
sample I have seen studied. Chance of getting a PhD is a bit over 50%,
about twice that of the 99th percentile population. Unfortunately we don't
have any good data regarding accomplishments more significant than those in
the study. For what it's worth, the larger and more famous Terman study
evaluated 2 future Nobel Laureates with 98th percentile IQs and none of the
California children from that age cohort with higher IQs won Nobels. It is
worth noting that the private follow up on the two excluded children
indicated that the judgement of a capable and interested psychologist was
more predictive of Nobel Prizes than IQ tests were.

That said, has anyone from SIAI tried outreach to prodigies and/or
ex-prodigies? Has the strategy been considered?

Finally, I'm uncomfortable with the diagnosticity example. Reversion to the
mean is a consequence of a non-uniform distribution of priors. With a
uniform distribution of priors, say, GPA 3.5-4.0, 3.0-3.5, 2.5-3, 2-2.5, <2
(I'm guessing that those are rough quintiles) the subjects predictions
should not revert, though their confidence intervals should broaden.

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