I went to an open house at school and we met with a school psychologist who showed us how a questionnaire can show a where a child’s strength lay, whether it’s in the maths or visual arts etc. I offered my theory which I’m sure is valid that one can shift their genius from one area to another where they have none.
She said no. Genius or strengths are fixed in certain areas. You can’t muster all your geniuses and focus them in one specific area to get the most out of it. What do you think?
I'm not sure to which questionnaire the school psychologist was referring, but it sounds unlikely that a questionnaire could be that accurate in profiling a child's cognitive abilities. That said, being able to shift from one area of exceptional talent to another depends on your definition of genius. Some people are talented in multiple areas (e.g., Leonardo Da Vinci) and some people tend to specialize in one (e.g., the autistic savant named Kim Peek who could memorize ~ 50,000 books word for word). People of exceptionally high IQ are usually good at many things, but if you define genius as contributing something brand new to a certain field of study or showing an extraordinary talent in something, then gifted individuals may not necessarily show that all the time. To contribute in such a fashion takes time and effort, even with a high IQ. For example, Einstein made an exceptional contribution in physics, but not in playing the violin, although he was likely very good at the latter. The school psychologist's emphasis on fixed strengths is a bit dubious, considering that many people are talking about neuroplasticity these days. If you're talented in more than one area to begin with, you may shift your emphasis to another area if the situation gives rise to the appropriate motivation to excel in a different domain. It is also possible to develop a weaker area, although most people try to capitalize on their strengths.