The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Intelligence and ESP, Psi, Precognition

Why do some people believe in psi phenomena and others don't? Why do some people accept such things as precognition (seeing the future), clairvoyance (seeing at a distance, without being there), telepathy (reading someone's mind), clairaudience (hearing at a distance, without being there), esp (extrasensory perception - a ragbag term for the above), parapsychology and psychic matters in general?

Well, there is a straightforward correlation on these issues between cognitive ability and belief. It is an inverse correlation, meaning the brighter you are, the less likely you are to believe.

Two studies, at least, have looked at this issue. One study by R.A. Griggs and W.S Messer in 1989, looked at classroom performance, as measured by grades, and the belief in psi phenomena, such as esp, precognition, out-of-the-body experiences etc. There was an inverse correlation. The higher the grades of the student, the lower the belief, and the converse.

The other study was conducted in 1980, by two psychologists: James Alcock and L.P. Otis. Their study found that those who believed in the paranormal, had lower "critical thinking skills" - which is clearly an aspect of convergent thinking - that is intelligence as it might have been measured by IQ.

Now, all of this shows that the more intelligent someone is, the less likely they are to believe anything "out of the normal". So, one might say that intelligence and skepticism are positively correlated - at least in matters that presently defy explanation or which have inconsistent or insufficient experimental support.

I should add that the fact that intelligent people tend not to be believe in esp, psi and the like, does not, of course, say anything about whether or not such things exist. It only says that intelligent people tend not to believe that they exist. (That being said, there have been a number of tantalizing experiments done, which raise issues that aren't fully explained...but perhaps more of that another day).

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and ten months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and three months, and Tiarnan, twenty months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:31 PM 


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