Outlier Talents: Contributions of Non-traditional, or Culturally or Regionally Unique Domains to Our Understanding of Talent Development — Rena Subotnik
Monday, May 20, 2024, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, Lawrence D. McHugh Hall, Room 206
While many researchers reluctantly diminish the importance of outlier data to forward a hypothesis, other creative scholars like Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg look to outliers as a source of inspiration for new research agendas. The goal of this session is to feature factors associated with outlier talents, such as circus arts, rodeo, drum corps, artistic swim, or magic that might enhance our understanding of the general process of talent development. The presentation will include analyses from a sample of domains, including a brief history, needed systems of support outside of the school curriculum, and the role of mentors and gatekeepers who carry the burden and power of identifying potential talent. The Talent Development Megamodel (TDMM) will provide a framework for comparing the sample of outlier talents with each other and with more traditional domains. The presentation will include insights from practicing artists, performers, and scholars who are deeply involved in the domain, including the derivation of their interests, the psychosocial skills associated with achieving expertise, significant obstacles, and sources of motivation and inspiration.
Rena F. Subotnik PhD serves as Research Associate at the Academic Talent Development Program, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Education. From 2001 until June 2023, she was Senior Director of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association. Under her leadership, one of the Center’s missions was to generate public awareness, advocacy, clinical applications, and cutting-edge research ideas that enhance the achievement and performance of children and adolescents with gifts and talents in all domains. She is co-author, with Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, and Frank Worrell, of the Megamodel, appearing in publications such as Scientific American, Scientific American Mind, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Frontiers in Psychology, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and the Annual Review of Psychology, and co-editor with Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Frank Worrell of The Psychology of High Performance: Developing Human Potential Into Domain-Specific Talent. Rena has been awarded grants from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Camille and Henri Dreyfus Foundation, McDonnell Foundation, the American Psychological Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education to support her projects.