Publications by authors named "Camilla P Benbow"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Who shines most among the brightest?: A 25-year longitudinal study of elite STEM graduate students.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2020 Aug 14;119(2):390-416. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Department of Psychology and Human Development.

In 1992, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) surveyed 714 first- and second-year graduate students (48.5% female) attending U.S. universities ranked in the top-15 by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. This study investigated whether individual differences assessed early in their graduate school career were associated with becoming a STEM leader 25 years later (e.g., STEM full professors at research-intensive universities, STEM CEOs, and STEM leaders in government) versus not becoming a STEM leader. We also studied whether there were any important gender differences in relation to STEM leadership. For both men and women, small to medium effect size differences in interests, values, and personality distinguished STEM leaders from nonleaders. Lifestyle and work preferences also distinguished STEM leaders who were more exclusively career-focused and preferred to work-and did work-more hours than nonleaders. Also, there were small to large gender differences in abilities, interests, and lifestyle preferences. Men had more intense interests in STEM and were more career-focused. Women had more diverse educational and occupational interests, and they were more interested in activities outside of work. Early in graduate school, therefore, there are signs that predict who will become a STEM leader-even among elite STEM graduate students. Given the many ways in which STEM leadership can be achieved, the gender differences uncovered within this high-potential sample suggest that men and women are likely to assign different priorities to these opportunities. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745019PMC
August 2020

Psychological Constellations Assessed at Age 13 Predict Distinct Forms of Eminence 35 Years Later.

Psychol Sci 2019 03 29;30(3):444-454. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Department of Psychology & Human Development, Vanderbilt University.

This investigation examined whether math/scientific and verbal/humanistic ability and preference constellations, developed on intellectually talented 13-year-olds to predict their educational outcomes at age 23, continue to maintain their longitudinal potency by distinguishing distinct forms of eminence 35 years later. Eminent individuals were defined as those who, by age 50, had accomplished something rare: creative and highly impactful careers (e.g., full professors at research-intensive universities, Fortune 500 executives, distinguished judges and lawyers, leaders in biomedicine, award-winning journalists and writers). Study 1 consisted of 677 intellectually precocious youths, assessed at age 13, whose leadership and creative accomplishments were assessed 35 years later. Study 2 constituted a constructive replication-an analysis of 605 top science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduate students, assessed on the same predictor constructs early in graduate school and assessed again 25 years later. In both samples, the same ability and preference parameter values, which defined math/scientific versus verbal/humanistic constellations, discriminated participants who ultimately achieved distinct forms of eminence from their peers pursuing other life endeavors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797618822524DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419263PMC
March 2019

When Lightning Strikes Twice: Profoundly Gifted, Profoundly Accomplished.

Psychol Sci 2016 07 25;27(7):1004-18. Epub 2016 May 25.

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University.

The educational, occupational, and creative accomplishments of the profoundly gifted participants (IQs ⩾ 160) in the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) are astounding, but are they representative of equally able 12-year-olds? Duke University's Talent Identification Program (TIP) identified 259 young adolescents who were equally gifted. By age 40, their life accomplishments also were extraordinary: Thirty-seven percent had earned doctorates, 7.5% had achieved academic tenure (4.3% at research-intensive universities), and 9% held patents; many were high-level leaders in major organizations. As was the case for the SMPY sample before them, differential ability strengths predicted their contrasting and eventual developmental trajectories-even though essentially all participants possessed both mathematical and verbal reasoning abilities far superior to those of typical Ph.D. recipients. Individuals, even profoundly gifted ones, primarily do what they are best at. Differences in ability patterns, like differences in interests, guide development along different paths, but ability level, coupled with commitment, determines whether and the extent to which noteworthy accomplishments are reached if opportunity presents itself.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797616644735DOI Listing
July 2016

Life paths and accomplishments of mathematically precocious males and females four decades later.

Psychol Sci 2014 Dec 10;25(12):2217-32. Epub 2014 Nov 10.

Vanderbilt University.

Two cohorts of intellectually talented 13-year-olds were identified in the 1970s (1972-1974 and 1976-1978) as being in the top 1% of mathematical reasoning ability (1,037 males, 613 females). About four decades later, data on their careers, accomplishments, psychological well-being, families, and life preferences and priorities were collected. Their accomplishments far exceeded base-rate expectations: Across the two cohorts, 4.1% had earned tenure at a major research university, 2.3% were top executives at "name brand" or Fortune 500 companies, and 2.4% were attorneys at major firms or organizations; participants had published 85 books and 7,572 refereed articles, secured 681 patents, and amassed $358 million in grants. For both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. On average, males had incomes much greater than their spouses', whereas females had incomes slightly lower than their spouses'. Salient sex differences that paralleled the differential career outcomes of the male and female participants were found in lifestyle preferences and priorities and in time allocation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797614551371DOI Listing
December 2014

Creativity and technical innovation: spatial ability's unique role.

Psychol Sci 2013 Sep 11;24(9):1831-6. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University.

In the late 1970s, 563 intellectually talented 13-year-olds (identified by the SAT as in the top 0.5% of ability) were assessed on spatial ability. More than 30 years later, the present study evaluated whether spatial ability provided incremental validity (beyond the SAT's mathematical and verbal reasoning subtests) for differentially predicting which of these individuals had patents and three classes of refereed publications. A two-step discriminant-function analysis revealed that the SAT subtests jointly accounted for 10.8% of the variance among these outcomes (p < .01); when spatial ability was added, an additional 7.6% was accounted for--a statistically significant increase (p < .01). The findings indicate that spatial ability has a unique role in the development of creativity, beyond the roles played by the abilities traditionally measured in educational selection, counseling, and industrial-organizational psychology. Spatial ability plays a key and unique role in structuring many important psychological phenomena and should be examined more broadly across the applied and basic psychological sciences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797613478615DOI Listing
September 2013

Who rises to the top? Early indicators.

Psychol Sci 2013 May 26;24(5):648-59. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, 0552 GPC, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

Youth identified before age 13 (N = 320) as having profound mathematical or verbal reasoning abilities (top 1 in 10,000) were tracked for nearly three decades. Their awards and creative accomplishments by age 38, in combination with specific details about their occupational responsibilities, illuminate the magnitude of their contribution and professional stature. Many have been entrusted with obligations and resources for making critical decisions about individual and organizational well-being. Their leadership positions in business, health care, law, the professoriate, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) suggest that many are outstanding creators of modern culture, constituting a precious human-capital resource. Identifying truly profound human potential, and forecasting differential development within such populations, requires assessing multiple cognitive abilities and using atypical measurement procedures. This study illustrates how ultimate criteria may be aggregated and longitudinally sequenced to validate such measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797612457784DOI Listing
May 2013

Work preferences, life values, and personal views of top math/science graduate students and the profoundly gifted: Developmental changes and gender differences during emerging adulthood and parenthood.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2009 Sep;97(3):517-32

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203-5721, USA.

Work preferences, life values, and personal views of top math/science graduate students (275 men, 255 women) were assessed at ages 25 and 35 years. In Study 1, analyses of work preferences revealed developmental changes and gender differences in priorities: Some gender differences increased over time and increased more among parents than among childless participants, seemingly because the mothers' priorities changed. In Study 2, gender differences in the graduate students' life values and personal views at age 35 were compared with those of profoundly gifted participants (top 1 in 10,000, identified by age 13 and tracked for 20 years: 265 men, 84 women). Again, gender differences were larger among parents. Across both cohorts, men appeared to assume a more agentic, career-focused perspective than women did, placing more importance on creating high-impact products, receiving compensation, taking risks, and gaining recognition as the best in their fields. Women appeared to favor a more communal, holistic perspective, emphasizing community, family, friendships, and less time devoted to career. Gender differences in life priorities, which intensify during parenthood, anticipated differential male-female representation in high-level and time-intensive careers, even among talented men and women with similar profiles of abilities, vocational interests, and educational experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016030DOI Listing
September 2009

Ability differences among people who have commensurate degrees matter for scientific creativity.

Psychol Sci 2008 Oct;19(10):957-61

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

A sample of 1,586 intellectually talented adolescents (top 1%) were assessed on the math portion of the SAT by age 13 and tracked for more than 25 years. Patents and scientific publications were used as criteria for scientific and technological accomplishment. Participants were categorized according to whether their terminal degree was a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree, and within these degree groupings, the proportion of participants with at least one patent or scientific publication in adulthood increased as a function of this early SAT assessment. Information about individual differences in cognitive ability (even when measured in early adolescence) can predict differential creative potential in science and technology within populations that have advanced educational degrees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02182.xDOI Listing
October 2008

Contrasting intellectual patterns predict creativity in the arts and sciences: tracking intellectually precocious youth over 25 years.

Psychol Sci 2007 Nov;18(11):948-52

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

A sample of 2,409 intellectually talented adolescents (top 1%) who were assessed on the SAT by age 13 was tracked longitudinally for more than 25 years. Their creative accomplishments, with particular emphasis on literary achievement and scientific-technical innovation, were examined as a function of ability level (sum of math and verbal SAT scores) and tilt (math SAT score minus verbal SAT score). Results showed that distinct ability patterns uncovered by age 13 portend contrasting forms of creative expression by middle age. Whereas ability level contributes significantly to creative accomplishments, ability tilt is critical for predicting the specific domain in which they occur (e.g., securing a tenure-track position in the humanities vs. science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; publishing a novel vs. securing a patent).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.02007.xDOI Listing
November 2007

The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics.

Psychol Sci Public Interest 2007 Aug 1;8(1):1-51. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Amid ongoing public speculation about the reasons for sex differences in careers in science and mathematics, we present a consensus statement that is based on the best available scientific evidence. Sex differences in science and math achievement and ability are smaller for the mid-range of the abilities distribution than they are for those with the highest levels of achievement and ability. Males are more variable on most measures of quantitative and visuospatial ability, which necessarily results in more males at both high- and low-ability extremes; the reasons why males are often more variable remain elusive. Successful careers in math and science require many types of cognitive abilities. Females tend to excel in verbal abilities, with large differences between females and males found when assessments include writing samples. High-level achievement in science and math requires the ability to communicate effectively and comprehend abstract ideas, so the female advantage in writing should be helpful in all academic domains. Males outperform females on most measures of visuospatial abilities, which have been implicated as contributing to sex differences on standardized exams in mathematics and science. An evolutionary account of sex differences in mathematics and science supports the conclusion that, although sex differences in math and science performance have not directly evolved, they could be indirectly related to differences in interests and specific brain and cognitive systems. We review the brain basis for sex differences in science and mathematics, describe consistent effects, and identify numerous possible correlates. Experience alters brain structures and functioning, so causal statements about brain differences and success in math and science are circular. A wide range of sociocultural forces contribute to sex differences in mathematics and science achievement and ability-including the effects of family, neighborhood, peer, and school influences; training and experience; and cultural practices. We conclude that early experience, biological factors, educational policy, and cultural context affect the number of women and men who pursue advanced study in science and math and that these effects add and interact in complex ways. There are no single or simple answers to the complex questions about sex differences in science and mathematics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-1006.2007.00032.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270278PMC
August 2007

Tracking exceptional human capital over two decades.

Psychol Sci 2006 Mar;17(3):194-9

Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

Talent-search participants (286 males, 94 females) scoring in the top 0.01% on cognitive-ability measures were identified before age 13 and tracked over 20 years. Their creative, occupational, and life accomplishments are compared with those of graduate students (299 males, 287 females) enrolled in top-ranked U.S. mathematics, engineering, and physical science programs in 1992 and tracked over 10 years. By their mid-30s, the two groups achieved comparable and exceptional success (e.g., securing top tenure-track positions) and reported high and commensurate career and life satisfaction. College entrance exams administered to intellectually precocious youth uncover extraordinary potential for careers requiring creativity and scientific and technological innovation in the information age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01685.xDOI Listing
March 2006

Meeting the educational needs of special populations.

Psychol Sci 2004 Apr;15(4):217-24

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

We evaluated the Advanced Placement (AP) program from the point of view of intellectually precocious youth and their subsequent educational-vocational outcomes, analyzing normative and idiographic longitudinal data collected across 30 years from 3,937 participants. Most took AP courses in high school, and those who did frequently nominated an AP course as their favorite. Students who took AP courses, compared with their intellectual peers who did not, appeared more satisfied with the intellectual caliber of their high school experience and, ultimately, achieved more. Overall, this special population placed a premium on intellectual challenge in high school and found the lack of such challenge distressing. These findings can inform contemporary educational policy debates regarding the AP program; they also have general implications for designing and evaluating educational interventions for students with special needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00655.xDOI Listing
April 2004