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Can any arbitrary [able bodied] human become a genius across multiple disciplines or at least one discipline assuming that they have some Secondary Eduction in these disciplines?

For example, the Graduate Management Admission Test assess (1)analytical, (2)writing, (3) quantitative(maths), (4) verbal, and reading skills of candidates. In order to get admission to Major B-Schools around the world, candidates have to excel in all the above mentioned 4 sections. The average GMAT scores of Harvard, Yale, Chicago and NYU’s is very high at 720 or more.

Similarly for admission to engineering colleges like MIT or Caltech a candidate has to secure a minimum of A grade in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry at the undergrad level so that the average GPA is at least 4.13

Therefore,is it possible for any individual to develop exceptional cognitive talent and genius across all these subjects/topics (like Maths, Physics, Analytical etc) or at least one of these subjects/topics?

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  • $\begingroup$ Some people clearly can't because of age or genetic disorder or lack of education during childhood. Does the existence of counterexamples sufficiently answer your question? $\endgroup$ – honi Dec 2 '15 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @honi I was referring to able bodied humans. I realise that some not all differently abled humans will face limitations. $\endgroup$ – CSinha Dec 2 '15 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ are you considering people who did not have access to education as children disabled? $\endgroup$ – honi Dec 3 '15 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ my point being, there is a wide range of life experiences, only some of which are conducive to scoring well on tests $\endgroup$ – honi Dec 3 '15 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ The ability to excel in these areas is clearly well beyond merely being "able-bodied," so the answer is almost certainly no. $\endgroup$ – dsaxton Dec 3 '15 at 19:24
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Can any arbitrary [able bodied] human become a genius across multiple disciplines or at least one discipline assuming that they have some Secondary Eduction in these disciplines?

No, not all able bodied humans will be able to be become a genius across one or more disciplines. Assuming genius in this context means someone achieving international acclaim for their accomplishments in a specific discipline, only a very small number of able bodied humans will be able to achieve this. This kind of rare accomplishment requires an uncommon interaction of intellect, work rate and opportunity amongst other factors, which is why most people do not achieve it. I am happy to expand on this answer if you want further clarification.

Edit 1: Ok, let me reiterate what I said, but maybe make it clearer. Before I do that, I would just like to also add that one of the challenges with answering this question is the subjectivity involved. For instance, what are exceptional problem solving skills? For now, I will assume that you mean good enough for meeting the admission standards for one of these top level business schools. Assuming this is what you mean, I would still argue that not all able bodied humans will be able to develop exceptional problem solving skills across one or more disciplines.

Getting accepted to one of the business schools (i.e., demonstrating exceptional problem solving skills) is something that only the top x% of applicants will achieve. In developing these exceptional skills applicants will have benefited from the positive contribution of several different factors (what I referred to before as "the uncommon interaction") such as their intelligence, physical and mental health, network, discipline, confidence. For instance, probably few or none of the applicants will be of average intelligence (e.g., having an IQ of 100), have got severely, or regualarly sick, had severe depression, had to work extensively to support their family, had bad role models, had below average discipline or self-belief etc. While some may have been disadvantaged in some ways (i.e., maybe they did have to work to support their family), these applicant will likely have been able to counteract this through advntages in other factors (i.e., being exceptionally smart). In summary, as this example hopefully serves to show, those who are able to get exceptional scores are those who have had exceptional combinations of the different factors. By definition exceptional means not normal, therefore it would not be expected that such achievement would be within the reach of any able bodied human.

Having said all of this, what I will add is that most/many average individual ( interms of IQ/available time/movtivation etc) probably could probably become exceptional in one or more areas if given enough time - it is just that it would take a very long time for them to learn enough to be exceptional. Additionally, it would be most/many, but not certainly not all as some people (i.e., the unmotivated, the sick, the homeless etc) would have disadvantages that would prevent them from succeeding.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank You. Yes I would appreciate if you could elaborate it a little more. Also to fine tune the meaning of genius in this context I was referring to exceptional problem solving skills that requires tremendous understanding of subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry. $\endgroup$ – CSinha Dec 10 '15 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Slattery: Will you plz expand what you mean by uncommon interaction? Thanks. $\endgroup$ – D_S Dec 11 '15 at 11:11

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