In the early 20th century, psychologist Lewis Terman carried out a now-famous research project: he aimed to prove that by knowing a person’s IQ at an early age, you are able to accurately predict his or her life success. He asked teachers to identify children that they thought were intelligent, gave this group a series of intelligence tests and ended up identifying an elite group of 1,470 children to study. Terman believed that it was these children (and others of extraordinary IQ) that ‘we must look for production of leaders who advance science, art, government, education and social welfare generally.’

Terman carefully monitored the progress of these individuals – the ‘Termites’ – over a period of 35 years to ascertain their life success. The results surprised many, including Terman himself. The group as a whole thrived in many ways, most notably being healthier, taller and more socially adept than the average American…

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