The researcher, Johnson O’Connor, studied aptitudes as a way of measuring intelligence as opposed to “IQ.” Interestingly, I was reflecting today that this notion seems to underlie much of gifted education.
In the book “The Unique Individual”, he wrote of “ideaphoria.” We all know the story of the absent-minded professor who crosses the street without looking. I would venture to say that person had ideaphoria.
For me, the most moving anecdote in the book is the story of the teacher who has extremely high ideaphoria and frustration as a result. O’Connor offers advice at the end:
“Although ideaphoria is the top trait of teachers, when too high and combined with extreme subjectivity it leads to a feeling of frustration which not only stops actual progress but may lead to a nervous breakdown. A fourth-grade teacher came with a feeling of inferiority which had twice driven her to seek psychiatric help. Every afternoon by three-thirty, when school closed, she was exhausted by refractory disciplinary problems. In personality she scored probably objective, but only three significant responses away from the extremely subjective division. As worksample 35 is inaccurate to this extent, the Laboratory considers it wiser for her to assume herself extremely subjective.
In ideaphoria she scored at the 100th percentile, 460 words written in ten minutes where 341 is grade A for women. She wanted to write, but whenever she tried her vivid imagination raced ahead at a speed which her pencil could never equal, and she grew discouraged and gave up.
She then thought of editing a collection of children’s stories. This gave the counterfeit satisfaction of having produced something without the long laborious hours demanded by actual creation. But secure editors score highest int he reasoning work-samples, analytical reasoning, worksample 244, and inductive reasoning, worksample 164, in both of which she scored low. Also editors score lower in ideaphoria, where she ranks at the 100th percentile. Continued editorial work would give her little permanent enjoyment.
College teaching involves fewer disciplinary problems but demands more inductive reasoning than the grades. A change from public to private school seemed likely to give a congenial atmosphere for her subjectivity. But the only enduring solution hopeful of lasting satisfaction is actual creative work. She should force herself to write a regular two hours each day, devoting ten minutes of this period to scribbling at top speed exactly as in the creative-imagination test. Instead of throwing away these crude outpourings, like most high creative people, with nothing to show for her efforts, she should bind them carefully in some sort of loose-leaf book, where they will not be lost, and then each day spend the balance of her writing time amending them phrase by phrase, word by word.” (p. 84-85)
Interestingly, below are the traits O’Connor associated with a writer (p. 81):
For more info:
O’Connor, Johnson. The Unique Individual. Human Engineering Laboratory Incorporated, Boston: 1948.
The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation in New York works to advance the research of Johnson O’Connor.