The Problem of Genius and Ability Inheritance in F. Galton’s Psychology of Art
The article’s main focus is the concept of genius developed by the English polymath Francis Galton. The article describes the novelty of this concept as well as its author’s wide invocation of newest achievements in the natural and hard sciences for research in the psychology of art. The article first deals with the principal tenets of his theory on human genius and inheritance of exceptional abilities. Based on the analysis of the most important works in the field of psychology of art, it shows that Galton was the first scholar in the West that under the influence of Darwinism strove to prove that exceptional abilities were a direct consequence of inheritance. The article proceeds with a discussion of his new science of eugenics that initially declared lofty goals of the improvement of humanity’s quality and health and later evolved into openly racist ideas. Particular attention is given to a discussion of his psychometric fundamentals, exceptional merits in creating new devices and tests for conducting empirical psychological research. These have not only helped to evaluate individual intellectual, artistic and other abilities, but also became a fundamental part of modern psychodiagnostics and psychometrics.
Key Words: Francis Galton, genius, talent, exceptional abilities, psychology of art, eugenics, psychometry