Finding and Developing the 21st Century Scientific Pioneer

Brent Roberts, Gregory Feist, Rodica Ioana Damian, Rodrigues Fabretti, Nathan Kuncel, Gregory Crawford, Cosima Crawford, Ernst Fehr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Research on the personality of creative scientists is revisited using the Neo-Socioanalytic model of personality psychology as an organizing framework. Past research shows that creative scientists, largely from the 20th century, were distinguished by high levels of openness to experience, dominance, ambition, intelligence, and low levels of agreeableness. Contradictory findings for environmental influences highlighted the potential importance of both supportive and adverse diversifying experiences. Developmental trends also run contrary to the likelihood of scientific creativity occurring later in life, which is consistent with the life span models of creativity. Based on this review, we highlight much needed updating to the basic science of scientific creativity, including the need to test these findings in populations other than older white men, and the testing of both environmental experiences and individual differences simultaneously. An agenda for identifying and developing the 21st century creative scientist is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number95047
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 8 2024


  • neo-socioanalytic
  • personality
  • scientific creativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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