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define historiometry, historiometry
Historiometry is the historical study of human progress or individual personal characteristics, using statistics to analyze references to geniuses,1 their statements, behavior and discoveries in relatively neutral texts Historiometry combines techniques from cliometrics, which studies the history of economics and from psychometrics, the psychological study of an individual's personality and abilities


  • 1 Origins
  • 2 Current research
  • 3 Examples of research
  • 4 Critique
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Historiometry started in the early 19th century with studies on the relationship between age and achievement by Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet in the careers of prominent French and English playwrights 23 but it was Sir Francis Galton, a pioneering English eugenist who popularized historiometry in his 1869 work, Hereditary Genius4 It was further developed by Frederick Adams Woods who coined the term historiometry56 in the beginning of the 20th century7 Also psychologist Paul E Meehl published several papers on historiometry later in his career, mainly in the area of medical history, although it is usually referred to as cliometric metatheory by him89

Historiometry was the first field studying genius by using scientific methods1

Current researchedit

Prominent current historiometry researchers include Dean Keith Simonton and Charles Murray10

Historiometry is defined by Dean Keith Simonton as: a quantitative method of statistical analysis for retrospective data In Simonton's work the raw data comes from psychometric assessment of famous personalities, often already deceased, in an attempt to assess creativity, genius and talent development11

Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment is one example of this approach to quantify the impact of individuals on technology, science and the arts This work tracks many famous innovators in these areas, and quantifies how much attention to them has been paid by past historians, in terms of the number of references and the number of pages of reference material devoted to each subject However, this work has been criticized for manipulating its data to derive conclusions that would not follow from unmanipulated data12

Examples of researchedit

Since historiometry deals with subjective personal traits as creativity, charisma or openness most studies deal with the comparison of scientists, artists or politicians The study Human Accomplishment by Charles Murray classifies, for example, Einstein and Newton as the most important physicists and Michelangelo as the top ranking western artist10 As another example, several studies have compared charisma and even the IQ of presidents and presidential candidates of the United States of America1314 The latter study classifies John Quincy Adams as the most clever US president, with an estimated IQ between 165 and 17515 A historiometric analysis has also been applied successfully in the field of musicology In one groundbreaking study,16 researchers analyzed statistically a collection of over 1,300 printed program leaflets playbills of concerts given by Clara Schumann 1819-1896 throughout her lifetime The resulting analysis revealed Clara Schumann's influential role in the canonization of classical piano music repertoire Her strategy of repertoire selection was guided by extremely traditionalistic tendencies


Since historiometry is based on indirect information like historic documents and relies heavily on statistics, the results of these studies are questioned by some researchers, mainly because of concerns about over-interpretation of the estimated results1718

The previously mentioned study of the intellectual capacity of US presidents, a study by Dean Keith Simonton, attracted a lot of media attention and critique mainly because it classified the former US president, George W Bush, as second to last of all US presidents since 19001519 The IQ of GW Bush was estimated as between 1111 and 1385, with an average of 125,14 exceeding only that of president Warren Harding, who is regarded as a failed president,15 with an average IQ of 124 Although controversial and imprecise due to gaps in available data, the approach used by Simonton to generate his results was regarded "reasonable" by fellow researchers20 In the media, the study was sometimes compared with the US Presidents IQ hoax, a hoax that circulated via email in mid-2001, which suggested that GW Bush had the lowest IQ of all US presidents21

See alsoedit

  • Catharine Cox
  • Cliometrics
  • Psychometrics
  • Quantitative history
  • Quantitative psychology


  1. ^ a b "A Reflective Conversation with Dean Keith Simonton" North American Journal of Psychology 10 3: 595–602 2008 
  2. ^ Eakin, Emily 2003-10-25 "A Cultural Scorecard Says West Is Ahead" New York Times p 9 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  3. ^ Neiwert, David 2003-10-26 "Evading reality" blog Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  4. ^ Galton, Francis 1869 Hereditary Genius London: MacMillan & Co ISBN 0-312-36989-1 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  5. ^ Simonton, Dean Keith 2003 "Qualitative and quantitative analyses of historical data" Annu Rev Psychol 54: 617–640 doi:101146/annurevpsych54101601145034 PMID 12171999 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  6. ^ Woods, Frederick Adams 1909 "A new name for a new science" Science 30 777: 697–736 doi:101126/science30777703 PMID 17792096 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  7. ^ Woods, Frederick Adams 1911 "Historiometry as an exact science" Science 33 850: 568–574 doi:101126/science33850568 PMID 17790108 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  8. ^ Faust, D, & Meehl, P E 2002 "Using meta-scientific studies to clarify or resolve questions in the philosophy and history of science" Philosophy of Science 69: S185–S196 doi:101086/341845  CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  9. ^ Meehl, P E 1992 "Cliometric metatheory: The actuarial approach to empirical, history-based philosophy of science" PDF Psychological Reports 71: 339–467 
  10. ^ a b Murray, Charles 2003 2003 Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences 800 BC to 1950 HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-019247-X 
  11. ^ Simonton, Dean Keith 1999 1999 Genius Creativity and Leadership: Historiometric Inquiries iUniversecom ISBN 1-58348-438-8 
  12. ^ "Book Review: Human Accomplishment, by Charles Murray", Tech Law Journal, November 20, 2003 
  13. ^ Deluga, RJ 1997 "Relationship among American presidential charismatic leadership, narcissism, and rated performance" Leadership Quarterly 8: 49–65 doi:101016/S1048-98439790030-8 Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  14. ^ a b Dean Keith Simonton August 2006 "Presidential IQ, Openness, Intellectual Brilliance, and Leadership: Estimates and Correlations for 42 US Chief Executives" Political Psychology 27 4: 511–526 doi:101111/j1467-9221200600524x Retrieved 2006-09-11 
  15. ^ a b c Dobson, Roger 2006-09-10 "Bush IQ low on presidential league" London: Times Online Retrieved 2006-09-10 
  16. ^ Kopiez, Reinhard; Lehmann, Andreas C; Klassen, Janina 2009 "Clara Schumann's collection of playbills: A historiometric analysis of life-span development, mobility, and repertoire canonization" Poetics 37 1: 50–73 doi:101016/jpoetic200809001 Retrieved 2014-07-02 
  17. ^ Bastick, Tony 1999 "Historiometrics of Creativity: A Philosophical Critique" Education Resources Information Center Retrieved 2006-09-13 
  18. ^ Mackenzie, B January 1, 1986 "Genius, creativity, and leadership Historiometric inquiries" Med Hist 30 1: 109–110 doi:101017/s0025727300045245 PMC 1139602 
  19. ^ "Rating American presidents' IQ's" History News Network July 13, 2006 Retrieved 2007-03-12 
  20. ^ Editorial July 28, 2006 "Presidential Smarts" Science 313 5786: 419 doi:101126/science3135786419c Retrieved 2007-03-12 
  21. ^ "President Bush Has Lowest IQ of all Presidents of past 50 Years" snopescom 2004-07-15 Retrieved 2006-09-11 

External linksedit

  • History and Mathematics

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    Historiometry beatiful post thanks!


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