Robert Sternberg: The Journey from Being the Dumbest Student to Becoming the Greatest Psychologist

Robert Jeffrey Sternberg is an American psychologist, psychometrician and President of the American Psychological Association.

Today, most of us would not believe that Robert was one of the lowest graders at elementary school and had a poor IQ scores. He was considered to be a ‘dumbesst student’ in his first years at school. He subsequently failed in psychology and had to switch to Math. His teacher commented “there was a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another” on his failure. He was expelled from his subject math because of his consistent failure. His low IQ, failures, personal problems led him to exploring new methods of education and an alternative theory of intelligence. He graduated with honors from Stanford University with exceptional distinction in psychology and earned his Ph.D. in 1975. In 2002, he became President of the American Psychological Association.

After researching on education theories, he came to the conclusion that the American education system failed to recognize talented students because it couldn’t distinguish their creative and practical abilities and nurture it. He is the creator of the investment theory of creativity that explains how creative people purchase low and sell high in the world of ideas. He also discovered the propulsion theory of creative contributions, that says that creativity is a form of leadership.
“Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still.”

“I had planned to be a psychology major, but I bombed introductory psychology,”

“capitalize on their strengths, but also to correct and compensate for their weaknesses.”