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This isn’t the first time Mensa has admitted a tiny tot to its ranks, as the media breathlessly reported. Two years ago, Emmelyn was admitted. She certainly appears to be a stereotypical genius -- she wears glasses and can talk about black holes.
But what exactly are the connections between early smarts and later life? And can genius be recognized in early life?
Jonathan Wai, a research scientist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program, says that tests can identify above-average babies, as early as 12 months. His colleague Joseph Fagan created the Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence.
Fagan tested 61 infants between 7-12 months of age on their ability to selectively attend to novel pictures. The infants looked at pictures for a few seconds, and then paired the old pictures with new ones, recording how long the babies looked at the old pictures. The smarter the infant was, the shorter time they spent looking at the pictures that weren’t new – at least that was the idea. Infants generally spend about 60 percent of the time looking at new images.
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