Jews, Creativity and the Genius of Disobedience

Academic Article


  • © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA). Jews comprise less than one percent of the world’s population; however, in the second half of the twentieth century and in the twenty-first century Jews have been awarded more than 25 % of the Nobel Prizes. Why are Jews so creative? Some have claimed, they are genetically more intelligent as determined by IQ tests. Whereas there is an intelligence threshold people must reach before being highly creative after this threshold is reached there is no strong relationship between creativity and intelligence. Creative innovation is heavily dependent upon disengagement and divergent thinking as well as subsequent convergent thinking and productivity. The mean by which a person’s brain functions is dependent upon both nature (genetically determined) and nature (learned). In regard to nature, from their earliest age many Jewish children are encouraged to question as well as taught that disobedience in the pursuit of truth and justice is not only justified but is also desirable. Thus, disobedience in this regard is not the cultivation of insolence, but rather gives rise to disengagement and divergent thinking, the critical elements of creativity. Training can also alter the brain, and the Jewish people success in creativity may not be related to their genetically determined IQ, but rather the learned propensity to earnestly question and seek better alternatives.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 341
  • End Page

  • 349
  • Volume

  • 55
  • Issue

  • 1