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David Lubinski

Professor of Psychology and Human Development; Co-Director, Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY); Investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

An expert who co-leads the foremost longitudinal study of gifted individuals in the world.


David Lubinski's interests are concentrated on psychological measurement and assessing individual differences in human behavior, focusing on the identification of different types of intellectually precocious youth and the conditions for enhancing their learning, work performance, and creativity. With Camilla Benbow, he co-directs the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a longitudinal study of more than 5,000 intellectually talented participants, initially identified before age 13.

Media Appearances

  • Opinion | We Are Leaving ‘Lost Einsteins’ Behind

    “Current talent search procedures focus on the assessment of mathematical and verbal ability,” wrote David Lubinski of Vanderbilt and Harrison J. Kell, a senior researcher at the Educational Testing Service, in “Spatial Ability: A Neglected Talent in Educational and Occupational Settings.” Lubinski and Kell stress the failure of many of such searches to test for the cognitive skill known as spatial ability.

    July 21st, 2021

  • The great ‘gifted’ gap

    Because there’s no federal standard for identifying giftedness, states and districts come up with their own definitions – which is one reason researchers don’t have a clear answer on the benefits of gifted education. Some say highly talented children can reach their full potential only if they’re educated alongside other highachieving students. “It’s good for kids to be with their intellectual peers,” said David Lubinski, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University and a longtime expert on gifted education.

    January 14th, 2020

  • Will Bright Kids Succeed Even if Not Challenged Enough?

    Gifted individuals, overall, end up as psychologically well-adjusted. A century of research on gifted kids shows that these kids end up academically and occupationally successful, as indicated by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth led by Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski.

    July 18th, 2019

  • Of Furries and Fascism at Google

    Mr. Damore’s firing last year by CEO Sundar Pichai certainly rang of panic at the time. Google explicitly invites freewheeling discussion and provides internal forums for it. Mr. Damore did not, in his famous memo, object to Google’s diversity goals. His ruminations on biology may be jejune, but unwelcome facts are still facts. Witness the work of David Lubinski at Vanderbilt, which goes a long way toward explaining the recruiting frustrations of many a tech and engineering-based company. Prof. Lubinski and colleagues find that women who are gifted in math and science tend to be broadly gifted, and consequently have lots of opportunities in a wide range of fields, whereas men with math talents tend to be narrowly gifted, and all end up in math-science-engineering fields.

    January 16th, 2018

  • Psychologists studied 5,000 genius kids for 45 years — a short film reveals its key findings

    A new short film from Vanderbilt University, where SMPY is run by researchers Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski, reveals some of the biggest takeaways since the study began issuing exams to teens across five cohorts over the years.

    September 18th, 2017


Ph.D., University of Minnesota

B.A., University of Minnesota


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