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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

  • Is your child gifted? An IQ test is not the only marker of talent

    One of the history’s longest-running studies of gifted students, led by husband-wife duo David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow, has confirmed this. Originally titled the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), the research claims that many of the modern innovators were identified and supported in their early years through talent enrichment programmes.

    July 15th, 2019

  • Want Your Child to Be a High Achiever? This 47-Year Study Reveals 7 Things You Can Do

    Researchers Camilla P. Benbow and David Lubinski of Vanderbilt University are carrying on a study that was started in 1971 by Julian Stanley at Johns Hopkins University. It’s called the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), which is a misnomer, as it also takes into account a child’s verbal skills and spatial skills (the capacity to understand and remember spatial relationships between objects–key in engineering, architecture, and surgery).

    June 4th, 2019

  • 4 ways parents can help children reach their full potential

    “I’m still shocked by the number of parents who tell their kids what to major in … what courses to take,” said psychologist David Lubinski, the project’s co-director.

    October 10th, 2016


Ph.D., University of Minnesota

B.A., University of Minnesota


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