Article Correctness Is Author's Responsibility: Creative genius as causal agent in history: William James’s 1880 theory revisited and revitalized.

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[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 22(4) of Review of General Psychology (see record 2018-65591-001). In the article, several errors occurred due to printer errors. In the first paragraph of the introduction, the fourth sentence should begin as follows: An early example is James's 1879 article. In the last paragraph of the James's Theory Today section, the third to last sentence should read as follows: Yet since that date some initial problems with his position have become ever more obvious. In the James's social environment section, the last phrase of the second paragraph should read as follows: by the opening sentence of James's 1880 essay. In the References list, the doi for Kaufman and Sternberg (in press) is not applicable and has been deleted. Also in the References list, for Merton (1961), the correct journal article title is as follows: Singletons and multiples in scientific discovery: A chapter in the sociology of science. All versions of this article have been corrected, except for the first correction, which was identified too late.] Near the onset of his illustrious career, the psychologist William James proposed a theory of how individual genius can exert a unique and enduring causal impact on the history of civilization. After first attacking the prevailing view that sociocultural determinism rendered individual creators and leaders mere epiphenomena, James argued that the causal effect of the genius paralleled that of the spontaneous variation or mutation in the theory of evolution by natural selection. Although his specific arguments suffer severe problems even from the standpoint of his own theory, current psychological research on creativity and genius indicate how his basic thesis can be revised and updated with respect to creative genius. This revision and updating concentrates specifically on what is known about the behavioral productivity, thinking processes and procedures, personality characteristics, and early developmental experiences in highly creative individuals. These modern enhancements then lead to the integrated discussion of Jamesian free will and the causal agency of the creative genius. The net result is a revitalized theory of how it even becomes possible for single individuals to make creative choices that not only may cause changes in their own lives, but also alter the course of world history. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)