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Naturals and Strivers

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Naturals and Strivers

Preferences and Beliefs About Sources of Achievement

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,

5 min read
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Experts claim to favor those who “strive” to achieve, but research suggests they prefer “natural talent” without realizing it.

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  • Innovative
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening


Are so-called prodigies – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pablo Picasso, Bobby Fischer and Shirley Temple – more talented than those who “strive” for expertise? Most experts claim not. However, research from social psychologists Chia-Jung Tsay and Mahzarin R. Banaji reveals that authorities may, inadvertently, favor innate talent when evaluating performance. getAbstract believes this eye-opening examination will help those working in human resources and university admissions departments make better – and less biased – decisions for their organizations.


In all walks of life – education, athletics, music, art, science and business – people evaluate the “talent” of others. The judgments of experts, in particular, can have a great influence on your future; they serve as “gatekeepers,” deciding whom to choose, reward, coach and promote. In the United States, people typically value “natural talent” more than “learned achievement,” though many wouldn’t realize they have any bias. This phenomenon is known as the “naturalness bias” – a term coined by journalist Malcolm Gladwell.

To test the naturalness...

About the Authors

Chia-Jung Tsay is an assistant professor in the University College London’s School of Management. Mahzarin R. Banaji is a social psychologist at Harvard University.

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