Those findings have been enthusiastically championed, perhaps because of their meritocratic appeal: what seems to separate the great from the merely good is hard work, not intellectual ability.
Summing up Mr. Ericsson’s research in his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell observes that practice isn’t “the thing you do once you’re good” but “the thing you do that makes you good.”
But this isn’t quite the story that science tells. Research has shown that intellectual ability matters for success in many fields — and not just up to a point.
Exhibit A is a landmark study of intellectually precocious youths directed by the Vanderbilt University researchers David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow. They and their colleagues tracked the educational and occupational accomplishments of more than 2,000 people who as part of a youth talent search scored in the top 1 percent on the SAT by the age of 13. (Scores on the SAT correlate so highly with I.Q. that the psychologist Howard Gardner described it as a “thinly disguised” intelligence test.) The remarkable finding of their study is that, compared with the participants who were “only” in the 99.1 percentile for intellectual ability at age 12, those who were in the 99.9 percentile — the profoundly gifted — were between three and five times more likely to go on to earn a doctorate, secure a patent, publish an article in a scientific journal or publish a literary work. A high level of intellectual ability gives you an enormous real-world advantage.
High IQ makes learning more efficient, and to deny it is stupid and turning a blind eye to fact that we can all observe in daily life. What EcoRes differs from this mundane note is that it offers an integrated view of intelligence: it comes from both genetics and practice.
Also note the findings by David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow are for top IQ. As it comes down the ladder in intelligence practice matters more.