cover image Terman's Kids: The Groundbreaking Study of How the Gifted Grow Up

Terman's Kids: The Groundbreaking Study of How the Gifted Grow Up

Joel N. Shurkin. Little Brown and Company, $22.95 (317pp) ISBN 978-0-316-78890-8

Terman (1888-1956), the famed psychologist who developed the Stanford-Binet IQ test, believed that ``the right education of . . . superior children'' in large part would determine the future welfare of our country. In 1922 he constructed the prototype of longitudinal psychological studies when he and his associates began the study of 1500 California children whose IQs were 135 or higher. With periodic follow-ups that remain active, the ``Termites,'' as they were dubbed, provided an enormous database that may not have disclosed the nature of genius but did prove one of Terman's points--gifted children become gifted adults. The research of academic Shurkin, given access to the guarded files on certain conditions of confidentiality, reveals some of the human stories of the Termites, less than half of whom are still alive. Not all felt blessed by the patronage of Terman, who is shown as paternalistic to a fault and wrong-headed regarding feminine and sexual traits and other important characteristics in his experimental group. Shurkin, who teaches journalism as Stanford and is the author of Intensive Care and other books, personalizes a landmark study. (June)