Does talent exist? A re-evaluation of the nature-nurture debate

Paul Ward, Patrick K. Belling, Erich J. Petushek, Joyce Ehrlinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Throughout history, knowledge and science have often progressed through dialectical debate. Logical arguments from one perspective are posed to counter those from another in the hopes of arriving at a holistic synthesis (e.g., see Sternberg, 1999). The nature–nurture debate has been one of the most enduring, frequently resurrected by the media and scientists alike in an attempt to provide explanation for the fantastic feats of those we call ‘talented’. While a central feature of debate is to discuss the pros and cons of opposing views and polarizing stances, relatively few research efforts have sought genuine reconciliation between the extreme positions of nature and nurture (cf. Davids & Baker, 2007). With some exceptions, the modus operandi has been to advocate for one side of the debate while giving little credit to the merits of opposing arguments beyond token gestures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Talent Identification and Development in Sport
EditorsJoseph Baker, Stephen Cobley, Jörg Schorer, Nick Wattie
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315668017, 9781317359845
ISBN (Print)9781138951778, 9780367874216
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017


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