“Scientific American” Returns to Wondrium to Understand Nature of Genius

intelligence studies reviewed in nine-episode series about fostering genius

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Wondrium welcomes back Scientific American with Understanding Your Inner Genius. The two companies have collaborated on a new series that examines brilliance and innovation from a scientific angle. Content developer Gina Dalfonzo tells us more.

Brain illustration hovering over hand
A genius has traditionally been regarded as a highly intelligent individual whose discoveries advance the current domain of knowledge. Photo by ImageFlow / Shutterstock

Published since 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States, covering exciting ideas in science, technology, health, and more. It features articles by scholars, scientists, journalists, and other experts—and Wondrium is honored to work with the publication once again.

Scientific American paired with Wondrium in the past for the National Capital Emmy Award®-winning series Mind-Blowing Science. This time, the companies bring Understanding Your Inner Genius to discover your inner guru with episodes resulting from intelligence studies, hosted by Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth. In an exclusive interview, Wondrium content developer Gina Dalfonzo explained why the course is crucial to nurturing genius—not only our own, but others’ as well.

Upgrade Your Gray Matter—One Day It May Matter

According to Dalfonzo, Understanding Your Inner Genius has a little something for everyone. It does, after all, involve the brain.

“[The brain] controls the kinds of things we think about and the kinds of things we’re interested in,” she said. “There’s plenty of science, and there’s math, and art, and literature, and all kinds of things [the course] covers. It talks about how the brain processes and deals with these things.”

However, Understanding Your Inner Genius doesn’t bite off more than it can chew. While its main focus is the brain, the course discusses what genius is, learning, creativity, the changing perceptions and ideas of genius, and more. It also involves training the brain and even has a lecture about guiding and helping children’s learning processes. That lecture, “Nurturing the Young Genius,” includes reviews of studies about motivation and passion as well as helping children develop intellectual talent.

Don’t Try This at Home

During her time with Understanding Your Inner Genius, Dalfonzo came across some intriguing tales of genius in a variety of forms.

“I learned a lot just reading the magazine and working on the scripts, all kinds of interesting things,” Dalfonzo said. “Sometimes people develop strange new abilities after being hit on the head; you hear anecdotally about those things and how it works and why it might work and what we can learn and how we can develop our abilities more.

“Whenever people ask me about this course, it keeps coming up, because it’s really fascinating stuff—people who suddenly started seeing fractals in their minds and started drawing them, people who suddenly developed musical abilities that they never had before. It’s really interesting.”

This phenomenon, known as acquired savant syndrome, is discussed in the episode “Boosting the Brain?” It reveals that artistic ability or intellectual skills occur after dementia, a severe blow to the head, and so on. The episode also goes over the pros and cons of stimulants and brain-boosting chemicals like caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, and ritalin, not to mention artificial brain stimulation like the controversial practice of transcranial direct-current stimulation.

“The brain is a fascinating thing; I don’t think I ever knew quite how fascinating before.”

Understanding Your Inner Genius is now available to stream on Wondrium.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily