Runco, Acar, Kaufman, & Halladay: DOI: 10.18536/jge.2016.

Jump to: Journal of Genius and Eminence | Volume 1

Changes in Reputation and Associations with Fame and Biographical Data

Mark A. Runco
American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, La Jolla, California

Selcuk Acar
International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo State, State University of New York

James C. Kaufman
University of Connecticut

Lindsay R. Halladay
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland

The reputation of eminent individuals is often quantified by examining the attention they receive in reference works, such as encyclopedias. The present research examined Encyclopedia Britannicas from four different eras. Reputation is typically treated as if it is stable, but the primary hypothesis of the present research was that it would increase or decrease across volumes (and eras) rather than display perfect transhistorical stability. A series of ANOVAs and ANCOVAs confirmed that increases and decreases, rather than stability, best characterized the data. Still, the reputational variable calculated for this investigation (which quantified the degree of increase, decrease, or stability of reputations) was associated with earlier indices of posthumous fame. Correlational analyses indicated that the reputational change scores were related to the educational level and extracurricular activities of the eminent individuals. Contrary to expectations, there were no domain differences in the likelihood of reputational stability or change. It is possible that changes reflect cultural shifts. These shifts would in turn lead to fluctuations in how an individual’s accomplishments fit with the Zeitgeist of a given era.

Runco, M. A., Acar, S., Kaufman, J. C., & Halladay, L. R. (2015). Changes in reputation and associations with fame and biographical data. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 1(1), 52-60.  http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2016.