Dominance is negatively related to grades in high school and undergraduate work, but the opposite is true in graduate work–with dissertations and theses, the better work is done by high-dominance people who show more creativity and independence of mind. Of course, that dominance isn’t necessarily welcomed, because professors may still find docility in students to be a desirable trait. Incidentally, creative people have a personality profile which is not everybody’s cup of tea. They are often difficult people. Their combination of high dominance and introversion is not always easy to deal with.
In your autobiography, you wrote that you have always been intrigued by great people. What constitutes greatness?
CATTELL: Greatness is something that is surely very different in different areas such as politics, art, music, and science. What I think is fundamental, however, is creativity and an ability to break away from conventional views, a combination of high intelligence with high ego strength. Great people are largely responsible for whatever progress society makes, yet they actually take quite a beating in the process. So qualities of endurance are necessary as well.