(May 23, 1915-April 26, 2000)
American Psychologist



  • University of Utah (Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees)
  • University of Chicago, Psychology (Ph.D., 1946)


  • Professor of Psychology, University of Utah

Major Contributions

  • Led National Science Foundation-funded conferences on scientific creativity (1950s-1960s)
  • Founded the Institute for Behavioral Research in Creativity, Salt Lake City, Utah (1965)
  • Received American Psychological Association’s Richardson Creativity Award (1970)
  • Developed and implemented the Multiple Creative Talent Teaching Approach.

Ideas and Interests

Calvin Taylor was an important figure in the study of human creativity. During the mid-1950s, in response to the Sputnik launch and other cold war pressures, the United States began to devote increased funding to the development of scientific talent. Taylor led several NSF-sponsored conferences on scientific creativity (i.e., the Utah Conferences) that brought together a diversity of perspectives and expertise to discuss issues related to the development of scientific talent. Taylor edited several important books that emerged from the Utah Conferences, many of which are still widely used today.

Taylor, through his own basic research and educational theory, extended and implemented Thurstone’s factor analysis studies on The Vectors of Mind into application by developing and implementing the Multiple Creative Talent Teaching Approach. Taylor stated that not all gifted individuals excelled in the same talents. Gifted students who have been evaluated in one talent area as talented may not be very talented in another talent area, and vice versa. Basing his ideas partially on Guilford’s Structure of the Intellect model, Taylor found that typical intelligence tests measure only a small fraction of talents that have actually been identified, 10 percent at most.

Taylor proposed that multiple talents should be evaluated in the classroom in order to identify more students as gifted in recognized talent areas. Nine talent areas that Taylor has identified for instructional emphasis include academic, productive thinking, planning, communicating, forecasting, decision-making, implementing, human relations, and discerning opportunities. Several positive outcomes to this approach were postulated:

  • New star performers emerge from almost all levels of previous talent levels.
  • Many students who have been low performers in the traditional talent levels will rise to at least a middle level in some of the the new talent areas.
  • Almost all students will have the rewarding experience of being above average in one or another talent area if enough talent areas are cultivated in the classroom.
  • Approximately one third of students will be identified as highly gifted in at least one major talent area.

Taylor expected this approach would produce higher motivation in students, and allow for better development of human resource potential. A student would be able learn a great deal about himself and can choose activities that call for his best talents – a course that can lead to optimum self-actualization and productivity.

In addition to his major achievements of the Utah Conferences and Multiple Talent Approach, Taylor helped design the selection system for the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program. He founded the Institute for Behavioral Research in Creativity (IBRIC) and directed 19 summer creativity workshops for teachers.


  • The Identification of creative scientific Talent: Report on The 1955 University of Utah Research Conference (1956)
  • The Second (1957) University of Utah Research Conference on the Identification of Creative Scientific Talent (1958)
  • Scientific Creativity: Its Recognition and Development (1963)
  • Development of a Theory of Education from Psychological and Other Basic Research Findings (1964)
  • Widening Horizons in Creativity (1964)
  • Creativity: Progress and Potential (1964)
  • Biographical Information and the Prediction of Multiple Criteria of Success in Science (1966)
  • Climate for Creativity; Report on The Seventh National Research Conference on Creativity (1966)
  • Instructional Media and Creativity (1966)
  • Climate for Creativity (1968)


Anonymous (2001). Calvin W. Taylor (1915-2000). American Psychologist, 56, 519.
Taylor, C. W. (1968). Cultivating new talents: A way to reach the educationally deprived. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 2, 83-90.
Taylor, C. W. (1986). Cultivating simultaneous student growth in both multiple creative talents and knowledge. In J. S. Renzulli (Ed.), Systems and Models for Developing Programs for the Gifted and Talented (pp. 307-350). Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press.