Dean Keith SimontonDean Keith Simonton has devoted his career as a social psychologist investigating the origins of and evolution of genius, creativity, and leadership. He has researched the personal, social, cultural, developmental, and cognitive factors that contribute to greatness in the arts, the humanities, and especially the sciences. He uses the tools of historiometrics, a combination of personal histories, biographies, and psychometrics, to build theories and principles of human behavior that might account for the development of pre-eminent individuals. Starting from the pioneering theories of Donald Campbell, Simonton has developed the Blind Variation and Selective Retention (BVSR) account of the creation of human knowledge, and scientific knowledge in particular. BVSR is itself a variation on common-sense and ancient notions of trial-and-error, and it seems directly inspired by the two-step process of biological evolution, but Campbell and Simonton see it as more general than these. BVSR is applicable to organic evolution, the learning process in individual organisms, and the social construction of knowledge. In biological evolution, the original blind variation is preserved by genetic inheritance. In learning, random variations are preserved by individual organisms memories. In social knowledge, chance variation of ideas get preserved as new inventions, new works of art, and new scientific theories. Whether any of these get selected and retained depends on their pragmatic usefulness to the species, the individual and the society. BVSR also describes the two-stage model for free will. First chance, then choice. First "free," then "will." Thoughts come to us freely. Actions go from us willfully. The idea that units of cultural knowledge undergo variation and then are selected for is perhaps better known from the recent work of Richard Dawkins, who named the self-replicating unit of cultural evolution the "meme" in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. BVSR is widely used in cybernetics. For example, the "general problem solver" programs of Allan Newell and Herbert Simon involve two stages, first the blind generation of theorems and then testing of the theorems for validity. In the December 2014 issue of the Review of General Psychology, Simonton (a past president of APA) called for the two-stage model of free will to be integrated into his theory of creativity.