"The research, published in NeuroImage, suggests that an artist's talent could be innate" says the article, which can be found here. Hearing this statement probably comes as no surprise. The idea of "a natural talent", "being gifted from an early age", having an "innate inclination" are all phrases we use to describe what sets writers, musicians and visual artists with exceptional skills apart.
However, there is something that can be perceived to be rather deterministic about this statement. A graphic illustrator, who gave up a career in sales to pursue illustrating in her mid 30's, came to my office and discussed this article. With a slightly pessimistic tone she said "maybe I should just give up if I'm competing with all the people who were born to do this." This article triggered some disheartening childhood memories in my client. She recalled always feeling slightly behind and at a marginal disadvantage, compared to her peers who seemed to put less effort into their artwork but consistently received more positive feedback. Experiences such as these influenced my client to want to pursue a more "steady" career in which she would be able to rely on other factors rather than just talent. However, after a decade of being in sales, she came to terms with her persistent desire to do more creative work and made a drastic change leading her to seek out freelance work as a graphic illustrator.
There are three main reasons why I would encourage my client to resist the urge to tick the "innate vs acquired talent" box.
1. The first reason has to do with the complicated relationship between genetic influences, brain characteristics, early socialization of skills, motivational or mood based traits and environmental factors involved. In other words, brain characteristics alone do not account for the successful nurturing of creativity characteristics. One of the reasons I often explore the impact of growing up in an anti-art environment with my clients, is because hindrances such as these can be a detriment to a person's ability to think and behave creatively.
2. The second reason has to do with the subjective nature of aesthetic appreciation. While some artists may benefit more from innate cognitive skills such as having novel, "overinclusive" thinking and being highly imaginative, other artists value creative ideas resulting from precision, and a more traditional style of creating. In the example of a painter whose style is surrealistic versus a painter who uses a more formal and realistic approach, the degree to which brain characteristics play a determining role may vary substantially.
3. Finally, productivity is a fundamental indication of eminence in a creative field. A "naturally gifted" person who spends time "here and there" working on art may produce some innovative paintings, but an artist who is motivated, committed, and who is willing to remain consistently productive will perfect his/her skills and create a large scope of work rendering him/her a "successful artist."
I would encourage my client to accept the discovery of facts about the "artist's brain" in a way that acknowledges factors beyond her control, at the same time being careful not to draw conclusions implying that there are no controllable factors.