A Century beyond Terman, 50 Years after Marland: Knowns and Unknowns about Cognitive Excellence

A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2023) | Viewed by 35378

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Interests: flynn effect; meta-analysis; reproducibility

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Guest Editor
Vinzenz Pallotti University, Pallottistr. 3, D-56179 Vallendar, Germany
Interests: giftedness; assessment; stereotypes; identity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The study of individuals with exceptional cognitive abilities has proven seminal for our understanding of the development, the biological bases, and predictors of human intelligence. One century after Lewis Terman set out to collect the first data wave for his Genetic Studies of Genius, we have a better understanding about the causes, meaning, and nature of cognitive abilities than ever before. The Marland Report of 1972, which went beyond Terman's narrow IQ definition, initiated a debate about what giftedness actually is, which is still as vivid today as it was then.

The present Special Issue takes up the interplay of the definition of giftedness and the description of gifted individuals. Much remains to be learned, e.g., about how exceptional cognitive performers differ from other individuals. A broader understanding of giftedness beyond mere above-average scores in formalized tests (e.g., involving the interaction of abilities with environmental influences) and the development of novel intelligence models (e.g., the CHC model), as well as research methods (e.g., neuroimaging) provide new means to gain insight into the contribution of exceptional intelligence to life outcomes. Furthermore, the question of what it means to be gifted and how this view changes over time—both historically and over an individual's lifespan—deserves examination.

This Special Issue focuses on assembling knowns and unknowns about giftedness and aims to explore novel research questions that help disentangle stereotypes from actual characteristics of gifted samples.

Within this topical frame, we invite empirical submissions that focus on one or more of the following topics:

  • Group differences between gifted vs. non-gifted populations;
  • Predictors of exceptional cognitive abilities;
  • Perception of gifted individuals;
  • Cross-temporal changes in the perception of giftedness (both historically and ontogenetically);
  • Environmental influences on and their interactions with giftedness.

Dr. Jakob Pietschnig
Prof. Dr. Tanja Gabriele Baudson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • giftedness
  • exceptional cognitive abilities
  • group differences
  • intelligence stereotypes about giftedness

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 371 KiB  
Article
High Cognitive Ability and Mental Health: Findings from a Large Community Sample of Adolescents
by Jeroen Lavrijsen and Karine Verschueren
J. Intell. 2023, 11(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11020038 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5747
Abstract
Whereas it has sometimes been asserted that the intellectually gifted would be more prone to develop mental health problems, empirical studies generally do not seem to support such claims. However, much of the available research has relied on preselected samples, introducing risks for [...] Read more.
Whereas it has sometimes been asserted that the intellectually gifted would be more prone to develop mental health problems, empirical studies generally do not seem to support such claims. However, much of the available research has relied on preselected samples, introducing risks for sample selection bias. This study scrutinized the relationship between intellectual giftedness (defined as high cognitive ability) and mental health in a large, non-selective sample of early adolescents (n = 3409; 49.6% boys; Mage = 12.5 years). Using a standardized intelligence test (CoVaT-CHC) to identify participants with a high cognitive ability (IQ ≥ 120; n = 403), we compared self- and parent-reported levels of emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, and self-reported worry and global self-esteem between high and average ability adolescents. Findings indicated that adolescents with a high cognitive ability were not at increased risk of psychological maladjustment; if any, differences were in favor of the high ability group. However, adolescents who had been formally identified as gifted (i.e., who had received a gifted label) did report worse adjustment for a number of outcomes. Full article
18 pages, 1021 KiB  
Article
Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Hypersensitivity in Gifted Individuals
by Christelle Gillioz, Maroussia Nicolet-dit-Félix and Marina Fiori
J. Intell. 2023, 11(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11020020 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3063
Abstract
The goal of the present study was to investigate the associations between high intelligence, emotional intelligence (EI), and emotional hypersensitivity in a sample of 304 Mensa members. In addition, we aimed to shed light on how highly intelligent individuals process emotional information. In [...] Read more.
The goal of the present study was to investigate the associations between high intelligence, emotional intelligence (EI), and emotional hypersensitivity in a sample of 304 Mensa members. In addition, we aimed to shed light on how highly intelligent individuals process emotional information. In a previous study, we found that individuals with high EI in the general population are characterized by an attentional bias toward emotional information. We tested whether this effect holds for highly intelligent individuals by drawing on the same procedure: participants (N = 124 Mensa members) had to report a letter appearing behind a picture of a face with emotional or a neutral facial expression, and their reaction time to provide an answer was recorded. Comparing the results from the general population to those of Mensa members, we found that Mensa members did not show the attentional bias toward emotional information found in the general population. Mensa members were equally fast to evaluate letters replacing emotional and neutral expressions, and this result was not influenced by EI level. Possible explanations include the role of inhibitory processes (a factor related to intelligence), which might have contributed to treating emotional information as purely cognitive. Full article
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13 pages, 350 KiB  
Article
What Is Mathematical Giftedness? Associations with Intelligence, Openness, and Need for Cognition
by Kaja Hansen, Mieke Johannsen, Laura Langemeyer and Nina Krüger
J. Intell. 2022, 10(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence10040094 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1843
Abstract
It is common practice in the educational system to foster high mathematical abilities in schools as well as in specific promotional programs. Still, little is known about the construct of mathematical giftedness itself. In line with intellectual investment theories, our study investigates the [...] Read more.
It is common practice in the educational system to foster high mathematical abilities in schools as well as in specific promotional programs. Still, little is known about the construct of mathematical giftedness itself. In line with intellectual investment theories, our study investigates the relationship between fluid intelligence (figural and numerical), openness, and the need for cognition with mathematical abilities. The current study is based on a sample (N = 115) of seventh graders participating in the application process for a promotion program. The results of our regression analyses show a positive link between fluid intelligence and mathematical abilities. However, neither the association with openness nor the need for cognition reached significance, emphasizing the importance of cognitive abilities for mathematical giftedness. Limitations and further directions are discussed. Full article
15 pages, 811 KiB  
Article
Is There a “Gifted Personality”? Initial Evidence for Differences between MENSA and General Population Members in the HEXACO Personality Inventory
by Jonathan Fries, Kristof Kovacs, Elisabeth L. Zeilinger and Jakob Pietschnig
J. Intell. 2022, 10(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence10040092 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2587
Abstract
Contrary to the common notion that personality and intelligence are unrelated constructs, numerous correlational studies have demonstrated substantial associations between the two domains. Moreover, samples of intellectually gifted individuals have been found to differ from the general population in specific aspects of their [...] Read more.
Contrary to the common notion that personality and intelligence are unrelated constructs, numerous correlational studies have demonstrated substantial associations between the two domains. Moreover, samples of intellectually gifted individuals have been found to differ from the general population in specific aspects of their personalities. However, most studies so far have relied on the Five-Factor Model of Personality (FFM), while none have investigated this phenomenon using the HEXACO personality framework. We recruited 617 adult members of the international high-IQ society MENSA and compared them to 3 reference samples (combined N = 112,637) regarding their personalities as measured by the HEXACO-60 personality inventory. We found that gifted persons scored higher in Honesty-Humility and Conscientiousness but lower in Emotionality compared to reference samples. Interestingly, gifted individuals scored only slightly higher in Openness to Experience, and no consistent differences emerged for Agreeableness. We demonstrate that some known personality differences between gifted and non-gifted persons translate from the FFM to the HEXACO model, while others do not. Our results indicate that within the HEXACO factor structure differences in sociability are more pronounced, while intellect-related differences are comparatively weak. Full article
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15 pages, 887 KiB  
Article
The Cognitive Profile of Gifted Children Compared to Those of Their Parents: A Descriptive Study Using the Wechsler Scales
by Lina Pezzuti, Morena Farese, James Dawe and Marco Lauriola
J. Intell. 2022, 10(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence10040091 - 24 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 7470
Abstract
The manifestation of performance at the top of a given talent distribution constitutes giftedness. While identifying talented youths based on IQ has been the focus of previous research, examining their cognitive profile is a new endeavor. The present study assessed the IQ and [...] Read more.
The manifestation of performance at the top of a given talent distribution constitutes giftedness. While identifying talented youths based on IQ has been the focus of previous research, examining their cognitive profile is a new endeavor. The present study assessed the IQ and cognitive abilities of a sample of gifted Italian children and compared them to their parents using the Wechsler scales. Fifty-nine gifted children aged 6 to 14 years were administered the WISC-IV while their parents (N = 53 mothers and N = 55 fathers) took the WAIS-IV. The gifted children (IQ ≥ 120) obtained particularly high scores in verbal comprehension (VCI) and visual-perceptual reasoning (PRI). More than two-thirds of the mothers and over half of the fathers also achieved an IQ ≥ 120. The gifted children scored significantly higher than both mothers and fathers in VCI and PRI. The mothers were significantly higher than their children in the processing speed domain. Correlational analyses highlighted that children’s IQ was positively related to that of their mothers. In keeping with the literature, the cognitive profile of gifted children was found to vary across cognitive abilities. It follows that the General Ability Index was the WISC-IV index that best matched the potential of gifted youths. Consistent with previous research, our study suggests that intellectual abilities, especially working memory and processing speed, are maintained and presumably passed on from one generation to the next. Full article
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14 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Why Hasn’t the Gifted Label Caught up with Science?
by Michael S. Matthews and Jennifer L. Jolly
J. Intell. 2022, 10(4), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence10040084 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3480
Abstract
The development of both special education and gifted education as fields of study were closely tied to the origins of intelligence testing in the early 20th century. While special education’s terminology has become more nuanced and circumspect over the ensuing century, the term [...] Read more.
The development of both special education and gifted education as fields of study were closely tied to the origins of intelligence testing in the early 20th century. While special education’s terminology has become more nuanced and circumspect over the ensuing century, the term gifted has remained unchanged despite coming under substantial criticism in recent decades for its lack of specificity and for the innateness that the term implies as the primary cause of individual differences in ability. We examine this history and the seminal nationally disseminated reports related to gifted education, from the Marland report to the present, to consider why the gifted label has persisted. We conclude with some suggestions for how these issues might be remedied. Full article

Review

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44 pages, 1085 KiB  
Review
Non-Cognitive Specificities of Intellectually Gifted Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of the Literature
by Emma Tourreix, Maud Besançon and Corentin Gonthier
J. Intell. 2023, 11(7), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11070141 - 15 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5945
Abstract
For several years, there was a growing interest in intellectual giftedness and in particular in the non-cognitive specificities of gifted individuals. This topic attracted much public attention and sometimes led to contradictions with the scientific literature. The current review synthesizes a broad set [...] Read more.
For several years, there was a growing interest in intellectual giftedness and in particular in the non-cognitive specificities of gifted individuals. This topic attracted much public attention and sometimes led to contradictions with the scientific literature. The current review synthesizes a broad set of results related to non-cognitive specificities of intellectual gifted in children and adolescents. This synthesis of scientific research on giftedness and its associated non-cognitive features does not support the conclusion that there is a stable profile across gifted individuals that would consistently separate them from non-gifted individuals. A few specificities in some areas are noted, but they are not necessarily being systematic. These specificities often turn out to be in favor of gifted youth, contrary to the view sometimes defended in the general public that gifted individuals suffer from major everyday difficulties. Finally, methodological issues are listed regarding the designs of existing studies, with recommendations for future research in the field. Full article
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Other

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13 pages, 315 KiB  
Essay
Almost Forgotten Research Contexts: William Stern’s Giftedness Research
by Rebecca Heinemann
J. Intell. 2023, 11(9), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11090174 - 29 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1425
Abstract
This article examines the concept of intelligence and giftedness of the German psychologist and philosopher William Stern, the leading intelligence and giftedness researcher in Germany from the early 20th century to 1933. Stern developed a multifactorial giftedness model that integrated empirical and philosophical [...] Read more.
This article examines the concept of intelligence and giftedness of the German psychologist and philosopher William Stern, the leading intelligence and giftedness researcher in Germany from the early 20th century to 1933. Stern developed a multifactorial giftedness model that integrated empirical and philosophical perspectives and was thus far ahead of his time. This concept was not taken up for a long time—not least because of the break that the research on giftedness suffered in Germany in 1933—and has not yet been presented with the required complexity and interdisciplinarity. In the USA, Stern’s research has so far been reduced to the IQ formula he created. The author presents Stern’s concept of giftedness in the context of the particular scientific–historical and educational–political situation in Germany in the first third of the 20th century. The pedagogical conclusions that Stern associated with the research on giftedness, and which essentially referred to the requirement to support all gifted children, regardless of social class, are also illuminated. Full article
20 pages, 1438 KiB  
Concept Paper
Artificial Neural Networks and the Actiotope Model of Giftedness—Clever Solutions from Complex Environments
by Shane N. Phillipson, Cindy Di Han and Vincent C. S. Lee
J. Intell. 2023, 11(7), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11070128 - 25 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Since its inception, the Actiotope Model of Giftedness (AMG) has provided researchers with a useful model to explain the development of exceptionality. Rather than a focus on the individual, the model postulates that exceptionality is the outcome of a system that includes complex [...] Read more.
Since its inception, the Actiotope Model of Giftedness (AMG) has provided researchers with a useful model to explain the development of exceptionality. Rather than a focus on the individual, the model postulates that exceptionality is the outcome of a system that includes complex interactions between an individual’s current level of talent and their internal and external environment. To date, however, the statistical techniques that have been used to investigate the model, including linear regression and structural equation modeling, are unable to fully operationalize the systemic nature of these interactions. In order to fully realize the predictive potential and application of the AMG, we outline the use of artificial neural networks (ANNs) to model the complex interactions and suggest that such networks can provide additional insights into the development of exceptionality. In addition to supporting continued research into the AMG, the use of ANNs has the potential to provide educators with evidence-based strategies to support student learning at both an individual and whole-school level. Full article
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