Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Characteristics of Highly Gifted Individuals

In Growing Up Gifted, Dr. Barbara Clark reviewed the research of Dahlberg, Gross, Koppel, Lovecky and Silverman, and listed the following as characteristics commonly found among highly gifted individuals.

  • An extraordinary speed in processing information.

  • A rapid and thorough comprehension of the whole idea or concept.

  • An unusual ability to perceive essential elements and underlying structures and patterns in relationships and ideas.

  • A need for precision in thinking and expression.

  • An ability to relate to a broad range of ideas and synthesize commonalties among them.

  • A high degree of ability to think abstractly that develops early.

  • Appreciation of complexity; finding myriad alternative meanings in even the most simple issues or problems.

  • An ability to learn in an integrative, intuitive, nonlinear manner.

  • An extraordinary degree of intellectual curiosity.

  • An unusual capacity for memory.

  • A long concentration span.

  • A fascination with ideas and words.

  • An extensive vocabulary.

  • Ability to perceive many sides of an issue.

  • Argumentativeness.

  • Advanced visual and motor skills.

  • An ability from an early age to think in metaphors and symbols and a preference for doing so.

  • Ability to visualize models and systems.

  • Ability to learn in great intuitive leaps.

  • Highly idiosyncratic interpretations of events.

  • Awareness of detail.

  • Unusual intensity and depth of feeling.

  • A high degree of emotional sensitivity.

  • Highly developed morals and ethics and early concern for moral and existential issues.

  • Unusual and early insight into social and moral issues.

  • An ability to empathetically understand and relate to ideas and other people.

  • An extraordinarily high energy level.

  • A need for the world to be logical and fair.

  • Conviction of correctness of personal ideas and beliefs.

As Silverman notes, "it may be nearly impossible for highly gifted children to conform their thinking to the ways in which others think. Some do not 'group' well. Some have difficulty developing relations with others. Some argue continuously because that is the way they learn. Some are intensely sensitive. Some have major discrepancies between their intellectual maturity and motor coordination and so appear 'immature.'" All of them are highly vulnerable and at risk.

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