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Developmental Potential of the Gifted

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Describes a model of developmental potential that defines 5 parallel dimensions or modes of mental functioning assumed to be genetically independent of one another. The 5 modes encompassed by the model are represented by 5 forms of "psychic overexcitability." The prefix over in overexcitability is meant to convey that this is a special kind of responding, experiencing, and acting that is enhanced and distinguished by characteristic forms of expression. The 5 forms are psychomotor overexcitability (P), intellectual (T), emotional (E), and imaginational (M). The model was tested in a study with 49 gifted adolescents (aged 12–17 yrs), 28 gifted adults (aged 22–55 yrs), 19 artists (aged 18–59 yrs), and 42 graduate students (aged 22–50 yrs). Results of assessment on an overexcitability questionnaire indicate that both gifted adolescents and gifted adults were characterized by 2 nonintellectual factors—M and E–and by T overexcitability. It is concluded that while the level of each overexcitability variable differs considerably across gifted individuals, they are consistently and reliably present in a gifted group of any age. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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80
Developmental
Potential
of
the
Gifted*
Michael
M.
Piechowski
Nicholas
Colangelo
Many
authors
have
addressed
the
question
of
the
nature
of
giftedness
and
talent
only
to
discover
that
many
factors,
components,
traits,
facets,
and
potentialities
are
not
cap-
tured
by
the
tests
in
use
(Bloom,
1963;
Gallagher,
1975;
Hoyt,
1966;
Nicholls,
1972;
Passow,
1981;
Wing
&
Wallach,
1971).
That
a
gifted
child
is
not
reliably
the
parent
to
a
gifted
adult-not
all
gifted
children
fulfill
their
promise
and
adult
late
bloomers
are
not
counted
earlier
among
the
gifted-
has
been
established
over
and
over
again;
it
has
been
said
that
the
psychometric
approach
has
failed
in
its
predictive
promise
(Feldman,
1977;
Gruber,
1982;
Renzulli,
1978).
But
the
problem
of
what
makes
for
mature
giftedness
and
talent
remains;
what
are
all
those
contributing
skills,
endowments,
or
personal
powers
by
which
true
giftedness
is
recognized?
Inevitably
our
approaches
are
a
function
of
our
defini-
tions,
be
they
explicit
or
implicit.
Terman’s
definition
of
intellectual
giftedness
as
the
top
one
percent
of
the
popula-
tion
on
a
standardized
measure
established
a
method
of
deciding
who
was
gifted
and
who
was
not.
Now
Renzulli’s
(1978)
proposal
to
use
three
clusters
of
ingredients
of
giftedness-above
average
ability,
task
commitment,
and
creativity-provides
a
new,
explicit
definition
and
a
new
strategy.
Implicit
in
this
definition
is
the
criterion
of social
usefulness:
the
three
clusters
are
found
together
in
people
who
are
productive
and
who
make
creative
contributions
in
their
fields
of
endeavor.
Newland
(1976)
went
so
far
as
to
suggest
periodic
adjustment
of
the
definition
of
who
is
gifted,
based
on
social
demand.
The
criteria
of
productivity
and
social
usefulness
deal
only
with
the
optimal
combination
of
many
capabilities
and
fail
to
look
at
them
individually,
independently
of
their
social
application.
Albert
(1975),
for
example,
defined
genius
in
terms
of
early
start
and
sustained
productivity
but
left
out
of
the
picture
the
structure
of
a
mind
that
works
in
unprece-
dented
ways.
A
person
with
a
160
IQ
who
is
not
creative
or
productive
still
possesses
a
set
of
unusual
mental
gifts.
A
chess
champion’s
extraordinary
capacity
for
solving
chess
problems
does
not
make
him
or
her
creative,
nor
does
it
make
him
or
her
productive-winning
prizes
produces
little
except
a
perpetuation
of
chess
competitions.
Yet,
a
chess
master
has
unusual
and
fascinating
mental
capabilities
whose
workings
can
be
studied
to
produce
knowledge
and
understanding
of
human
intelligence.
From
the
point
of
view
of
research
and
theory,
studying
a
phenomenon
in
its
pure
form
is
the
more
fruitful
approach.
A
criterion
of
social
usefulness
would
limit
us
to
a
social
definition
of
a
phenomenon
which
is
not
of
social
origin.
Giftedness
begins
with
some
form
of
native
endowment,
the
organism’s
original
equipment.
Feldman
(1979),
Gardner
(1982),
and
Sternberg
(1980)
take
the
more
basic
approach:
they
strive
to
identify
specific
units
of
mental
equipment,
or,
as
Gardner
is
fond
of
calling
them,
&dquo;specific
computational
devices&dquo;.
Investigating
the
workings
of
such
units
or
de-
vices,
one
can
uncover
the
way
they
are
designed
(that
is,
the
way
they
evolved
to
carry
out
specific
functions)
and
then
see
how
their
different
versions
combine
in
each
indi-
vidual.
The
purest
examples
of
such
units
operating
without
connection
with
other
critical
units
of
the
mental
apparatus
are
found
in
idiots
sauants,
autistic
children,
child
prodigies,
and
patients
with
localized
brain
damage
(Gardner,
1975).
Gardner
(1982,
p.
51)
says:
I
propose
that
human
cognitive
competence
be
thought
of
as
consisting
of
a
number
of
auto-
nomous,
or
semi-autonomous,
domains
of
intel-
lect.
Each
of
these
intellectual
competences
has
its
own
genetic
origins
and
limitations
as
well
as
its
own
neuroanatomical
substrate
or
substrates
...
These
intellectual
competences
or
&dquo;intelli-
gences&dquo;
have
evolved
over
millions
of
years
in
order
to
carry
out
specific
hominoid
problem-
solving
and
production
activities,
including
finding
one’s
way
around
the
environment,
making
tools,
and
communicating
and
interacting
successfully
with
other
individuals ...
All
normal
individuals
pos-
sess
some
potential
for
developing
each
of
the
intel-
lectual
competences,
but
individuals
differ
from
one
another
in
the
extent
to
which
they
can
and
will
realize
each
competence.
The
advantage
of
this
approach
is
that
it
provides
the
logical
basis
for
individual
psychology,
that
is,
for
the
study
of
structure
and
design
of
mental
processes
and
the
manner
in
which
their
elements
vary
across
individuals,
as
opposed
to
the
study
of
individual
differences
in
terms
of
group
norms
and
deviations
from
such
norms.
This
structural
or
&dquo;facul-
ties&dquo;
approach
is
eminently
suited
for
the
study
of
the
gifted
individual.
The
Model
of
Developmental
Potential
The
model
to
be
presented
here
follows
similar
principles.
It
defines
five
parallel
dimensions
or
modes
of
mental
func-
tioning
assumed
to
be
genetically
independent
of
one
another.
In
this
model,
the
strength
of
these
five
dimensions
*A
grant
from
the
Spencer
Foundation
made
possible
the
research
carried
out
by
Michael
M.
Piechowski
at the
University
of
Denver in
the
summer
of
1982.
A
grant
from
the
College
of
Education,
University
of
Iowa,
supported
Nicholas
Colangelo’s
research.
We
wish
to
thank Kevin
R.
Kelly,
doctoral
student in
Counseling
Psychology,
University
of Iowa, for
his
assistance.
We
gratefully
acknowledge
the
gracious
help
at
the Uni-
versity
of
Denver
of
Dr.
L.
K.
Silverman,
Dr.
R.
F.
Falk,
and
Dr. Elinor
Katz,
Director
of
the
University
for
Youth.
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
81
is
taken
to
be
a
measure
of
the
person’s
developmental ’
potential
(DP),
hence,
also
of
the
person’s
giftedness
(Pie-
chowski,
1979).
Everything
we
have
discovered
so
far-
intellective
factors,
motivational
factors,
special
aptitudes,
Gardner’s
&dquo;intelligences&dquo;-all
are
part
of
a
picture
which
is
always
incomplete.
The
model
of
developmental
potential
fills
in
certain
broad
and
important
areas.
The
five
modes
encompassed
by
the
model
are
repre-
sented
by
five
forms
of
so-called
psychic
overexcitability.
This
term
was
first
introduced
by
Dabrowski
(1938)
to
describe
an
expanded
and
intensified
manner
of
experienc-
ing
in
the
psychomotor,
sensual,
intellectual,
imaginational,
and
emotional
areas.
The
prefix
over
in
overexcitability
is
meant
to
convey
that
this
is
a
special
kind
of
responding,
experiencing,
and
acting,
one
that
is
enhanced
and
distin-
guished
by
characteristic
forms
of
expression.
As
personal
traits,
overexcitabilities
are
often
not
valued
socially,
being
viewed
instead
as
nervousness,
hyperactiv-
ity,
neurotic
temperament,
excessive
emotionality,
and
emotional
intensity
that
most
people
find
uncomfortable
at
close
range.
Dabrowski,
perceiving
their
developmental
significance,
deliberately
gave
these
manifestations
a
new
name.
He
was
not
the
first
to
see
the
positive
side
of
such
a
temperament
which,
in
a
still
earlier
epoch,
was
called
&dquo;psy-
chopathic.&dquo;
William
James
(1902,
p.
26)
saw
in
the
intensity
and
overemphasis
of
highly
emotional
people
a
necessary
condition
of
being
genuinely
rather
than
superficially
moral:
Few
of
us
are
not
in
some
way
infirm,
or
even
diseased;
and
our
very
infirmities
help
us
unex-
pectedly.
In
the
psychopathic
temperament
we
have
the
emotionality
which
is
the
sine
qua
non
of
moral
perception;
we
have
the
intensity
and
ten-
dency
to
emphasis
which
are
the
essence
of
moral
vigor;
and
we
have
the
love
of
metaphysics
and
mysticism
which
carry
one’s
interests
beyond
the
surface
of
the
sensible
world ...
If
there
were
such
a
thing
as
inspiration
from
a
higher
realm,
it
might
well
be
that
the
neurotic
temperament
would
fur-
nish
the
chief
condition
of
the
requisite
receptivity.
And
further
(p.
24-25),
But
the
psychopathic
temperament...
often
brings
with
it
ardor
and
excitability
of
character.
The
cranky
person
has
extraordinary
emotional
sus-
ceptibility.
He
is
liable
to
fixed
ideas
and
obses-
sions.
His
conceptions
tend
to
pass
immediately
into
belief
and
action;
and
when
he
gets
a
new
idea,
he
has
no
rest
till
he
proclaims
it,
or
in
some
way
&dquo;works
it
off.&dquo;
&dquo;What
shall
I think
of
it?&dquo;
a
common
person
says
to
himself
about
a
vexed
question;
but
in
a
&dquo;cranky&dquo;
mind
&dquo;What
must
I do
about
it?&dquo;
is
the
form
the
question
tends
to
take ...
Thus,
when
a
superior
intellect
and
a
psychopathic
temperament
coalesce-as
in
the
endless
permutations
and
combinations
of
human
faculty,
they
are
bound
to
coalesce
often
enough-in
the
same
individual,
we
have
the
best
possible
condition
for
the
effective
genius
that
gets
into
the
biographical
dictionaries.
Such
men
do
not
remain
mere
critics
and
under-
standers
with
their
intellect.
Their
ideas
possess
them,
they
inflict
them,
for
better
or
worse,
upon
their
companions
or
their
age.
Here
James
connects
superior
intellect
and
heightened
emotional
excitability.
His
&dquo;effective
genius
that
gets
into
the
biographical
dictionaries&dquo;
is
the
operational
genius
of
Albert
and
Renzulli.
He
describes
characteristics
which
endow
certain
individuals
with
capabilities
absent
in
others,
capabilities
that
open
doors
to
other
realms,
that
make
these
individuals
see
certain
truths
with
unusual
vividness,
and
that
compel
them
to
seek
answers
to
questions
which
to
others
are
only
matters
of
opinion.
Gallagher
(1975,
p.
64),
more
recently,
echoes
an
aspect
of
James’ insight
in
his
view
that
hyperactivity
might,
under
some
conditions,
be
an
asset
to
intellectual
development.
Both
James
and
Gallagher
describe
what
are,
in
Dabrowski’s
appellation,
forms
of
psychic
overexcitability.
Let
us
review
these
five
forms
briefly.
All
of
the
illustrative
examples
given
below
are
direct
quotes
from
gifted
adolescents
(see
Note
1).
A
more
detailed
description
exists
(Piechowski,
1979).
Psychomotor
overexcitability
(P)
may
be
viewed
as
an
organic
excess
of
energy,
or
heightened
excitability
of
the
neuromuscular
system.
It
may
manifest
itself
as a
love
of
movement
for
its
own
sake-rapid
speech,
pursuit
of
intense
physical
activity,
impulsiveness,
restlessness,
pres-
sure
for
action,
or
drivenness;
the
capacity
for
being
active
and
energetic.
When
I am
around
my
friends,
I usually
come
up
with
so
much
energy
I don’t
know
where
it
came
from.
Also
when
I am
bored,
I
get
sudden
urges
and
lots
of
energy
that
can
be
dealt
with
by
doing
a
physical
sport
or
activity
such
as
bike
riding,
jog-
ging,
walking,
or
playing
basketball.
Sometimes
during
class
(it
happens
quite
often)
I get
bored
because
I
understand
what
is
being
taught,
and
get
a
lot
of
energy.
This
energy
is
used
to
goof
off,
even
though
I know
I shouldn’t.
The
energy
seems
to
just
swell
up
inside
of
me,
then
just
flows
over.
Honestly,
some
classes
are
boring
and
I wish
those
who
understand
could
go
ahead
and
work,
then
maybe
I
wouldn’t
use
my
energy
so
harmfully.
(Female,
age
13)
[I
have
the
greatest
urge
to
do
something]
mainly
when
I haven’t
been
doing
anything.
Like
when
I’ve
been
doing
a
long
homework
assignment
or
sitting
typing
more
of
my
book
I
suddenly
get
the
urge
to
shoot
some
baskets
or
bike
ride
or
something.
Usually
I just
get
up
and
walk
around
for
a
while
if
I’m
really
in
need
of
finishing
my
homework.
If
not
I
usually
go
outside
and
let
my
dog
chase
me
around
for
a
while.
(Male,
age
15)
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
82
Sensual
ouerexcitability
(S)
is
expressed
in
the
height-
ened
experience
of
sensual
pleasure
and
in
seeking
sensual
outlets
for
inner
tension.
Beyond
desires
for
comfort,
lux-
ury,
stereotyped
or
refined
beauty,
and
the
pleasure
in
being
admired
and
taking
the
limelight,
sensual
overexcitability
may
be
expressed
in
the
simple
pleasure
of
taste
and
smell,
for
instance,
the
smell
of
car
exhaust.
In
short,
it
is
the
capacity
for
sensual
enjoyment.
I
love
to
have
something
that
tastes
good
in
my
mouth.
I just
really
enjoy
good
tasting
things.
If
I
taste
something
I like
I can’t
stop
eating
it.
(Male,
age
14)
[What
kind
of
physical
activity
(or
inactivity)
gives
you
the
most
satisfaction?]
If
I
said
sex
would
you
die
laughing
or
just
be
shocked?
(Female,
age
16)
[Is
tasting
something
very
special
to
you?]
Yes,
it
is.
Maybe
that’s
why
I’m
so
&dquo;picky.&dquo;
Taste
depends
on
flavor,
texture,
consistency,
smell,
color
and
appearance.
Beans
are
so
gross!
They
are
just
there,
they
don’t
do
anything
for
you.
Whipped
potatoes
in
butter-they
are
fun!
You
can
do
any-
thing
with
them!
Not
that
food
has
to
be
fun-
simply
being
good
in
flavor
is
all
right,
too!
(I
don’t
mean
to
sound
like
a
Jell-O
commercial.
Watch
it
shimmer!).
(Female,
age
16)
Intellectual
ouerexcitability
(T)
is
associated
with
an
intensified
activity
of
the
mind.
Its
strongest
expressions-
persistence
in
asking
probing
questions,
avidity
for
knowl-
edge
and
analysis,
preoccupation
with
logic,
and
theoretical
problems-have
more
to
do
with
striving
for
understanding
and
truth
than
with
academic
learning
and
achievement.
Other
expressions
are:
a
sharp
sense
of
observation,
inde-
pendence
of
thought
(often
expressed
in
criticism),
sym-
bolic
thinking,
development
of
new
concepts,
striving
for
synthesis
of
knowledge;
a
capacity
to
search
for
knowledge
and
truth.
I
can’t
resist
math
puzzles,
or
brain
teasers
of
any
kind,
and
I
go
to
ridiculous
lengths
to
figure
them
out.
When
I’m
being
sensible
I know
they’re
a
waste
of
time,
but
I
can’t
see
one
without
working
it
out.
I
guess
I’m
conceited-I
don’t
like
to
think
that
there
is
anything
I
can’t
figure
out.
My
favorite
puzzles
are
the
logic
puzzles
in
which
they
give
a
set
of
facts
that
must
be
combined
in
order
to
find
the
answer.
(Female,
age
16)
Yes.
[I
think
about
my
own
thinking,]
sometimes
I
get
a
long
line
of
thinking
and
I
go
back
and
trace
from
where
I started,
and
usually
it
is
from
the
most
insignificant
thing,
or,
I
am
appalled
at
how
I
have
compared
something.
(Male,
age
14)
I
don’t
very
often
[catch
myself
seeing
or
imagining
things
that
aren’t
really
there.]
Instead,
I
analyze
things
that
are
there
in
different
ways.
I
read
stories
deeper,
read
into
questions,
find
catchy
puns
or
mistakes
of
words
in
people’s
writings,
etc.
If
some-
thing
has
no
meaning
I try
to
give
it
some.
If
it
means
something
I
wonder
why.
I usually
find
when
given
a
topic
to
write
about,
for
example,
I usually
have
a
completely
different
approach
to
the
same
topic
than
does
the
rest
of
the
class.
(Male,
age
16)
Imaginational
ouerexcitability
(M)
is
recognized
through
rich
association
of
images
and
impressions,
inventiveness,
vivid
and
often
animated
visualization,
use
of
image
and
metaphor
in
speaking
and
writing.
Dreams
are
vivid
and
can
be
retold
in
detail.
Living
in
the
world
of
fantasy,
predilection
for
fairy
and
magic
tales,
poetic
creations,
imaginary
com-
panions,
or
dramatizing
to
escape
boredom
are
also
observed.
I
like
to
think
about
things
not
too
many
people
do.
Like
what
will
fire
hydrants
look
like
in
the
future.
Sometimes
I
used
to
pretend
I had
a
little
brother
or
sister,
or
I
would
imagine
myself
in
a
rabbit
hole
watching
thousands
of
wild
horses
galloping
over
me.
(Female,
age
13)
1
also
have
one
[fantasy]
in
which
I can
get
inside
people’s
heads
to
see
what
&dquo;makes
them
go&dquo;
or
can
make
everything
and
everyone
freeze
in
their
tracks
(everyone
except
me)
so
I can
go
around
and
see
what
they
are
doing.
(Male,
age
15)
In
a
real
event,
if
it
does
not
particularly
interest
me,
I
only
see
a
few
highlights.
If
it
is
a
real
event
that
terrifically
interests
me
I only
see
the
main
high-
lights
and
supporting
details.
If
it
is
imaginary
I
can
visualize
it
down
to
the
last
detail.
I do
this
a
lot.
I
also
take
real
events
and
change
them
around
in
my
imagination
to
make
them
appeal
more
to
me.
(Male,
age
15)
Emotional
overexcitability
(E)
is
recognized
in
the
way
emotional
relationships
are
experienced,
in
strong
attach-
ments
to
persons,
living
things
or
places,
and
in
the
great
intensity
of
feeling
and
awareness
of
its
full
range.
Character-
istic
expressions
are:
inhibition
(timidity
and
shyness)
and
excitation
(enthusiasm);
strong
affective
recall
of
past
expe-
riences,
concern
with
death,
fears,
anxieties,
depressions;
there
may
be
an
intense
loneliness,
and
an
intense
desire
to
offer
love,
a
concern
for
others.
There
is
a
high
degree
of
differentiation
of
interpersonal
feeling.
Emotional
overex-
citability
is
the
basis
of
one’s
relation
to
self
through
self-
evaluation
and
self-judgment,
coupled
with
a
sense
of
responsibility,
compassion,
and
responsiveness
to
others.
When
I
kill
a
fly
or
an
ant
or
any
other
insect,
I
suddenly
get
a
feeling
like,
&dquo;Should
I have
done
that?
That’s
really
just
like
going
and
killing
a
human
being.
I bet
the
animals
have
their
own
life,
feelings,
they
must
because
they
are
really
very
intelligent.&dquo;
The
next
time
a
fly
gets
in
the
way,
I
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83
usually
just
let
it
go,
because
I
feel
guilty.
(Female,
age
13)
I
spend
my
time
writing
poetry
once
in
a
while.
Every
time
I
write
a
poem,
it
comes
out
as
a
poem
about
someone
I love,
something
I love,
something
that
won’t
always
be
around
or
something
special
to
me.
Sometimes
I write
of
sad
things
to
take
the
hurt
out
of
me.
I can
never
write
poetry
unless
it
is
something
very
special
to
me.
(Male,
age
13)
[If
you
ask
yourself,
&dquo;Who
am
I&dquo;
what
is
the
answer?]
Usually
the
answer
is:
An
insignificant
human
speck
in
the
vast
universe
trying
to
make
something
out
of
itself
but
will
probably
not
suc-
ceed.
A
biological
imperfect
being
destined
for
cer-
tain
death
in
the
end
and
being
forgotten
even
though
it
attempted
to
make
something
of
itself.
But
sometimes
I get
an
irrational
response:
You
are
a
perfect
intelligence.
You
are
destined
to
become
a
powerful
person.
This
response
sometimes
scares
me.
(Male,
age
15)
The
above
examples
are
taken
from
responses
given
by
gifted
youngsters
to
the
Overexcitability
Questionnaire
(OEQ).
The
method
and
the
different
studies
to
be
com-
pared
here
are
described
below.
This
study
is
an
attempt
to
assess
components
of
gifted-
ness
defined
by
the
model
of
developmental
potential,
that
is,
the
strength
of
the
five
modes
of
mental
functioning.
The
model
combines
both
the
intellective-represented
by
T-
and
the
nonintellective
components-represented
by
E,
M,
S,
and
P-of
giftedness.
By
choosing
to
compare
overexcitability
profiles
of
gifted
adolescents
with
those
of
gifted
and
nongifted
adults
we
sought
to
obtain
a
cross-sectional
view
of
the
development
of
these
variables.
Method
Subjects
Subject
samples
come
from
several
studies.
Iowa
gifted
adolescents
(N
=
49), 26
girls
and
23
boys,
age
12-17,
mean
age
14.8,
were
drawn
from
gifted
programs
in
seven
schools
scattered
throughout
the
state,
part
of
a
study
by
Colan-
gelo,
Piechowski,
and
Kelly
(Note
1).
Their
entry
into
these
gifted
programs
was
based
on
a
combination
of
test
scores,
grades,
and
teacher
nominations.
Volunteer
participants
formed
this
sample
and
all
the
other
samples
in
the
study.
The
intellectually
gifted
adults,
N = 28,21
women
and
7
men,
age
22-55,
mean
age
36.4,
are
from
a
study
by
Silverman
and
Ellsworth
(1981).
They
were
either
Mensa
members
(98th
percentile
or
better
on
a
standard
test
of
intelligence)
or
persons
qualified
for
similar
status
on
the
basis
of
high
GRE,
SAT,
IQ
scores,
former
placement
in
gifted
classes,
or
known
and
recognized
scholarly
achievement.
The
artists,
N
=19, 12
women
and
7
men,
age
18-59,
mean
age
33.9
are
from
a
study
by
Piechowski,
Silverman,
Falk,
and
Cun-
ningham
(Note
2).
They
include
writers,
poets,
singers
(rock
and
classical),
film
producers,
dancers-choreog-
raphers,
a
graphic
designer,
and
a
weaver.
The
graduate
students,
N
=
42,
30
women
and
12
men,
age
22-50,
mean
age
29,
are
taken
from
a
study
by
Lysy
and
Piechowski
(1983).
They
include
students
in
counseling,
history,
linguis-
tics,
natural
science,
education,
library
science,
political
science,
and
religious
studies.
We
assume
most
of
them
are
not
gifted,
based
partly
on
the
content
of
their
responses
and
partly
on
the
fact
that
their
mean
overexcitability
scores
are
nearly
identical
to
those
of
a
sample
of
commu-
nity
women
(N
=
51)
whose
mean
number
of
years
of
schooling
(15.12)
and
general
level
of
achievement
are
lower
than
those
of
graduate
students
(Beach,
1980).
Instrument
The
Overexcitability
Questionnaire
(OEQ)
is
a
21-item,
free-response
instrument
with
half
a
page
blank
per
item.
It
is
derived
from
an
earlier
longer
questionnaire
(Piechowski,
1979;
Lysy
&
Piechowski,
1983).
Subjects
write
their
responses
at
their
leisure.
On
each
of
the
21
items,
one
point
is
scored
for
each
OE
that
can
be
identified
in
the
response.
For
example,
in
the
following
excerpt
in
answer
to
the
question,
&dquo;What
kinds
of
things
get
your
mind
going,&dquo;
we
can
identify
an
element
of
intellectual
overexcitability
in
the
girl’s
interest
in
math
problems
and
in
her
urge
to
pursue
problems
to
completion,
imaginational
overexcitability
in
her
eidetic-like
experience
while
reading,
and
emotional
overexcitability
in
her
feeling
for
the
characters
in
the
story:
Right
now,
the
problems
we
are
doing
in
Senior
Math
get
my
mind
going.
I really
don’t
like
to
leave
things
unanswered
but
sometimes
they
are
pretty
frustrating.
I
can
also
get
pretty
involved
in
some
of
the
books
I read.
Sometimes
I feel
as
though
I
am
right
there
where
it
is
happening
and
I can
feel
emotion
for
the
characters.
(Female,
age
17)
This
response
is
scored
one
point
for
each
of
the
three
forms
of
OE:
T,
M,
and
E.
The
total
score
is
thus
a
simple
frequency
count
of
the
number
of
responses
in
which
a
given
OE
was
observed.
The
highest
possible
score
is
21
for
each
of
the
five
OEs.
The
questions,
as
also
illustrated
in
the
foregoing
example,
do
not
predetermine
the
OE
mode
of
the
response
because
for
many
people,
not
only
intellectual
stimuli
but
emotions,
images,
sensual
pleasures,
or
sports
can
get
their
mind
going
as
well.
The
scoring
procedure
is
conservative:
responses
mini-
mally
adequate
to
be
regarded
as
expression
of
an
OE
are
given
the
same
weight
of
1
as
responses
containing
richly
elaborated
and
multiple
expressions
of
an
OE.
What
com-
pensates
for
this
to
some
degree
is
that
subjects
with
abundant
OEs
tend
to
generate
OE
material
more
often,-
more
items
of
their
OEQ
Protocols
receive
OE
scores.’
I
The
OEQ
protocols
are
rated
independently
by
two
raters.
Disagreements
on
item
scores
are
resolved
by
arriving
at
a
consensus.
The
interrater
correlation
coeffi-
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
84
Figure
1.
Intellectual
overexcitability
scores
in
four
different
samples.
cients
(Pearson’s
r’s),
obtained
with
different
pairs
of
raters
prior
to
consensus,
range
from
.60
to
.95,
most
commonly
from .70
to
.80.
The
correlation
between
the
individual
rater’s
score
and
the
final
consensus
scores
is
on
the
aver-
age
.82
(Piechowski, Silverman,
Falk,
&
Cunningham,
Note
2).
).
Data
Analysis
Figure
1
shows
that
the
scores
in
our
samples
are
not
normally
distributed.
For
this
reason,
the
nonparametric
Mann-Whitney
two-sample
rank
test
was
used
in
all
com-
parisons.
Also,
this
procedure
allows
a
comparison
between
samples
of
unequal
size.
The
Mann-Whitney
test
gives
a
p
value
for
the
probability
of
the
two
samples
having
an
identical
distribution
of
scores.
The
smaller
the
p,
the
farther
apart
are
the
sample
distributions.
Hence,
the
more
different
they
are
from
each
other
in
regard
to
the
variable
measured.
Results
Table
1
shows
the
mean
overexcitability
scores
of
three
groups:
intellectually
gifted
adults
(A),
gifted
adolescents
(B),
and
graduate
students
(C).
Three
comparisons
are
made:
gifted
versus
nongifted
adults
(A
versus
C),
young
versus
adult
gifted
(A
versus
B),
and
gifted
adolescents
versus
nongifted
adults
(B
versus
C).
The
first
comparison
shows
that
gifted
adults
are
characterized
by
significantly
higher
scores
on
T,
and
E
OEs
than
nongifted
adults.
The
second
comparison
shows
that
the
younger
gifted
group
is
characterized
by
lower
scores
on
S and
T OEs
but
similar
to
the
adult
gifted
on
M
and
E
OEs.
The
third
comparison
combines
the
gifted
versus
nongifted
and
young
versus
adult
tests
of
difference.
The
gifted
adolescents
are
again
lower
than
the
adult
graduate
students
on
S,
leading
to
the
conclusion
that
sensuality
has
more
to
do
with
age
(matur-
ity)
than
with
giftedness.
The
gifted
adolescents,
like
the
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
85
Table
1
Mean
Overexcitability
Scores
of
Intellectually
Gifted
Adults,
Gifted
Adolescents,
and
Graduate
Students
Note.
The
value
of
p,
obtained
by
the
Mann-Whitney
test,
represents
the
probability
of
the
two
samples
having
an
identical
distribution
of
scores.
Table
2
Mean
OE
Scores
of
Intellectually
Gifted
Adults,
Gifted
Adolescents,
and
Graduate
Students
whose
T
OE
Score
Is
5
or
More
Note.
See
note
to
Table
1.
adults
in
the
first
comparison,
are
higher
than
the
graduates
on
T
and E
OEs,
supporting
the
conclusion
that
these
two
OEs
are
characteristic
of
giftedness.
The
gifted
adolescents
are
also
significantly
higher
on
M
OE
lending
support
to
the
significance
of
a
similar
difference
on
M
between
the
gifted
adults
and
graduate
students.
Psychomotor
OE
provided
no
significant
differences
between
these
three
groups.
The
level
of
sensual
OE
appears
to
be
a
function
of
age.
We
are
left
with
T,
E,
and
M
OEs
as
the
significant
variables
distinguishing
a
gifted
from
a
nongifted
sample.
The
graduate
students’
significantly
lower
scores
on
these
three
principal
OEs
are
consistent
with
the
assumption
of
the
graduates’
largely
nongifted
status.
If
the
gifted
adolescents’
lower
S
scores
are
a
function
of
age,
is
their
lower
T
score
also
a
function
of
age?
It
could
be
that
the
lower
mean
score
of
the
younger
group
is
not
a
function
of
age
but
of
a
heterogeneity
in
the
score
distribu-
tion.
Figure
1
shows
that
this
is
so.
The
distribution
of
T
scores
for
gifted
adolescents
is
bimodal.
The
same
is
true
of
the
graduate
group.
The
lower
graduate
group
has
T
scores
from
0
to
3,
the
higher
from
5
on
up.
The
lower
adolescent
group
has
T
scores
from
1
to
4,
the
higher
from
5
on
up.
Ninety
percent
of
the
gifted
adults
(25
out
of
28)
have
T
scores
of
5
or
more.
Eighty-four
percent
of
the
artists
(16
out
of
19)
also
have
a
score
of
5
or
more
(this
is
why
this
group
is
included
here).
We
are
simply
noting
that
a
numerical
cliff
between
the
scores
of
T
=
4
and
T
=
5
occurs
in
four
independent
samples.
When
all
the
samples
are
added
together
(N
=
138)
the
deep
cleft
at
T
=
4
is
clearly
visible
(Figure
2).
The
bimodality
of
the
T
score
distribution
suggests
that
it
might
be
interesting
to
divide
the
adolescents
and
the
grad-
uates
into
two
groups,
one
with
T <
4
and
one
with
T >
5,
and
examine
their
OE
profiles.
We
want
to
know
how
these
subgroups
compare
on
the
remaining
OEs
particularly
M
and
E.
Table
2
shows
that
in
regard
to
the
distribution
of
M
and
E
OE
scores,
the
subgroups
of
gifted
adolescents
and
graduates
selected
on
the
basis
of
To
5
are
indistinguisha-
ble
from
each
other
and
from
the
gifted
adults.
Although
we
have
no
other
supporting
data,
it
is
plausible
that
the
14
graduate
students
so
selected
are
gifted.
When
gifted
adolescents
with
T ~
4
are
compared
with
their
graduate
counterparts
(Table
3),
they
show
signifi-
cantly
higher
mean
scores
on
T,
M,
and
E.
When
the
two
subgroups
of
gifted
adolescents
(B’
and
B&dquo;)
and
the
two
subgroups
of
graduates
(C’
and
C&dquo;)
are
compared
with
each
other.
(Table
4),
it
is
evident
that
the
adolescents’
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
86
Figure
2.
Bimodality
in
the
distribution
of
intellectual
overexcitability
scores
when
the
samples
de-
picted
in Figure
1
are
combined
(N=138).
Dotted
line
represents
the
scores
of
gifted
children,
ages
9,11,
and
13,
from
the
University
for
Youth
in
Denver
(N=41).
mean
scores
on
M
and
E
are
unchanged:
they
retain
their
gifted
profile
on
these
two
dimensions.
The
lower
scoring
graduates,
however,
are
also
significantly
lower
on
E
(p
<
.01).
Whether
the
lower
T
score
of
the
B&dquo;
group
is
the
result
of
a
developmental
lag
or
a
different
selection
procedure
awaits
resolution.
The
consistent
pairing
of
T,
M,
and
E
scores
in
the
higher
scoring
groups
could
be
the
result of
a
high
correlation
between
these
variables
which would
argue
against
the
assumption
of
their
independence.
Table
5
shows
that
the
three
variables
do
not
correlate
highly,
nor
are
they
uniform
in
the pattern
of
correlations
across
groups
examined
here.
This
is
consistent
with
the
assumption
of
theii
independence.
Discussion
Our
results
show
that
both
gifted
adolescents
and
gifted
adults,
as
a
group,
are
characterized
by
two
nonintellective
factors,
imaginational
(M)
and
emotional
(E)
overexcitabili-
ties,
and
by
intellectual
(T)
overexcitability.
Intellectual
overexcitability
occupies
a
special
position.
On
the
one
hand
it
is
related
to
intellective
capabilities;
on
the
other,
as
Table
3
Mean
OE
Scores
of
Gifted
Adolescents
and
Graduate
Students
Whose
T
OE
Score
is
4
or
Less
Note.
See
note
to Table
1.
Table
4
Probabilities
of
The
High
and
Low
T
OE
Groups
Having
an
Identical
Distribution
of
OE
Scores
Note.
PB’B-
compares
the
distribution
of
OE
scores
in
gifted
adolescents
with
a
T
OE
score
of
5
or
more
(B’)
with
that
of
gifted
adolescents
with
a
T
OE
score
of
4
or
less
(B&dquo;).
Analogously,
PC,C-
compares
the
distribution
of
OE
scores
in
the
two
groups
of
graduate
students
(C’
and
C&dquo;).
The
mean
OE
scores
for
the
four
groups
are
shown
in
Table
1.
Table
5
Correlations
Between
Intellectual
(T),
Imaginational
(M),
and
Emotional
(E)
Overexcitabilities
Note.
B’ and
C’ designate
groups
with
a
score
of
T
of
5
or
more,
B&dquo; and
C&dquo;
designate
groups
with
a
score
of
T
of
4
or
less.
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
87
intellectual
fervor
and
a
drive
to
pursue
existential
and
moral
questions,
it
goes
beyond
the
purely
intellective.
The
level
of
these
variables
shows
no
age
trends;
the
younger
group’s
mean
scores
on
E
and
M
OEs
are
equal
to
those
of
the
adults.
In
regard
to
T OE,
a
subsample
in
the
younger
group
is
equal
to
the
adults;
the
subsample
with
lower
T
OE
scores
is,
nevertheless,
significantly
above
a
corresponding
sample
of
graduate
students.
The
bimodality
in
the
distribution
of
T
scores
becomes
plainly
visible
when
the
data
from
all
the
samples
are
pooled
together
as
shown
in
Figure
2.
This
is
further
supported
by
data
on
another
group
of
gifted
children,
age
9-13,
recruited
from
among
the
participants
at
the
University
for
Youth,
a
program
for
gifted
and
talented children
at
the
University
of
Denver
(Piechowski,
Note
3).
The
admission
requirements
of
this
program
are
the
students’
attaining
achievement
test
scores
of
2.0
or
more
grade
levels
higher
than
their
current
placement.
Ninety
percent
of
these
children
(37
out
of
41)
have
T
scores
of
5
or
more.
Added
to
the
four
previous
samples
(dotted
line
in
Figure
2)
they
further
accentuate
the
deep
cleft
at
T
=
4.
This
group,
like
the
gifted
adults,
is
unimodal
in
regard
to
T OE,
and
in
its
profile
of
OE
scores
it
is
also
like
them
and
the
B&dquo;
group
of
the
gifted
Iowa
adoles-
cents
as
well.
In
contrast
to
T,
the
distributions
of
E
and
M
scores
are
not
bimodal,
although
there
is
a
sharp
drop
in
M
scores
between
5
and
6.
One
of
the
unexpected
findings
of
this
study
is
the
con-
stancy
of
the
group
OE
scores across
different
ages.
The
youngest
gifted
groups
(age
9
and
11
in
the
Denver
sample)
have each
the
same
OE
profile
of
T,
M,
and
E
as
the
gifted
adults.
This
constancy
supports
the
idea
of
developmental
potential
as
original
equipment
(Piechowski,
1975).
Studies
of
younger
children
will
be
critical
for
testing
the
validity
of
this
idea;
the
need
for
a
longitudinal
study
starting
at
a
very
young
age
is
evident.
In
individuals,
the
three
variables
are
not
consistently
linked,
although
the
correlation
between
M
and
E
is
always
positive
(Table 5).
The
correlations
between
T
and
M,
and
between
T
and
E
have
no
consistent
pattern
and
can
even
be
negative.
The
individual
scores
of
the
gifted
can
be
as
low
as
1
and
as
high
as
16,
and
perhaps
even
more;
the
lower
scores
overlap
with
the
non-gifted
range.
A
gifted
child
may
be
high
or
low
on
any
of
the
three
overexcitabilities,
T,
M,
or
E,
but
will
not
be
low
on
all
of
them
at
once
and
is
very
likely
to
have
elevated
scores
on
any
two.
This
allows
for
a
great
deal
of
individual
variation.
The
OEs
are
not
like
the
specific
domains
that
Feldman
and Gardner
identified
as
areas
of
competence,
excellence,
and
prodigious
achievement.
Rather,
they
represent
the
kind
of
endowment
that
feeds,
nourishes,
enriches,
em-
powers
and
amplifies
talent.
Without
the
overexcitabili-
ties
a
talent
would
be
no
more
than
a
bare
computa-
tional
device.
Overexcitabilities
are
modes
of
enhanced
mental
func-
tioning ;
they
can
be
thought
of
as
channels
of
information
flow.
They
can
be
widely
open,
narrow,
or
operating
at
a
bare
minimum.
They
certainly
are
wide
open
in
artists.
Artists
are
the
creative
par
excellence.
As
a
group
they
score
higher
than
anybody
else
on
M
and
E
(Piechowski,
Silverman,
Falk,
&
Cunningham,
Note
2).
This suggests
forcibly
that
to
be
truly
creative,
and
creatively
productive,
one
must
have
a
higher
endowment
on
these
two
dimen-
sions.
The
model
presented
here
suggests
also
a
possible
distinction
between
intellectual
and
creative
giftedness.
The
intellectually
gifted
and
the
artists
share
a
higher
than
aver-
age
endowment
on
the
three
principal
OEs.
But
while
both
groups
display
similar
levels
of
intellectual
overexcitability
(though
probably
different
in
content);
the
artists
have,
in
addition,
much
more
of
imaginational
and
emotional
overexcitability.
In
conclusion,
although
the
level
of
each
OE
varies
con-
siderably
across
gifted individuals,
the
OEs
are
consistently
and
reliably
present
in
a
gifted
group
of
any
age
(i.e.,
as
low
as
age
9).
The
OEs
appear
to
be
a
promising
ground
in
which
to
find
those
endowments
and
poten-
tialities
that
make
for
&dquo;the
effective
genius
that
gets
into
the
biographical
dictionaries.&dquo;
Summary
Two
nonintellective
variables,
representing
the
imagina-
tional
(M)
and
the
emotional
(E)
dimensions
of
mental
life,
and
one
broadly
intellective
variable
(T)
have
been
identi-
fied
as
characteristic
of
giftedness.
A
cross-sectional
com-
parison
showed
no
age
trend
when
groups
of
gifted
children
(as
young
as
age
9)
and
adolescents
are
compared
with
gifted
adults.
The
broadly
intellective
variable
T
showed
bimodal
distribution
creating
two
subsamples,
one
with
T
scores
lower
than
5,
and
one
with
T
scores
of
5
or
more.
This
did
not
affect
the
M
and
E
mean
scores
of
the
two
subsamples
of
gifted
adolescents.
The
three
variables,
E,
M,
and
T
are
viewed
here
as
critical
contributors
to
the
creative
power
and
productivity
of
gifted
people.
Reference
Notes
1.
Colangelo,
N.,
Piechowski,
M.
M.,
&
Kelly,
K.
R.
Differentiating
two
types of gifted
learners:
Accelerated
and
enriched.
Presentation
given
at
the
National
Elementary/Middle
School
Guidance
Conference,
Purdue
University,
July,
1982.
2.
Piechowski,
M.
M.,
Silverman,
L.
K.,
Cunningham,
K.,
&
Falk,
R.
F.
A
comparison
of
intellectually
gifted
and
artists
on
five
dimensions
of
mental
functioning.
Paper
presented
at
the
annual
meeting of the
Amer-
ican
Education
Research
Association,
New
York
City,
March,
1982.
3.
Piechowski,
M.
M.
Assessing
overexcitabilities
by
questionnaire
and
interview.
Unpublished
manuscript,
Northwestern
University,
1983.
Footnote
1.
More
recently,
weights
of
1, 2,
and
3
are
given
to
each
single
OE
score
in
order
to
take
into
account
the
degree
of
richness
and
intensity
of
the
response.
Comparison
with
other
samples
which
were
not
scored
this
way
is,
of
necessity, limited
to
the
conservative
procedure
outlined
here.
at National Association for Gifted Children on August 3, 2016gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from
88
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Toward
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American
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Beach,
B.
J.
Lesbian
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nonlesbian
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Iowa
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Bloom,
B.
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examiner’s
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C.
W.
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Scientific
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Its
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Typy
wzmozonej