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Assessing Vocational Preferences among Gifted Adolescents Adds Incremental Validity to Abilities: A Discriminant Analysis of Educational Outcomes over a 10-Year Interval

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The researchers used the theory of work adjustment (R. V. Dawis & L. H. Lofquist, 1984; L. H. Lofquist & R. V. Dawis, 1991) and C. P. Snow's (1959) conceptualization of two cultures as theoretical frameworks to analyze the incremental validity of above-level preference assessment (relative to abilities) in predicting humanities, math-science, and other college majors completed 10 years later by intellectually gifted adolescents. Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Study of Values assessments of 432 intellectually gifted adolescents (age 13) provided unique and valuable information for predicting the type of college major completed 10 years after initial assessment. These positive findings add to growing support for the applied utility of teaming preference assessments among the gifted with above-level assessments of ability. For intellectually gifted adolescents, these assessments could facilitate educational planning (and counseling). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
... However, most studies on abilities and interests have used a "siloed" approach (Kanfer et al. 2010), in which these variables were investigated separately. Studies that have integrated interests and abilities have made important theoretical contributions to understanding how different types of interests relate to different abilities (Achter et al. 1999;Ackerman 1997;Johnson and Bouchard 2009), as well as their role in acquiring knowledge (Ackerman et al. 2001;Rolfhus and Ackerman 1999). Yet, the existing research has only examined knowledge acquisition using variable-centered approaches, which do not consider the within-person profiles of abilities and interests that influence it. ...
... Integrative models of individual differences, such as PPIK (Ackerman 1996) and Schmidt's (2014) theoretical model, have established frameworks for how these traits relate to one another developmentally, leading to the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Other studies have analyzed interests and abilities in relation to outcomes such as school subject preferences (Lavrijsen et al. 2021), college major (Achter et al. 1999), occupational choice (Austin and Hanisch 1990), and professional eminence (Bernstein et al. 2019). Meta-analyses have also provided evidence for the correlations between these variables (Ackerman 1997;Pässler et al. 2015). ...
... The current study identified eight major interest-ability profiles and investigated the extent to which these profiles explained knowledge scores in a wide range of academic areas. Our integration of interests and abilities is notable because only a few studies have jointly analyzed interests and abilities (Achter et al. 1999;Ackerman and Heggestad 1997;Johnson and Bouchard 2009), and no studies that we are aware of have used a person-centered approach to investigate interests and abilities in relation to knowledge. Our findings contribute to integrative models of individual differences and extend previous studies on trait complexes using variable-centered approaches (Ackerman et al. 2001(Ackerman et al. , 2013. ...
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Cognitive abilities and interests both play an important role in guiding knowledge acquisition, but most previous studies have examined them separately. The current study used a large and representative dataset to integrate interests and abilities using a person-centered approach that examines how distinct profiles of interests and abilities relate to individual strengths and weaknesses in knowledge. Two key findings emerged. First, eight interest–ability profiles were generated from Latent Profile Analysis (LPA), which replicated and extended the interrelations of interests and abilities found in previous studies using variable-centered approaches. Second, each profile’s strongest knowledge scores corresponded to their strongest abilities and interests, highlighting the importance of interest–ability profiles for guiding the development of knowledge. Importantly, in some domains, the lower ability profiles were actually more knowledgeable than higher ability profiles. Overall, these findings suggest that people learn best when given opportunities to acquire knowledge relevant to both their interests and abilities. We discuss how interest–ability profiles inform integrative theories of psychological development and present implications for education and career development.
... A series of longitudinal studies from SMPY has also illustrated the role that broader aptitude complexes can play as developmental markers for eventual STEM achievement and creative pursuits (Achter et al., 1999;Wai et al., 2005;Bernstein et al., 2019). The most recent study by Bernstein et al. (2019) showed how developed math/scientific and verbal/humanistic aptitude and preference constellations in talented students identified at age 13 (Achter et al., 1999) were associated with educational outcomes at age 23 (Wai et al., 2005) and illustrated that by age 35 these constellations continued to be associated with different forms of eminence. ...
... A series of longitudinal studies from SMPY has also illustrated the role that broader aptitude complexes can play as developmental markers for eventual STEM achievement and creative pursuits (Achter et al., 1999;Wai et al., 2005;Bernstein et al., 2019). The most recent study by Bernstein et al. (2019) showed how developed math/scientific and verbal/humanistic aptitude and preference constellations in talented students identified at age 13 (Achter et al., 1999) were associated with educational outcomes at age 23 (Wai et al., 2005) and illustrated that by age 35 these constellations continued to be associated with different forms of eminence. In particular, the math/scientific constellation predicted outcomes by age 35 in STEM areas, including attaining professorships, grants, patents, and being an executive of a STEM Fortune 500 company. ...
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Understanding how individual and contextual factors collectively contribute to the developmental histories that facilitate the emergence of creative expertise in science is improved by considering the contribution of the broad structure of developed cognitive abilities to creativity, prospective research on the high achieving or gifted students who may choose careers in and end up as creative scientists later in life, as well as retrospective studies of established creative scientists themselves and what their educational histories reveal. We first review and elaborate on these connections as documented in research which explore the development of talent, including cognitive mechanisms that include math and spatial reasoning and science related educational opportunities. We propose a research thought experiment that utilizes the multi-trait, multi-method matrix, and bifactor modeling to help understand the true overlap between measurement structures of cognitive and creative aptitudes. Then we explore the social and cultural contexts that may facilitate and/or hinder creative solutions in science through the lens of how these ecosystems influence talent development for gifted students and also the production of elite scientists. Based on this review, some policies will be suggested that may enhance the development of scientific creativity and broader societal innovation and expand the pipeline to include and fully develop the talents of disadvantaged students and provide nurturing environments to improve the likelihood of the emergence of scientific creative expertise.
... Accordingly, profile differentiation tends to occur early in life and remain relatively stable into adulthood (Stoll, Rieger, Nagengast, Trautwein, & Rounds, 2021). Lubinski, Benbow and colleagues have in seminal longitudinal studies of precocious youth shown that cognitive abilities and preferences measured at age 13 predict educational outcomes at age 23, occupational outcomes at age 33, as well as creativity and eminence at age 50 (Achter, Lubinski, Benbow, & Eftekhari-Sanjani, 1999;Bernstein, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2019;Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2005). Moreover, these studies also clearly illustrate what was alluded to above, namely that different forms of expertise can be systematically associated with specific combinations of traits or 'trait complexes' (Ackerman & Heggestad, 1997). ...
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Previous research shows that individuals choose careers based on the relative strengths of various traits. More debated however, is how specific combinations of traits predict individual differences in professional achievements. General intelligence is often proposed to be the best predictor of eminence, but some studies suggest that more specific traits can be relatively important when performance depends on specific skills and expertise. Here we identified a comprehensive set of variables relevant for music achievement (intelligence, auditory ability, absolute pitch, Big-five personality traits, psychosis proneness, music flow proneness, childhood environment and music practice), and tested how they predicted level of musicianship (non-musicians vs. amateur musicians vs. professional musicians) and number of achievements among professional musicians. We used web survey data from a total of 2150 individuals, and generalized additive models that can also reveal non-linear relationships. The results largely confirmed our three main hypotheses: (i) non-musicians, amateur musicians, and professional musicians are best differentiated by domain specific abilities, personality traits, and childhood factors; (ii) largely the same significant predictors are also associated with the number of creative achievements within professional musicians; (iii) individuals who reach a professional level in two domains (here science and music) possess the union of the relevant traits of both domains. In addition, many of the associations between predictors and achievement were non-linear. This study confirms that in music, and potentially in other occupational fields where performance relies on specific competences, domain relevant characteristics may be better predictors of engagement and creative achievement than broad traits.
... The SMPY found a significant relationship between mathematics scores in state sanctioned compulsory achievement testing and subsequent academic success. This included proportions of individuals obtaining bachelors and doctoral level distinctions (90% and 25% respectively), as well as vocational successes and rank, especially when the subject demonstrated a particular interest in math or the sciences (Achter, Lubinski, Benbow, & Eftekhari-Sanjani, 1999). Lending further support to this relationship are findings from Lakin and Lohman (2011) that highlight a significant relationship between both verbal and quantitative reasoning measures on achievement tests and subsequent success in academic endeavors. ...
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Abstract The body of sport-science literature on talent identification (TI) suggests it to be a multi-factoral process aimed at targeting athletes with the potential for success in sport. The aim of this study is to provide a detailed examination of Athletics Canada’s (AC) Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) policy, and the degree to which they incorporate TI literature into their practices. The second aspect of this study will give a detailed appraisal of AC’s adherence to their own policy, and if they in fact, follow their own policy mandates in practice. This study is impactful, as it has the potential to create policy reform with respect to the manner in which AC carries out their funding practices, and the overall effectiveness of their athlete targeting practices.
... Trait-complexes have been applied to gifted students in order to understand the relationship of constellations of preferences to adult achievement in students. Achter, Lubinski, Benbow, and Eftekhari-Sanjani (1999) showed that psychometric assessments of abilities and preferences each add value to the prediction of achievement ten years later. Wai, Lubinski, and Benbow (2005) used the math/scientific and verbal/humanistic constellations of abilities and preferences to predict contrasting occupational outcomes after 20 years. ...
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Trait complexes of cognitive ability, personality, and privilege can be used to conceptualize potential future roles of gifted adolescent students. The Counseling Laboratory for the Exploration of Optimal States (CLEOS) uses ACT scores; Big Five personality factors; and intersectional measures of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status used to assess distance from privilege. Combinations of these characteristics can be organized into a “Beehive,” in which professional workers (Worker Bees), nurturing and healing professions (Honeybees), business and political leaders (Strivers), scholars (Foragers), innovators (Drones), and visionaries (Queens) are represented. Combinations of ability and personality suggest the domain of work that may be appropriate and the training needed, while the addition of intersectional privilege suggests the social, cultural, and financial capital that are necessary for the attainment of the highest status within each domain.
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The Marland Report included many correct observations about gifted education. Some findings, for example, were based on Project Talent, a large‐scale population representative longitudinal study of the US high school population. This paper uses the intersection of cognitive aptitudes and gifted education as a framework and synthesizes studies using prospective longitudinal data from numerous sources. Additional retrospective data on US high achievers are reviewed, as are longitudinal findings from other countries. All these sources will be used to reevaluate a selected set of claims made in the Marland Report. Specifically, we explore (a) the definition and understanding of gifted students; (b) the identification of and longitudinal research on gifted students; and (c) we briefly discuss the context of the Marland Report in the wider history of education policy and reform in the US, including how to best support talented students using information from the field of education policy.
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Psychologists who chose the counseling specialty in its early days are concerned about a change of focus that seems to be occurring today. Originally, counseling psychology was concerned with helping individuals to understand themselves, make important choices, and plan their lives. It is now closer to clinical psychology and helps individuals to recover from mental illnesses, change unsatisfactory habit patterns, or solve personal problems. The loss of the separate identity of counseling psychology leaves some important human needs unmet. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)