by Hanna Vock


Intelligence is a vital constituent of ability. A very talented dancer needs a certain kind of intelligence in order to build and command her dancer’s repertoire. The same goes for musicians, for talented technicians and certainly for talented scientists, philosophers and pedagogues. They all have to grasp the specifics of their domain ( = the area of their pursuit) on a high level, they have to be able to store and process the relevant data in a meaningful way. This takes intelligence.

With reference to what has been said above high intelligence is only a constituent of giftedness. What then has to be added for us to be speaking of giftedness?

One essential is great intrinsic motivation which combined with high intelligence makes for giftedness. At this point we would like to refer you to the article titled

Giftedness a Definition

> Gifted children dispose of an extraordinary intrinsic motivation. < This means, they feel an inner urge to concern themselves with the area of their giftedness. They do want to apply themselves to that area, they do want to learn, they feel a strong urge to explore it ever anew and to experiment with it. If hindered in this pursuit or if the environment offers too little stimulation, they experience unrest and frustration.

Extraordinary intrinsic motivation means, that a child will – in one or several areas of giftedness – take and keep up activities over surprisingly long spans of time and all upon its own drive, that it will search for new challenges and gladly accept adequate challenges presented to it. <

Only if yet another constituent, namely creativity in thinking and acting, is added to the already combined high intelligence and intrinsic motivation we speak of giftedness. Hence giftedness is:

the psychological disposition for extraordinary, innovative work in one specific domain, a certain broader or narrower field of pursuit.

See also:

Achievement and Giftedness

Provoking creativity

Examples: Original, Exceptional Thoughts

Examples: Self-Determined Learning Strategies

The psychological disposition called giftedness is an innate prerequisite of strongly individual forming, and it will continuously be developed and realised throughout the entire lifetime – to a larger or minor extent:

Favourable and disadvantageous influences imposed by social surroundings as well as experiences of success and failure coin the development of this disposition throughout a lifetime.

Prerequisites for the Evolvement of Giftedness

Under favourable developmental conditions certain features of giftedness (which are refined from this disposition and continue to be enhanced through regular use and practice) will show. Examples of these are:

  • an extraordinarily effective long- and short-time memory related to the field of interest, which allows a reliable storage of information necessary to command and further develop the said field (emanating from intelligence);
  • the ability to question previous insights (emanating from intelligence);
  • an effective focussing of attention, an insistence to occupy oneself primarily with the field of interest (emanates from intrinsic motivation);
  • great persistence and endurance in the pursuit of self-defined learning and working objectives (emanates from intrinsic motivation);
  • great and genuine joy in the occupation with the chosen domain, passion in the pursuit of objectives (emanates from intrinsic motivation);
  • the courage to be innovative and engage in unconventional ideas and concepts (emanates from intelligence and creativity)

Albert Einstein: “You can tell a truly good idea if it seems impossible to realise“

  • the ability to tell the good ideas from the bad ideas whether they be one’s own or somebody else’s (emanates from intelligence and experience);
  • the courage to challenge authority (emanates from intrinsic motivation)

In addition to these there are personality traits which depend on upbringing and success – a positive development provided:

What wonder! All these features can already be observed in gifted pre-school children.

  • positive self-esteem
  • good communication skills
  • sufficient resources to cope with stress und fear.

These personality traits, too, do from the beginning on underlie a lifelong and permanent process of development as well as pedagogic and social influences, and they are amenable to self-guided learning. In the course of life constructive and destructive phases may take turns, and there may also be phases of stagnation and even decline. Any „snap-shot“ in this development displays the current potential of a person.

Vital and fruitful are all processes (and thereby also pedagogic influences) in early childhood.

Date of publication in German: June 13 th, 2008
Translated by Arno Zucknick
Copyright © Hanna Vock 2008, see Imprint

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