Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness


What is the nature of giftedness?

Achievement in different areas, such as mathematics, sports, or music, are partly due to different factors. Thus, different types of giftedness can be differentiated: Whereas intellectual giftedness facilitates exceptional performance in the intellectual domain, athletic giftedness refers to a high potential for athletic achievement and musical giftedness refers to a high potential for achievement in the field of music.

Regardless of the specific type of giftedness, the fact remains that giftedness, as a person’s high achievement-related developmental potential, always encompasses several components. In addition to abilities such as high intelligence in the case of intellectual giftedness, high athleticism in the case of athletic giftedness, or high musicality in the case of musical giftedness, these are primarily personality traits, which contribute to an individual’s own development. This includes, for example, being open to new experiences and ideas or a high level of motivation and a desire to learn. And finally, as potential develops into achievement, the challenges change—which in turn changes the nature of what is considered to be high development potential. An example: Musically gifted children demonstrate a particular appreciation of music, an excellent memory for melodies, and teach themselves the basic principles of playing the piano. The first piano lessons now introduce the requirement of practicing, which additionally calls for perseverance and at times the ability to tolerate frustration. And later, when auditioning for the first time, strong nerves and self-confidence are needed as well.

Giftedness is neither static nor unchangeable. Rather, a person’s giftedness can be described as his or her individual profile of abilities, personality traits, and learned skills that are likely to result in positive achievement development at the present time—and therefore represent a high achievement-related development potential.


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