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Characteristics of Giftedness


General Intellectual Ability


  • Has an extensive and detailed memory, particularly in an area of interest
  • Has vocabulary advanced for age—precocious language
  • Has communication skills advanced for age and is able to express ideas and feelings
  • Asks intelligent questions
  • Is able to identify the important characteristics of new concepts, problems
  • Learns information quickly
  • Uses logic in arriving at common sense answers
  • Has a broad base of knowledge—a large quantity of information
  • Understands abstract ideas and complex concepts
  • Uses analogical thinking, problem solving, or reasoning
  • Observes relationships and sees connections
  • Finds and solves difficult and unusual problems
  • Understands principles, forms generalizations, and uses them in new situations
  • Wants to learn and is curious
  • Works conscientiously and has a high degree of concentration in areas of interest
  • Understands and uses various symbol systems
  • Is reflective about learning

 

Specific academic aptitude:  Math/Science


  • Is interested in numerical analysis
  • Has a good memory for storing main features of problem and solutions
  • Appreciates parsimony, simplicity, or economy in solutions
  • Reasons effectively and efficiently
  • Solves problems intuitively using insight
  • Can reverse steps in the mental process
  • Organizes data and experiments to discover patterns or relationships
  • Improvises with science equipment and math methods
  • Is flexible in solving problems

 

Specific academic aptitude:  Social Studies/Language Arts


  • Enjoys language/verbal communication, communication skills
  • Engages in intellectual play, enjoys puns, good sense of humor
  • Organizes ideas and sequences in preparation for speaking and writing
  • Suspends judgment, entertains alternative points of view
  • Is original and creative—has unique ideas in writing or speaking
  • Is sensitive to social, ethical, and moral issues
  • Is interested in theories of causation
  • Likes independent study and research in areas of interest
  • Uses these qualities in writing: paradox, parallel structure, rhythm, visual imagery, melodic combinations, reverse structure, unusual adjectives/adverbs, sense of humor, philosophical bent

 

Creativity

  • Has in-depth foundational knowledge
  • Prefers complexity and open-endedness
  • Contributes new concepts, methods, products, or performances
  • Has extreme fluency of thoughts and a large number of ideas
  • Is observant and pays attention to detail
  • Uses unique solutions to problems, improvises
  • Challenges existing ideas and products
  • Connects disparate ideas
  • Is constantly asking questions
  • Criticizes constructively
  • Is a risk taker, confident
  • Is attracted to the novel, complex, and mysterious
  • Is a nonconformist, uninhibited in expression, adventurous, able to resist group pressure
  • Accepts disorder
  • Tolerates ambiguity; delays closure
  • Is persistent and task committed in area of interest
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Is intellectually playful
  • Is aware of own creativity
  • Is emotionally sensitive; sensitive to beauty
  • Is intuitive
  • Enjoys alone time
  • Is reflective about personal creative process

 

Leadership


  • Is well-organized
  • Can do backward planning
  • Is visionary, has a holistic view
  • Is a problem finder
  • Is able to see problems from multiple perspectives
  • Is adaptable to new situations
  • Can manipulate systems
  • Is highly responsible; can be counted on
  • Maintains on-task focus
  • Is self-confident
  • Is a persuasive communicator
  • Has a cooperative attitude; works well in groups
  • Participates in most social activities, enjoys being around other people
  • Influences the behavior of others; recognized as a leader by peers
  • Is respected, liked, or both by others
  • Is aware of verbal and nonverbal cues; sophisticated interpersonal skills
  • Is emotionally stable
  • Is willing to take risks

 

Music


  • Discriminates fine differences in tone, relative, or absolute pitch
  • Identifies a variety of sounds (background noise, singers, orchestral instruments)
  • Varies loudness and softness
  • Remembers melodies and can produce them accurately
  • Plays an instrument or indicates a strong desire
  • Is sensitive to rhythm, changes body movements to tempo
  • Dances to tunes with different rhythms
  • Can complete a melody
  • Creates own melodies
  • Likes listening to music
  • Likes producing music with others

 

Art


  • Scribbles earlier than most
  • Initiates drawing
  • Incorporates large number of elements into artwork
  • Provides balance and order in artwork
  • Elaborates on ideas from other people as a starting point
  • Observes details in environment, artistic area
  • Has unique, unusual solutions to artistic problems
  • Uses unusual and interesting visual imagery
  • Is innovative in selecting and using art materials
  • Has a highly developed sense of movement and rhythm in drawings
  • Has a great feel for color
  • Varies organization of elements to suit different situations
  • Uses content that is interesting, tells a story, or expresses feelings
  • Produces many drawings

 

SOURCES:  General Intellectual-Clark, 1997; Colangelo & Davis, 1991; Coleman & Cross, 2001; Davis & Rimm, 1994; Gilliam, Carpenter, & Christensen, 1996; Khatena, 1992; Piirto, 1999; Renzulli et al., 2002; Rogers, 2001; Sternberg & Davidson, 1986; Swassing, 1985; Tannenbaum, 1983; Specific Academic-Feldhusen, Hoover, & Sayler, 1990; Gilliam et al., 1996; Piirto, 1999; Rogers, 2001; Tannenbaum, 1983; Creativity-Clark, 1997; Coleman & Cross, 2001; Gardner, 1993; Gilliam et al., 1996; Goertzel & Goertzel, 1962; Gruber, 1982; Guilford, 1950; Khatena, 1992; Perkins, 1981; Piirto, 1999; Renzulli et al., 2002; Sternberg, 1988; Tannenbaum, 1983; Torrance, 1974; Leadership-Davis & Rimm, 1994; Karnes, 1991; Khatena, 1992; Renzulli et al., 1976; Music/Art-Clark & Zimmerman, 1984; Gilliam et al., 1996; Piirto, 1999; Renzulli, Smith, White, Callahan, & Hartman, 1976; Khatena, 1988; 1992; Seashore, Leavis, & Saetveit, 1960