Focussing on overexcitabilities: Studies with intellectually gifted and academically talented adults

  • Wirthwein L
  • Rost D
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The concept of "overexcitability" has recently become popular within the field of giftedness and talent research. Some authors argue that overexcitability questionnaires can be used to identify gifted/talented individuals. A sample of intellectually gifted adults (n = 96; mean age: 31.4; SD = 0.3) was compared to a sample of adults of average intelligence (n = 91; mean age: 31.4; SD = 0.4). Additionally, a sample of 123 high achievers (mean age = 30.5; SD = 0.3) was compared to 97 average achievers (mean age: 30.5; SD = 0.3). The "Overexcitability Questionnaire-Two" was used to assess emotional, imaginational, intellectual, psychomotor, and sensual overexcitability. The gifted adults scored statistically significantly higher on "intellectual overexcitability" (d = .42). High and average achievers differed statistically significantly in "intellectual overexcitability" (d = .56) and "sensual overexcitability" (d = .32). For the giftedness sample, the accuracy of group membership prediction (gifted/non-gifted) via discriminant analyses was 60.4%. For the performance sample, the accuracy was 63.4%. The observed differences in the overexcitabilities were small; the risk of misclassification is too big to attempt to identify gifted or high achieving adults solely on the basis of overexcitability scores. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Achievement
  • Adults
  • Giftedness
  • Intelligence
  • Overexcitability

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  • Linda Wirthwein

  • Detlef H. Rost

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