Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Gifted Children - The latest report on Terman studies

As i promised today i will try to resume and check what i think is the most important part of the life cycle studies of Terman, and i will provide a link in the end to the full report on PDF, if you want to read it.

Noted ideas and concept in the report:
- Using different intelligence tests, mostly based on Stanford-Binet, 661 gifted boys and girls were found, all of them with IQ of 140 or more. In all, the final number of subjects amounted to 1,528.
- In 1927, when the average age of the group was 17, the first follow up survey was published under the title The Promise of Youth.
- The general idea was in that time that a gifted child will revert to average at maturity or decline and sicken and eventually die. Quote from Terman studies: "With few exceptions the superior child becomes the superior adult, superior in nearly every respect to the generality, though, as in childhood, the degree of the superiority differs in different areas." This was a very brave idea, one that still needed support  even 60 years later.
- The question which naturally interests us most, however, is to what extent is the promise of childhood fulfilled by the achievements of later life? As a general rule, it would seem, the intelligent
child develops into the intelligent adult. As we might expect from the mode of selection, "the
superiority of the gifted group is greatest in intellectual ability, scholastic accomplishment,
and vocational success." Tests applied in 1927, 1939, and 1950-52 show that at every stage their
mental superiority is astonishingly well sustained. "The majority of the subjects remained close to
the 99th percentile of the generality; and this was true even of those whose careers were not
particularly notable." Indeed, judged by the test mainly employed in the follow-up surveys (a test
of "concept mastery") "not only do the mentally superior hold their own, they actually increase in
intellectual stature." Here i want to say that probably because this is based mostly on IQ, they tend to have better intellectual achievements, and this study is not relevant for gifts in other area (arts, gymnastics, sport, dance, mechanics etc.)
- Talking about college and graduation, the proportion of success is ten times as high as that which would hold for a random group of the same age. None of the gifted individuals are in the lowest occupational categories, though these categories account for about 13 per cent of the general urban population.
- Additional evidence of the surprisingly high achievement attained by men only is furnished by their publications and patents. These include nearly 2,000 scientific and technical articles, some sixty books or monographs on science, art, literature, or the humanities (including textbooks translated into
several languages), thirty-three novels, and 700 plays, short stories, essays, and miscellaneous
articles, not to mention thousands of journalistic contributions and scripts for film, radio, or television. The number of technical patents runs to at least 230.
- Out of the 1,500 cases, however, there were eighty or ninety whose apparent progress fell short of expectation. Since their intelligence, as assessed by tests, differs little from that of the rest of the group, it is evident that outstanding accomplishments call for something else besides sheer innate ability. A comparison between the most successful and the least successful suggests that health, emotional stability, ambition, and will to work are equally indispensable. This does not affect the main inference to be drawn from all these investigations-namely, the value of intelligence testing, even in its present imperfect form, for the purpose of predicting future accomplishment. Here anyway could be another matter, as i meet some very gifted people when i was doing my personal research for "The ones that got away" a study about geniuses that prefer a normal life in anonymity and choose family instead of career. Nothing to blame here, and to understand this, check the case on Kim Ung-yong (IQ-210)
- They were noticed to do what is called assortative mating,a strong tendency for gifted men and women to marry persons who, like themselves, are above average in general intelligence. Their children had an average IQ of 133.
- The total expense of this studies has been approximately a quarter of a million dollars.

The books about this subject are fascinating, bringing the genius and geniality in a new light, changing our pre-conceptions and giving us ideas for the new generations. Is a study like no other, still on going, and i had the occasion to have a conversation with one of the original members of Terman group this year in a online forum.

The link for the full text here

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