Neuropsychological Characteristics of Academic and Creative Giftedness

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Abstract

Evidence for interpretable neural correlates of giftedness comes from two main lines of enquiry. First, studies comparing the neural functioning of gifted children with age-matched peers not identified as gifted consistently report that gifted subjects display enhanced frontal cortical activation and inter-hemispheric functional connectivity. Second, studies which compare the neural function and structure of high-IQ adults with those of average IQ consistently report that high-IQ subjects display relatively enhanced inferior lateral prefrontal cortical (PFC) activations, together with relatively enhanced activations in a network of other cortical regions including the inferior parietal cortex. The salience of PFC activations is supported by neuroanatomical studies in which the grey matter densities of high-IQ subjects in frontal regions are significantly higher than average. These data can account for enhanced executive capability as one important neuropsychological characteristic of gifted people and a more efficacious working memory as another.