European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 401–411 | Cite as

Mental attention in gifted and nongifted children

  • Jose I. Navarro
  • Pedro Ramiro
  • Jose M. Lopez
  • Manuel Aguilar
  • Manuel Acosta
  • Juan Montero


The relationship between the construct of mental attention and “giftedness” is not well established. Gifted individuals could make effective use of their executive functions and this could be related to their mental attentional capacity. The dialectic constructivist model developed by Pascual-Leone introduced the concept of mental attention or “effort”, relating it to mental capacity. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the measurement of mental capacity (M-measurement) is differential for a group of children with high IQs. 110 students between 4 and 18 years old participated in this study. Some were Gifted (n=70) and others Non-Gifted (n=40). Wechsler-R Scale and the Figural Intersection Test were administered to all participants. An interesting pattern was found in the younger groups. The gifted scored higher than the non-gifted in the Figural Intersection Test and much higher than their theoretical M. The non-gifted scored quite close to their theoretical M (based on age). In the oldest group, the gifted again achieved higher scores, but now they scored at the theoretical level, and the non-gifted underperformed.

Key words

Figural intersection test Gifted children M-measurement Mental attention 


La relation entre le concept de l’attention mentale et l’intelligence supérieure n’est pas très bien établi. Les personnes ayant des capacités élevées pourraient faire une utilisation très habile de leurs fonctions exécutives et ceci peut être en rapport avec la capacité d’attention mentale. Ce concept est dénommé: le modèle constructiviste dialectique développé par Pascual-Leone, celui-ci a introduit le concept d’attention mentale rattaché à la capacité mentale. L’objectif de ce travail est d’étudier si la mesure de la capacité mentale (M) est différente pour un groupe de graçons et filles qui présentent une haute ponctuation en intelligence psychométrique. Dans cette étude ont participé 110 élèves de 4 à 18 ans. Certains enfants étaient surdoués (n=70) et d’autres non (n=40). L’échelle Wechsler-R et il Figural Intersection Test a été administrée à tous les participants. Les résultats trouvés montrent que les participants plus jeunes, ont obtenu de meilleurs résultats avec le FIT. De même, les enfants de capacité élevée ont une ponctuation M supérieure à ce que l’on pourrait espérer pour leur âge.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose I. Navarro
    • 2
  • Pedro Ramiro
    • 3
  • Jose M. Lopez
    • 5
  • Manuel Aguilar
    • 4
  • Manuel Acosta
    • 1
  • Juan Montero
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CadizSpain
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CadizPuerto Real-CadizSpain
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Facultad Ciencias de la EducaciónUniversity of Cadiz SpainCadizSpain
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, Facultad Ciencias de la EducaciónUniversity of Huelva, SpainHuelvaSpain
  5. 5.School CounselorPublic SchoolSan Roque-CadizSpain

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