Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology

pp 480-481


Gifted Education

  • Scott Barry KaufmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Yale University
  • , Michelle L EvansAffiliated withLearning Research Institute, California State University
  • , James C KaufmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Yale University

Giftedness is a characteristic made up of many qualities; it can be innate or socially influenced, qualitative or quantitative. These assertions have been made by different psychologists over the course of a century. While contradictory in nature, these psychologists’ specific cultures and historical eras influenced their work, producing interesting insights into this intriguing topic.

Some of these insights originated from the studies of Francis Galton, who found that people who had an exceptional “Natural Ability” tended to be related to other people with similar exceptional “Natural Abilities.” He concluded that exceptionally gifted families must therefore exist and be a valued commodity. Galton was the first to argue that giftedness is inherited. He believed that he could improve society by creating lists of gifted families who could then intermarry to produce superior children. In modern society eugenics is not an acceptable practice (and, indeed, is considered to be a particularly ...

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