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Common and domain-specific cognitive characteristics of gifted students : a hierarchical structural model of human abilities Song, Kwang-Han

Abstract

The present study identified common and domain-specific characteristics of gifted students through a hierarchical structural model of human abilities that was established through integrating major models of human abilities by a conceptual analysis based on interrelationships between abilities. The proposed common and domain-specific abilities in the major models were identified, compared and evaluated in terms of definitions or functions, and finally connected by interrelationships found between the abilities. The conceptual analysis resulted in a hierarchical structural model of human abilities, which shows two levels of common and domain-specific abilities: activation level and performance level. For the common abilities, there is an ability to find relationships between stimuli on the activation level, an ability to execute cognitive processes, and an ability to reason or process information (or stimuli). The domain-specific abilities consist of three abilities on the activation level and seven abilities on the performance level. The common and domain-specific abilities and observable characteristics of gifted students were conceptually analyzed in terms of interrelationships, and finally common and domain-specific characteristics of gifted students were identified and structured into a hierarchical model of the characteristics of gifted students. The model shows that unusual curiosity (on the activation level), creativity, intensity, comprehension (or learning or understanding), and retentiveness (on the performance level) belong to the common characteristics of gifted students; for the domain-specific characteristics, there are practical-, social-, and ideal-relevant characteristics on the activation level and language-, number-, space-, visual-, auditory-, taste and olfactory-, and tactile-relevant characteristics on the performance level. The implications in theory in terms of the concepts of "intelligence" (i.e., general intelligence or multiple intelligences), "IQ testing" and "rationalistic or empiricist perspective" (i.e., genetic or environmental), and in practice regarding identification of gifted students are described. Research directions for further studies follow.

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