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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Differences in perceptual abilities in gifted and non-gifted children as measured by the Macgregor perceptual index Collier, Robyn Maree


Until about 1970, little was published on research pertaining to the influence of perceptual acuity in relation to gifted children. This study was undertaken to provide empirical data that might lead to a better understanding of such a relationship, to review research performed in the fields of both perception and giftedness, and to assess the usefulness of a non-verbal instrument for elementary teachers of art in diagnosing giftedness at a perceptual level. The study was designed to determine, by means of a perceptual index test, whether or not gifted children who display above average intellectual skills, also exhibit above average perceptual skills. The MacGregor Perceptual Index (MPI) was administered to a group of twenty-four gifted and twenty-six non-gifted children between the ages of ten and twelve years. Categories included:- perception of distance, perception of embedded figures, perception of shape, perception of similarities and differences, perception of the vertical, perception modified by constancy, and perception of contour. The investigation revealed similarities and differences among children of specific intellectual capacity and ages in how they perceive and interpret visual stimuli. It was found that children with above average intellectual ability performed at a higher level on the Perceptual Index test than did subjects drawn from an average group. The findings in this study led to recommendations for further investigation. The MPI, a non-verbal perceptual test, was judged to be a reliable instrument for diagnosing gifted children. In the synopsis of factors revealed in this study, it was concluded that there is a statistically significant relationship between perceptual ability and intellectual ability. The results of the study imply that training in perceptual problem-solving skills may generally enhance a child's intelligence level, and thus should be considered as part of the school curriculum.

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