High giftedness and personality
Historically, the aspects of high intelligence and personality have mostly been viewed as two distinct domains of human functioning that are largely separate from each other. However, more recent research over the past few decades seem to suggest that IQ is, to a degree, a personality trait.
In his book, The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence, neuroscientist Colin DeYoung posits that numerous personality traits actually involve cognitive processes and abilities, and that the two aspects of intelligence and personality have largely been viewed as separate things due to IQ testing primarily focusing on ability tests and personality tests primarily focusing on questionnaires.
He then poses the example of how it is theoretically possible to accurately measure personality traits through the use of ability tests, such as using perspective taking as a test for agreeableness, emotional self-regulation tests for neuroticism, and self-control tests for conscientiousness.
In another article, Interpreting IQ Scores, we represented high giftedness as IQ levels above 130. It entails not only how knowledgeable or quick on their feet a person is, but also their creativity and adeptness at finding solutions to practical problems.
Research has shown that about 2.5% of the human population is likely to be highly gifted in this regard, and many of these individuals perform exceedingly well in both school and in their respective careers.
However, it’s also been found that a good portion of these highly gifted individuals tend to perform way below their abilities for various reasons; some simply do not want to stand out, some simply never had the chance to pursue a proper education, and some are simply too bored when put under an orthodox educational route, as it fails to intellectually stimulate or challenge them and results in their lack of motivation to work hard. Many of them, when interviewed, also report to be continuously misunderstood and thus face significant problems in social integration and community involvement
Common Personality Traits Exhibited by the Highly Gifted
These traits are often much easier to spot in children than in adults, due to the fact that they are largely unfiltered in the former. However, the common traits that have been repeatedly cited to be exhibited by highly gifted adults include:
- Quick understanding of abstract concepts, and swiftly responds in conversation due to extraordinary thinking speed and fluency in communication.
- Often curious and intrinsically motivated, with a nuanced thirst for problem-solving and the gratification it brings.
- Tend to be perfectionists that fear failure to a greater degree than neurotypical peers.
- Extremely creative and quick in ideation.
- Can be stubborn and respond aversely to authority.
- Highly sensitive to external stimuli of both positive and negative natures
In a similar vein, common traits that have been cited to be exhibited by highly gifted children include:
- Advanced abilities to process information at rapid speeds and a resultant need for constant mental stimulation.
- Often experience difficulty in concentrating on tasks that are not intellectually challenging, and shows explicit distaste for repetitious material or routine tasks.
- Displays urgent needs and genuine interests in trying to understand the ‘big picture’ of things; always asking ‘why’ and refusing to construct mental models based solely off memorization.
- Shows appreciation for nuance and precision in both thinking and expression; constantly responding to external prompts through expressing that ‘there’s no clear answer’, and that ‘it really depends on…’, and often struggle with multiple choice questions that require definitive decisions without extensive coverage or context.
- Commonly hold both themselves and others to exceptionally high standards that can result in perfectionism or very nuanced views on justice and social interactions.
- Highly gifted children are also likely to have largely divergent interests due to their vivid imagination and need for more stimulating activities or thought projects, thus making it difficult for most of them to connect with peers of the same age group.
To further your discovery on the fringes surrounding the topic of intelligence and IQ, you can read up on Emotional Intelligence and EQ Tests, or on the Importance of a High IQ & How to Raise Yours. Alternatively, you can also click here for a full list of related topics.