In this article, we're going to talk about gifted children. It used to be assumed that prodigies achieve almost nothing in adulthood, and all their brilliant data do not "germinate" into anything. However, in the middle of the last century, scientists conducted a large-scale study, the results of which refute this common opinion! It is on the data of this study that we will build.
Who are the prodigies?
They are considered to be children under the age of ten, but at such a young age they already have unique abilities that not every adult has. It can be gifted mathematicians, physicists, chess players or musicians, poets and so on.
As practice shows, one child out of five million is born to a prodigy. On the one hand, many parents want to believe that their child is a genius. However, there are those who are seriously concerned about the child's giftedness, since it is believed that unusual abilities can negatively affect the psyche of such children in the future.
It is worth noting that a high level of IQ does not always guarantee the giftedness of the child. After all, in order to succeed in adulthood, it is necessary to have a number of qualities: determination, perseverance and curiosity.
What happens to brilliant children
About one and a half thousand prodigies took part in the research, and here's what scientists managed to find out: these children are not at all tense, mentally unstable, too serious, pathetic and incapable of anything other than learning. Moreover, many of them do not have any deviations in behavior – children are calm, balanced and obedient.
Also, scientists have found that by the age of 25-30, prodigies grow up to be literate people who have received a good education and earn good money in high positions.
Features of teaching gifted children
Historically, for many centuries, these babies have always been treated with trepidation, with high expectations. But about three hundred years ago, the number of prodigies dropped dramatically. Interestingly, it was at that time that the idea that all people are equal from birth became popular: if not physically, then mentally, for sure. And it wasn't until the beginning of the twentieth century that Dr. Lewis Terman began to conduct various mental tests, the results of which surprised him. Then the scientist, together with his collaborators, developed a test for measuring intelligence, with which it was possible to determine the so-called mental age of the child. And after that, mathematically, you can easily determine the level of his intelligence.
What is the IQ of prodigies?
It is believed that in especially gifted children, the IQ is from 130 points and above, sometimes reaching up to 200. For comparison: the IQ of an average child under 10 years old is from 90 to 110 points, and the weakest children score 70 points or even less.
Before the start of the first large-scale study to identify prodigies, Terman and his team tested 250,000 schoolchildren. Of these, those whose level of intelligence was more than 140 points were selected. There were only 1500 such children, and there were almost 200 more boys than girls.
Today, none of these children have become a modern Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci, but their genius is beyond any doubt.
Portrait of a typical child genius
The study made it possible to outline a general portrait of a typical prodigy and even his family.
- Usually, the parents of such children had at least a secondary education, were narrow specialists in any field (doctors, lawyers and similar professions) and read a lot of books.
- Their gifted children by the age of 5 already knew how to read and often entered school immediately for a class higher, since by that time they knew the school curriculum for 2-3 years ahead.
- Such children read much more than their peers.
- In addition, often prodigies were engaged in sports sections, and many of them collected various items.
- As for the character, the brilliant children were quite emotionally stable, curious and with a well-developed memory. They rarely boasted of their superiority among their peers, but it is obvious that they could not help but notice this superiority.
Features of education of prodigies
Terman advised parents of gifted children to raise their children as standardly as possible, without in any way protruding their abilities. The main thing is to encourage the hobbies of prodigies and give them the opportunity for full-fledged education. And, of course, such children should be given as much as possible to read various literature.
Results of the global study
Decades later, Terman obtained and processed the results achieved by his child prodigies in adulthood.
It turned out that none of the fifteen hundred became stupider, contrary to the expectations of many, on the contrary: children grew up in successful, intelligent, versatile and wealthy young people with a lot of friends. In addition, these young people were perfectly adapted to adult life and often enjoyed respect in their environment. Many of those who participated in the study entered colleges and graduated with honors, but there were also those who dropped out of school and began to earn a living early.
Surprisingly, former prodigies have a lower mortality rate compared to men and women of their age!
High IQ is not a panacea
The scientist's research confirmed the opinion that high intelligence does not guarantee a bright future. It is necessary not to be lazy, to develop and really want to achieve something later.
Although, of course, about 80% of prodigies justified their childhood status as a gifted child: almost every one of them became either the head of a department or an entire enterprise. In the "worst case" - a professional in his field, whom many knew and listened to. Brilliant engineers, chemists, doctors, biologists, lawyers, artists - all these are former prodigies. Many of them wrote and published their articles, monographs and dissertations, made numerous discoveries in their fields.
But some so-called disadvantaged prodigies had problems with the law: they committed thefts, forged documents, engaged in prostitution and even wandered.
For the large-scale study, Lewis Terman received two high awards: he became President of the American Psychological Association and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.