Characteristics of Gifted Children
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!
Descriptions of greatness stud the literature of all nations. Accounting for the nature of genius is ever a fascinating theme. Tragedy, poetry, and even history, as "the biography of great men," take men of wide vision and noble daring as their story.
The advent of psychometrics in the present century made possible more objective analysis, recording of comparable data, and description of individuals of superior ability. Prior to the appearance of psychological tests, the characteristics of greatness could be described only "after the fact." After a man (or history) had established his greatness, then recollection, reminiscence, and memory might be employed to reconstruct his life and the details of his personality and abilities. The success of Binet's scales opened a new path -- now ability might, hopefully, be predicted, and longitudinal studies could be planned and executed while young people with high scores were growing up. Reminiscence could be replaced with objective description. The impetus of the intelligence scales contributed also to the development of other measures on new, objective bases.
The most ambitious effort was the large scale research of Lewis M. Terman who directed the Stanford Genetic Studies of Genius identifying and studying one thousand elementary school children with IQ's of 140