What Makes Giftedness?
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
What are the causes of mentally gifted child?
A: Although this only a one
line question, a whole essay can be written just on this
question alone! This is a "nature" vs "nurture" question.
As a matter of fact, it has been widely agreed that both
genetics and environment play a role in determining
giftedness, but their relative importance is still being
debated. Some believe that giftedness may be due to some
innate process independent which is independent from the
environmental effects. This means that regardless of where
the child is raised, a gifted child will demonstrate the
gifts at some point. For example, there are accounts of
children with extraordinary gifts that could have an innate
basis, such as the musically gifted. No particular
environment appears to have stimulated the gift.
This is linked to the biological claim such as the brain or
a chromosome that people believe scientists have yet to
find. Psychologically, giftedness is believed to be an gift
that has a genetic origin and is at least partly innate
which may not be clear at an early stage but rather an
inclination that the child may possess the gift.
Studies have indicated that individuals with extremely high
mathematical abilities have frontal lobes of the brain which
are more differentiated compared to average students.
Neuropsychological studies claim that in information
processing, gifted individuals have enhanced brain activity
localized in the right hemisphere. This does show to a
certain extent that the physical characteristics of the
brain may be associated to an innate process in which
certain people obtain high levels of gifts and capabilities
in different areas.
Many studies have proved that demonstrated giftedness is
subjected to biological (nature) and sociological (nurture)
factors. These are again all linked to several other
external factors outside of the child's physiological
makeup. In short, to be considered gifted, a child need to
have the right biological make up (genes, brain structure)
and environment (education, exposure, diet, emotional
security, etc.) to enhance and bring out the gifts.