Developmental and Neurocognitive Gifted Children



Since the nineteenth century, children with “high potential”, called “gifted” as different authors have interested Lombroso in terms of engineering reports and madness and Galton in terms of differential psychology.

In 1909, Alfred Binet, the inventor of the concept of mental age, had noticed “too smart” students who did not take advantage of education.

Developmental and Neurocognitive Gifted ChildrenSo in the twentieth century, various psychiatrists and psychologists were interested particularly in these gifted children, including Lewis Madison Terman who conducted a longitudinal study of 35 years, began in 1922. He studied 1528 subjects (671 girls and 857 boys) whose intelligence quotient (IQ) sample average was 150 (IQ 135-200) with an average age of 11 at the start of the study. He was able to identify characteristics common to these subjects.The objective was to define better knowledge of this population from the perspective of educational measures. Since that time, the identification of children with “high potential” opens different research fields around the superior intelligence.

However, few studies take into account the neuropsychomoteur development, more numerous studies trying to understand the cognitive functioning of these children at school age. More recently, research in developmental neuropsychology which reflect brain activations involved in intellectual tasks open an interesting field.


Different terms are used to raise the child “gifted” which is translated by the Anglo-Saxons as “gifted”, “gifted children”, “gifted children”, “gifted children”, “high potential”, “to high intellectual potential, “talented children, prodigies and geniuses.

All these terms are not necessarily synonymous and involve connotations and different theoretical conceptions.

Indeed, “early”, which also requires a developmental dating from the beginning of life, provided that concept to the child by excluding consideration in adults. As for the terms “high potential”, or “high intellectual potential” and “intellectually precocious”, they emphasize that the intellectual sector at the expense of other tangible, praxis and affective functions. The term “gifted” gives the image of one who has all the answers to “superman” or “superman” which is no chance to have any mistakes or not to succeed, much less be the bearer of learning difficulties. The term “gifted” can also refer to some pretty dangerous ideology and create controversy or passions. Therefore, we prefer to use the term children at “high potential”. Indeed, the child is provided with natural abilities, they are not related to learning or education and they clearly differentiate the child to “high potential”, on quantity and quality of the average children of the same age. Thus, the potential return to power in a variety of provisions likely to receive under certain conditions exercises and motivations, impulses for their developments.

Identification of children at “high potentials”:

Intelligence quotient:

While various approaches are used to identify intellectual precocity indices (parent comments on the development and behavior of their child, school performance, teacher observation …), the only widely accepted tool to define this group of children is the quotient intellectual (IQ) determined from tests of batteries such as WPPSI (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale Intelligence School) or WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children).

No other objective criteria is used broadly enough to serve as reference. A child is considered to belong to the people “gifted” if his IQ was found unusually high at the end of a rigorous evaluation conducted by a clinical psychologist.

The first intelligence tests were developed in 1905 by two French psychologists, Binet and Simon, with the creation of the first “metric scale of intelligence.”

This scale was adapted in 1916 by Terman, Californian psychologist to whom we owe, in 1922, the largest longitudinal study of gifted children. In 1911 Stern, a German psychologist, introduced the concept of IQ is the ratio of mental age over chronological age multiplied by 100. But for the child there is the problem of mental age; thus in 1930, Wechsler, an American psychologist, has used a methodology and statistical standards to classify the results of an individual not by mental age but at one rank compared to results general population of the same age; he created and the standard IQ (mean = 100, SD = 15) for different WPPSI tests, WISC, WAIS (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults).

These scales were recently updated in France with WPPSI-III (2 years 6 months to 7 years 3 months) in 2004, the WISC-IV (6 years to 16 years 11 months) in 2005 and the WAIS-III (16 years to 99 years) in 2000. the ranking by the “IQ” is, in France, the only scale accepted by all partners (medical, paramedics, psychologists, teachers); Opinions are more divided to set the threshold beyond which it will be possible to speak of “early” or “gifted” the level considered to establish this threshold varies depending on your point of view, 120 to 140, or even beyond. It is, for example, set at 135 by Terman (International Encyclopaedia of Education, p. 2492), 120 in some US states (cf. Encyclopaedia Britannica) or 125 by psychologist Jean-Charles Terrassier (1991/1999 ), founder of the ANPEIP (national Association for gifted children). According Ajuriaguerra, called child “gifted” one who has superior abilities that far exceed the average child his age capacity; is “gifted” one that gets a higher IQ 140 (quantitative concepts) that this exceptional personality traits qualitatively (creative talent in one or more areas). Obviously depending on the level considered, the reference population is not at all the same.

According to the recent report of Delaubier, at the request of the French Ministry of National Education, if we adopt the threshold of 120, taking into account a large number of students (one or two per class). Beyond 145 (0.13% of the population with about 1 child in 1,000), it is truly of exceptional subjects, too few to constitute a “group” likely a statistical description or terms of common schooling. The threshold of 130 (which would represent around 2.28% of the population, or 1 child spotted about 40) is the most widely accepted benchmark for considering a child is gifted. On this basis, according to the report Delaubier, we can estimate the numbers involved about 200 000 pupils between 6 and 16 years, a period of compulsory education.

However, measurement of intelligence alone can fully serve to predict later social or intellectual achievement, or the development of a creative work.


Sternberg proposed a triangular theory of intelligence of the child “gifted” defined by three aspects of intelligence: analytical intelligence (as measured by IQ), practical intelligence (capture implicit rules in relation to a situation ) and creative intelligence (make original productions).

Thus, the limitation of the term “gifted” children who receive a rating determined by IQ seems very arbitrary and reductive.

In addition to the use of a battery of Wechsler intelligence tests, factor more targeted testing “g” are used to eliminate the cultural register, such as testing the Raven Progressive Matrices, testing Antsey dominoes.

Some definitions of intellectual precocity, such as the report Marland United States, highlight the skills that reflect traits that can be isolated or associated, such as general intellectual ability, the ability to control, psychomotor ability , etc.According to the report, gifted and talented children are those recognized by persons professionally qualified, and by virtue of outstanding abilities, capable of great performance.

While conventional tests such as the Wechsler (Wisc example III) only measure three types of intelligence: linguistic, spatial, logical-mathematical, Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences describes seven types of intelligences independent of each other: linguistic, logical-mathematical, visuospatial, musical, somatokinesthésique, interindividual, introspective. However, this modular approach stems from studies of brain-damaged patients. In addition, it has developed unquantifiable way the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ). QE is the consideration of the emotional and affective life of the individual through specific tests.

Although the methodology used by Gardner to criticism, his approach is quite recent and encourages not to isolate the only IQ but to confront him far more tests addressing the psycho sphere. Thus, systematic further investigations should include personality tests and, depending on the difficulty some subtests, finer neuropsychological evaluations.Indeed, the deficits of certain functions may cause the individual to over-invest the free functions overcompensation or by overstimulation.

Another dimension appears in the scientific literature on the precocity and talent is creativity with some tests that exist.This creativity can be defined as the ability to create original productions and adapted to the constraints of a situation, task or problem.

Within-individual and complementary evaluations:

Besides intelligence and performance tests commonly used to identify children with “high potential”, maintenance and questionnaires are often used but have been only empirically validated in France, so that there is the United States of standardized scales including one of the best known is the SRBCS (Scale for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students).

It has often been observed in intra-individual research on children to “high potentials” from the scores on Wechsler scales, differences in verbal IQ (VIQ) and performance IQ (PIQ) (12 points ), without that statistical significance with an interindividual variability that is found through various studies where QIV can be significantly higher than the QIP or vice versa. Vaivre-Douret questions the heterogeneity between VIQ and QIP, which according to her, should not be regarded as a characteristic of these children. Indeed, the significant difference in favor of QIV is especially marked by high verbal performance (faster saturated) of these children when they are in difficulty on the performance tests. At an average child, the difference is less marked between VIQ and PIQ in case of difficulty to scale performance as the QIV does not reach a score as high as that of children at “high potential”. Thus, there are differences of methodological bias across studies that recruit their child populations to “high potential” primarily in offices of psychologists and not in a general population. There is in this case, less likely to quantitatively find children in difficulty and therefore mean big differences between VIQ and QIP.

Only neuropsychological additional assessments still too few will understand this difference that affects some subtests.Through literature, it appears that the diagnostic criteria for identification are not consensual with an IQ threshold can be variable. Moreover, beyond the measure of IQ, there is great variability in the use of complementary assessments.It is important to consider also “Flynn effect” that also affects children “high potential”, “Flynn effect” being a regular annual increase of one third of IQ point between the date of construction calibration of the date of the examination.

If according to the scientific literature different factors involved in the emergence of “high potential” or “talent”, it is revealed that the performance is sensitive to the characteristics of the socio-economic environment, including the environmental context provided by support parents. These children are rarely spotted in disadvantaged areas.According to different studies, other factors are linked to variables at once cognitive, conative as well as aspects of creativity.

Developmental aspects:


From birth, biological activity and are maturative continuously. In the intrauterine environment, physiological maturation rate of nervous and neuromuscular systems may change under the influence of the environment, the internal and external environment, the extracellular genetic and environmental factors may interact. These processes extend from birth, based on the personal experience that is exercised within a given environment, environmental constraints, and educational attitudes of the entourage.

From birth, the sensory and motor systems are functioning to varying degrees, with some order into play (skin sensitivities, vestibular, gustatory, olfactory, auditory, visual) even before the maturation of the nervous system is complete. Similarly, the origin of the motor behavior of the newborn is in continuity from ovulation. During the gestation period are already implemented sequences of movements and neuromotor sensitivosensoriels fully operational. These help in neonates and infants setting up loops or more finalized sensorimotor patterns that will fit gradually according to the evolution of the myelination of motor pathways, movement growing in interdependence with affectivity in interaction with the environment.

The sensorimotor integration is thus constructed from the beginning of the intrauterine life and gradually and exponentially, at all levels of brain functions, neural networks, and also constituting an enrichment reorganization of human skills directory.

The notion of functional brain plasticity takes from the beginning of life all its importance: there is a single functional plasticity, guaranteeing adaptation and control capabilities, making single individual. In this regard, would open for the child to “high potential” a whole field of possibilities that could be directly linked to the organization of these neural networks and conduction velocity.

Developmental data:

Psychomotor developmental data are very rare because children with “high potentials” are often diagnosed late in their primary education by measuring the IQ (intelligence quotient). Our recent retrospective longitudinal research provides data on neonatal psychomotor development in young children “high potential”. It appears from these data that there is a clean development maturative children to “high potentials” who present at birth any health concern or proven pathology. Indeed, their neuromotor and neurosensory specific processing and active tone, allowing early emergence of posturolocomotrices acquisitions and visuomanuelle coordination, those of language and cognitive processes, which does not also prejudice the outcome of these functions to school age. One of the oldest longitudinal studies showed a higher percentage of boys, a high frequency of seniors, a higher socio-cultural background of families, an average body weight clearly above average, breastfed more often in families of children at medium level, advanced psychomotor development (including the acquisition of walking, which is 1 month in advance compared to the average of language learning that is 3 and a half months ahead of average and early learning to read).

Data from other recent studies arising from retrospective surveys found, for some of them, in advance of the acquisition of walking and language, while in the study of Louis et al., It does exist no significant difference between a sample of gifted children and a control population. However, there seems to methodological biases of data collection in this study.

Our own longitudinal data show a specific rhythm developmental acquisitions of these children to “high potential”. We note, from birth, a possibility of awakening lasting peace (more than 8 minutes) compared with an average duration of children from newborns-all that is around 4 to 5 minutes. The answer to gaze fixation is quick and efficient eye tracking is about 90 degrees each side is already akin to a continuous pursuit leading to both the eyes and head.

This mobility of active exploration by the look gives these newborns a “state of alert” that is associated with a sensitivity of all sensory perceptions in their environment (auditory, visual, olfactory, etc.). When the look is desired by the observer, there is a kind of magnetization look particularly strong, which seems to suggest high arousal capacity and attentional focusing (requesting the reticular).

Developing neuro-musculoskeletal postural:

Postural responses reflect neonatal neuromotor affirmed maturity in terms of the synergy between the extensor muscles (under subcortical control) and flexors (under cortical control) tone axis, allowing the outset the child to hold his head at least 2 seconds in the axis at birth and very quickly thereafter about the first month. This significant maturation pathways of voluntary motor during myelination is attested by other neonatal indicators in the first months of life, as the relaxation of the upper limbs according to proximodistal development law, an active response to the first reversal of stress (coordination of the limbs), the early disappearance of primitive reflexes (Moro reflex, automatic start around 1 month) and Babinski reflex (around 12 months). This axial neuromotor maturation advance céphalocaudale and proximodistal maturation continues during the early years of the child quickly to acquire levels of coordination that will give him some independence movements. Overall, the map posturolocomoteur, we note an advance of at least 1 to 2 months, or one to two standard deviations above the average results we find in a recent national survey of more than 700 children with “high potential”. However, there may be variability around the mean does not exclude specific cases of deviations from the development associated with sensory or motor abnormalities associated.

The interpretation of these driving maturing advances in these children requires taking into account both the intrinsic motivation of the child, his desire to move, to travel, to gain autonomy and power over the environment and the child’s environment that can encourage, entice or otherwise put constraints.

This neuro-developmental postural locomotor advance is distinct sensorimotor advance of African children, the latter concerning only a few items valued by the context and cultural practices specific care and learning engines for the expected cultural norms.

Cognitive Development:

Before 4 years:

Cognitively, early language is notable with an average babbling about 4 months and imitating animal noises around 22 months of oral praxis highlighting capabilities. The first sentence appears around 18 months (combination of two words). They obviously feel a pleasure to specify words by a series of synonyms, or otherwise, or to create later transitional forms of neologisms, for example, by analogy or game inside of a concept. The mastery of language is expressed by an ease of use of the words quite so sought adjusted, involving the acquisition of spatial structuring concepts (in / out, over / under, etc.) and temporal structuring concepts ( quickly / slowly, yesterday / tomorrow, etc.) specifically leading to good use adverbs, conjugation of time (between past, future, present). Subsequently, these children access to the curiosity and desire to identify letters early in their environment. They recognize written on posters, newspapers … they are immediately interested in the word and the desire to reproduce letters for already 34 months to produce, spontaneously developed of writing mock without knowing letters.

Laterality is early establishment on average around 30 to 46 months with a tonic and functional predominance of the right side of the body. There seems to be a close relationship between left hemispheric dominance of the implementation of the right laterality and precocity of language.

The results for cognitive tests such as the Casati-Lézine show that children reach the maximum stages of sensorimotor intelligence (0-24 months) early, with at least 2 months ahead on average. Similarly, visuospatial perceptual activities (Lotto images, installation …) are highly effective in these children.

At the level of executive functions, there is also a lead of 1 to 2 years of age on average over the planning capabilities.

It is striking that, on the perceptual and cognitive, sensory perception and all perceptions (epidermal, touch, taste, smell, hearing and visual) appear on edge, and go in the direction of highly developed endogenous mechanisms and a significant receptivity, fueling sensitive responsiveness, emotional and affective, as well as a sense of intuition functioning as sixth sense.

From the perspective of cognitive functioning, we can see high information processing capacity (detection, perceptual discrimination, storage and recall). The analytical process are powerful (comparisons and linked traits, mental configurations). These capabilities result in ease and speed of understanding that facilitate working memory, immediate memory are important and used daily in what they observe (car brands …). All this gives them an “elephant memory” and a “sharp eye”.

From our perspective, these children seek early strategies to understand situations, sort of autoémulation operating within their information processing and process necessary for their investment which itself enables or facilitates the completion of the operation oriented toward a goal. Thus, in infancy, in their psychomotor development, they go through the transitional acquisitions coordination level discovering themselves by strategies to get there, even without the entourage noticing, and accessing very quickly recovery and walking.

Then they can very soon appear as key-asset, eager, curious, for example up to dismantle the thing and exhausting those around them, especially since they are not interested in routine activities rather complicated looking games and more later the intellectual challenges, “loving to take the lead.” Always willing to experiment and innovate, they have facilities for creativity in particular construction sets. They are also interested from 2 years to life sciences, earth, astronomy, the metaphysical issues (life and death) and carry more great interest in books.

After 4 years:

If the stages of sensorimotor intelligence seem to follow a rapid development, access to operational and formal events like Piaget (conservation, classification, seriation and spatial representation) would require a rate of development closer to the age chronological that mental age of children at “high potential”, according to research conducted around 1980.

Thus, it appears that the pace of acquisition of various steps necessary for the acquisition of a stage can be accelerated for children to “high potential” by learning capabilities and a structural reorganization, without that access to the next stage is chronologically accelerated. The néopiagétiens evoke other mental processes in the control of cognitive activity. This becomes evident when necessary to consider unfamiliar perceptual criteria requiring report preparation process to the space starting from the experience. According Lautrey, there may be an inter-individual variability in cognitive processes used during a Piagetian task, variability seems related to the socioeconomic and cultural educational environment.

This leads us to wonder about this possible discontinuity between stages sensorimotor acquired quickly enough to these children and the need to achieve a chronological age to access an operative level. It is around 5-6 years that seems to play this heterogeneity may be related to intellectual type of over-investment, to the detriment of physical stress or manual activities in the physical environment in particular; This is reinforced by the fact that the child is school age when the family environment may be more concerned about intellectual investments (read …).

Moreover, according to our developmental data, we find, in infancy, a relative synchrony functions of psychomotor and mental development (motor, language, social-emotional, cognitive). It is on this basis that we question the notion of “dyssynchrony” development as a fact of development in gifted children (dyssynchrony / intelligence / psycho / emotional / social skills). Indeed, if a dyssynchrony can be described, it would only appear later at school age whereas previously psychomotor development was found without delay. She then reveal rather a degradation or deterioration of unexercised functions and unrecognized (socially with family and / or by the school and / or peer), or it is the result of a focusing operation on one hyperinvesti field as the cognitive domain, to the detriment of the engine and body area.Criticism or fertile periods to learning desires can then be more or less hidden. Thus unused functions may grow poorly on neurophysio-psycho-social and induce malfunctions with potential repercussions on intellectual efficiency and social and emotional behavior of the child. Our studies on children with “high potential” when the performance IQ (subtests related to body schema, perception and structuring of space, fine motor lateralization) showed no significant difference with the verbal quotient these children show better academic and social adaptability. The homogeneity of the performance quotient with verbal appear as an indicator of “protective factor”.

Psycho development and behavior:

In children with “high potential”, the early stages of psycho development, if we refer to the main Freudian references, will succeed quickly with some advance based on the responses and attitudes of the medium. There is an early awareness of sexual difference and difference generations around 30 months. If the child is alone, facing his questions, he risks being invaded at his thought by a disarray of up to anxiety, which can cause a depressive aspect or denial of his own feelings. Because of their cognitive functioning, these children from the age of 3 years have a critical and relevant self-critical sense may even hamper or impersonate impertinent. In addition, they have a sense of humor, a significant intellectual pleasure. They also develop a certain generosity towards each other, based on empathy and on their desire to be accepted by sharing.

On the sleeping level, we found no significant alterations disorders of sleep-wake cycle. However, when there is a link with genuine learning disorders or attentional psycho type of anxiety, we noted in these children have difficulty falling asleep, night waking, etc. In a national survey that we have in process, we very significantly shown a statistical link between attention problems and sleep disorders. The authors identified sleep disorders in a sample of gifted children can be correlated with school disorders according to their data.

It is important to stress that these children “high potentials” have a great imagination which can quickly become a source of anxiety if they are not reassured by the surroundings and if limits are not asked.

If family and / or school, or an outside person is not receptive to the personal needs of the child, which can be entirely offset with demands “standard”, the latter expressed his unhappiness or anxieties by behavioral or psychosomatic disorders and a lack of interest in learning sometimes to intellectual inhibition and loss of taste for effort. All this induces a psycho-order mental suffering provoked by the inability to achieve and produce. If the medium retains only child advance intellectually, in a kind of sublimation, causing in this direction and feeding exclusively on this plan, the child becomes more “bulimic” its capacity can answer this stimulation that comes with a pleasure working himself reinforced by the fascination as well as the positive image of pleasure experienced by the entourage. To the detriment of preserving its psychomotor abilities and creative achievements of capacity, which leads to isolation in his intellectual bubble, leaving the royal square in his imaginary omnipotence in a kind of cognitive disharmony, a term used by Gibello.

All the advances of a developmentally data underlines the importance of conducting a prophylactic guidance of child development to “high potential” on psychomotor and psychologically. Indeed, early guidance can avoid narcissistic withdrawal, deviations in behavior or personality (behavioral disorders) or subsequent decompensation, particularly in adolescence, with an aggressive fashion to delinquency or depressive with suicidal attitude .

The child wears a me from idealized parental images but children with “high potential”, very empathetic, can be pushed hypertrophy his “ego ideal” not to disappoint his entourage, and to sublimate in the intellectualization.

This sublimation becomes a defense mechanism against the fear of failure, facing a conscious or unconscious parental neglect. Thus, the child will give up his emotional impulses (anger, anxiety) and its pleasures and fantasies in a kind of sacrifice. He took refuge in failure or in trouble, possibly leading to the depression.

Some children move into a kind of denial or inhibition to the game (fun activity) developing in them an insurmountable guilt resulting anxieties. Thus the child can hold his own neurosis to defend what we retrace the projective tests (Rorschach).

Lebovici and Braunschweig mentioning accumulation of sterile encyclopedic knowledge in some of these children were surprised to find their homes obsessive mechanisms already highly structured and no real anxiety. The study by Revol et al. highlights major anxiety disorders in a population of gifted children, consultant in child psychiatry, observing and phobias to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Learning Disabilities:

Cognitive abilities can also hide the original neuropsychological learning disabilities or psychopathology, with boys being more affected than girls, however, making it more vulnerable earliness but with a considerable asset which concern their brain plasticity with processing capabilities of information allowing them to use the means of compensation or effectively recovery strategies.

It has also not been shown prevalence of neuropsychological and psychopathological disorders in children with “high potential”. But the difficulty is to assess the limits of normal and pathological, given the high cognitive functioning abilities (processing) with the strategies implemented that can mask the reality of the existing disorders.

Child functioning in “high potentials” and neurocognitive aspects:

We rely on a number of neurophysiological, neuropsychological and anatomical studies that allow us to better understand the neurocognitive functioning of children with “high potential”.

The conduction of nerve impulses speed was studied using auditory evoked potentials and was highlighted faster transmission for gifted children compared to controls.

According to the work, the rate and duration of REM sleep would be higher in children with “high potential” than in controls. In addition, it was demonstrated a higher frequency of oculomotor activity during REM sleep. All these data REM highlights a large brain plasticity and facilitation of memory. In addition, a large working memory capacity has been shown through studies.

A link has been shown between IQ and the factor “g” of intelligence. However, several studies on the speed of mental operations related to intelligence, suggests that the performance related to a reaction time task involves cognitive abilities, such as attentional capacity and working memory. The optimal use of these capabilities permits better performance as regards the reasoning. brain activity on studies using the electroencephalogram suggest a physiological maturation more advanced with a lower alpha rhythm.

A number of studies in neuropsychology supported by brain imaging studies provide insight into the specificity of cognitive functioning of children with “high potential”: answers to habituation tasks are faster. In addition, they have specific attentional abilities with skills to inhibit inappropriate information to avoid disturbance of perceptual distractors.This results in a number of studies that children with “high potential” would use a method of treatment of the analog type information to establish links between situations. Thus, these children have a qualitatively different functioning of the ways children with faster processing speed on cognitive tasks of problem solving and learning skills and transfer of a resolution method to a new situation highly superior.

Moreover, it would highlight metacognitive skills (knowledge of his mental functioning) in long-term memory level (metamemory) that would enable a richer knowledge base that children means facilitating the encoding.

Some authors suggest a superior processing speed, however that seems related to the qualitative factors used in information processing (rich linguistic repertoire, attentional abilities, memory, cognitive mobility, reasoning strategy).The prefrontal cortex (executive functions) is partly responsible for the implementation of these functions mature as evidenced by the high capacities of children with “high potential” in the planning tasks, the Wisconsin placement test and performing the tasks of the tower of Hanoi. This put into play the prefrontal cortex is enhanced by work tomography positron emission tomography (PET). Thus the Duncan et al., Shows in verbal and nonverbal tasks of an IQ test (saturated factor “g” nonverbal) activation of the lateral frontal area in both cerebral hemispheres. Also some show the activation of the left prefrontal cortex lower PET during the linking of language skills and logical deduction.Moreover, recent studies on hemispheric specialization (Dichotic, mental rotation and magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] functional hierarchical with verbal stimuli) showed some hemispherical bonding treatment of child information in “high potentials” by compared to control subjects, although other studies suggest a greater involvement of the right hemisphere in subjects gifted in mathematics. Furthermore, there exists a genetic influence determining the gray matter rate correlated to the IQ or the white matter ratio according Posthuma et al .. brain volume measurements in anatomical MRI confirm this correlation between IQ and gray matter volume .

Other studies in functional brain imaging PET show a lower glucose consumption during the production of verbal and nonverbal tasks.

We can assume that this would lead to less energy spent, less activation of neural circuits, and so less effort in achieving cognitive tasks.


The contribution of developmental data highlights the advance of the maturation neurosensorimotrice children “high potential” both on the plane and posturomoteur locomotor and oculomotor organization and attentional abilities. These results highlight the one hand an operating reticular awakening early on attentional plan, and secondly a fast transmission speed of nerve impulses, attested by various works, causing some processing speeds. The conduction of nerve impulses speed could be related to a specific conductance is explaining both by temporal characteristics of neuronal charges relating to membrane properties at the neuronal membrane channels and at the synapse, and the myelin surrounding axons, thus promoting the speed of propagation of the electrical signal.

We can assume that these specific temporal properties play an important role in the encoding for the memory ( “elephant memory” in these children) and thus allow specific learning ability and brain plasticity. These learning capacities are linked to the sensory integration process, as outlined in the work of board and Geary and Brown.

The myelin sheath is an excellent insulator for conduction, avoiding the loss of nerve impulses, and thereby concentrate the energy expenditure, which would explain a lower glucose consumption. Brain activity would be more focused, not asking that regions   zécessaires processing of the task, reducing energy expenditure in the cerebral metabolism by Neubauer. This specific conductance reflects the high perceptual performance of these children (including “sharp eye” or fine listening) is that it activates many more connections between neurons (neuronal operations) on the two cerebral hemispheres them -Same appeal to specific neural networks configured neural populations (functional architecture) in the form of work in neuroscience.

The child “high potential” therefore have a specific brain function with high processing capability information to its service, which gives it great flexibility and considerable advantages in terms of learning skills with greater brain plasticity than the average child. Besides our ongoing research indicates an advance of neonatal growth (weight, height, PC) children “high potential” premature infants regardless of gestational age (they are mostly hypertrophic).

The contribution of all of this work we exposed results in the need to closely analyze heterogeneous cognitive profiles of children with “high potential” from an early age and to reflect on the importance of preserving a continuity developmental different functions, which can be very vulnerable to the risk of dissociating later, the very fact of a specific plasticity and conditions favorable or unfavorable environments (family, peers, school) or because of neuropsychological disorders or psychopathological proven. However, it is important to consider, for a good development, high potential, and to ensure that the investment conditions of knowledge on the part of the child are carried out with proper use and instinctual with IDs another me that idealized parental images.

If a biological superiority appears in children at “high potential” good environmental conditions (socio-cultural, educational, social and emotional …) and a good physical and mental health are favorable to fructify the “high potentials”, with a development of the personality. High parental socio-professional environment is widely highlighted in studies on high IQ. Indeed, the intellectual superiority, as Ajuriaguerra said, does not necessarily lead to success.Success of which may be expected to extend social, academic or professional and emotional.


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