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  1. Joseph Renzulli,
  2. Sally M. Reis

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0388

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Renzulli, J. and Reis, S. M. 2010. Giftedness. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Connecticut

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In the early and mid 1900s psychologists following in the footsteps of Lewis Terman (1877–1956) equated giftedness with high IQ. This legacy survives to the present day, although a variety of conceptions of giftedness have been suggested by many researchers. These conceptions range from general, broad characterizations to more targeted definitions of giftedness identified by specific actions, products, or abilities within certain domains (Sternberg & Davidson, 2005). Research conducted during the last few decades supports the more broad-based conception of giftedness as a combination of multiple qualities, such as motivation, self-concept, and creativity, in addition to intellectual potential. For example, Joseph Renzulli defines gifted behaviors rather than gifted individuals, as follows:

Gifted behavior consists of behaviors that reflect an interaction among three basic clusters of human traits—above average ability, high levels of task commitment, and high levels of creativity. Individuals capable of developing gifted behavior are those possessing or capable of developing this composite set of traits and applying them to any potentially valuable area of human performance. (Renzulli, 1978, p. 183)