Decision-making abilities of intellectually gifted and non-gifted children


Department of Psychology, School of Behavioural Science, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, 3052, Australia


Samples of 61 intellectually gifted and 122 non-gifted high school students in the age range of 12-15 years were compared on four aspects of decision-making ability: metacognitive knowledge about decision making; use of efficient decision search strategies; probability “tuning”; and self-reported decision-making style and self-esteem. The study drew on Sternberg's (1985) “triarchic” theory of intelligence for an analysis of the decision-making abilities of the gifted students. It was found that intellectually gifted adolescents had superior metacognitive knowledge; were faster in making decisions; made greater use of efficient search strategies; were better at “tuning” information about probabilities; and reported a more competent decision style than non-gifted adolescents. The findings were interpreted as evidence of both quantitative and qualitative differences in die decision-making abilities of gifted and non-gifted adolescents. Similarities between the abilities of intellectually gifted adolescents and decision-making experts are noted. Further research, using Sternberg's model as a basis for selection of decision tasks, is suggested.