Get access

Biological and Psychological Correlates of Exceptional Performance in Development


Address for correspondence: Prof. Dr. Rolf Oerter, Emeritus, Rehkemperstrasse 2, D 81247 Munich, Germany. Voice: 0049-89-8112390;


Abstract: The issue of exceptional performance is discussed from four perspectives: genetic distribution of high giftedness, gene-environment interaction, neurobiological findings, and the role of deliberate practice as well as environment in general. The genetic perspective is illustrated mainly by the emergenic and epigenetic model of Simonton, followed by the three types of gene-environment interaction (Scarr and McCartney). The neurological perspective focuses on the role of early practice for neurological representation and on hormonal changes during development. The perspective of deliberate practice summarizes the present state of affairs within this field of research. Finally, a distinction between different levels of excellent performance is proposed, arguing against the neglect of genius as a specific phenomenon among excellent performance.