Mathematically Gifted Adolescents Have Deficiencies in Social Valuation and Mentalization


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Many mathematically gifted adolescents are characterized as being indolent, underachieving and unsuccessful despite their high cognitive ability. This is often due to difficulties with social and emotional development. However, research on social and emotional interactions in gifted adolescents has been limited. The purpose of this study was to observe differences in complex social strategic behaviors between gifted and average adolescents of the same age using the repeated Ultimatum Game. Twenty-two gifted adolescents and 24 average adolescents participated in the Ultimatum Game. Two adolescents participate in the game, one as a proposer and the other as a responder. Because of its simplicity, the Ultimatum Game is an apt tool for investigating complex human emotional and cognitive decision-making in an empirical setting. We observed strategic but socially impaired offers from gifted proposers and lower acceptance rates from gifted responders, resulting in lower total earnings in the Ultimatum Game. Thus, our results indicate that mathematically gifted adolescents have deficiencies in social valuation and mentalization.




Yun K, Chung D, Jang B, Kim JH, Jeong J (2011) Mathematically Gifted Adolescents Have Deficiencies in Social Valuation and Mentalization. PLoS ONE 6(4): e18224. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.001822