This website uses cookies. By using this website, you agree to the Cookie Policy and the general Terms and Conditions
Got it


Database Information FAQ News Suggestions Contact

Do gifted / HIQ people generally score higher on the OverExitabilities, as defined by Dabrowski?

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

Note that many studies done about OverExitabilities suffer from methodological shortcomings, such as a preselected samples and such.

Furthermore, different studies, all saying that "Gifted persons score higher on OE's" all present a different profile of what OE's they then are supposed to score higher on, and to what degree. When comparing all these studies, one would expect to find a more stable OE profile if the phenomenon, its measurement and the methodology is sound. The absence thus points to the conclusion of methodological issues and confounding factors across these studies. You can read more about this effect in:

Winkler, D., & Voight, A. (2016). Giftedness and Overexcitability: Investigating the Relationship Using Meta-Analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly, 60(4), 243-257. doi:10.1177/0016986216657588

I would like to point you to a very well-designed study, who IQ tested a nationwide sample of third-graders (N = 7023) with 3 intelligence tests, weighted by their g-loading. They thus found a 'gifted' group (+2 SD) and then matched each of them individually to a control child with average IQ (90-110) of the same gender, school, class, SES etc... Then 6 years later, they tested them again, using updated norms (to account for the Flynn effect). The final target group consisted of those who scored +2 SD in the first round of testing and minimally IQ 125 (using an SD of 15) six years later.

This group has been followed throughout their life. The study is known as the Marburg Giftedness project. Since this is a totally unselected sample of gifted individuals, a well-matched control group is available and study participants have not been informed about their IQ, this study provides a unique insight into the gifted population. In:

Wirthwein, L., & Rost, D. H. (2011). Focussing on overexcitabilities: Studies with intellectually gifted and academically talented adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 337-342. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.041

They found that the target group did not differ from the control group with regard to OE, using the OEQ-II questionnaire.

From the article:

"In four of the five overexcitability scales (emotional, imaginational, psychomotor, sensual) of the Overexcitability Questionnaire-Two (OEQII; Falk et al., 1999), there were only small and no statistically significant differences between gifted and nongifted adults. A statistically significant result only emerged in ''intellectual overexcitability'' in favor of the gifted (d = .42). Our findings are in accordance with the results of other related studies (see the summary of Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006: gifted individuals often display higher scores in ''intellectual overexcitability''). A closer look at the items of the ''intellectual overexcitability'' scale makes plain that the content of the items centers on a combination of self assessment of problem solving ability as well as on the affective facets of person's self-concept of general intellectual ability (e.g., ''I love to solve problems and develop new concepts''; ''I can take difficult concepts and translate them into something more understandable''). As a rule gifted adults frequently notice that they possess a higher intellectual capacity and thus develop a higher self concept of general intellectual ability. Contrary to other findings, the giftedness sample scored slightly lower in ''emotional overexcitability'' (d = .21) as well as in ''psychomotor overexcitability'' (d = .22)."

I suggest you read all articles from the Marburg Giftedness Project in the database. Their unique methodological setup gives true insight into the population of individuals with an IQ of 2 standard deviations above the mean:

Bergold, S., Wirthwein, L., Rost, D. H., & Steinmayr, R. (2015). Are gifted adolescents more satisfied with their lives than their non-gifted peers? Frontiers in Psychology, 6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01623

Wirthwein, L., & Rost, D. H. (2011). Focussing on overexcitabilities: Studies with intellectually gifted and academically talented adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 337-342. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.041

Wirthwein, L., & Rost, D. H. (2011). Giftedness and subjective well-being: A study with adults. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(2), 182-186. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2011.01.001

Wirthwein, L., Becker, C. V., Loehr, E.-M., & Rost, D. H. (2011). Overexcitabilities in gifted and non-gifted adults: does sex matter? High Ability Studies, 22(2), 145-153. doi:10.1080/13598139.2011.622944

Sparfeldt, J. R., Schilling, S. R., & Rost, D. H. (2006). Hochbegabte Underachiever als Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene: Des Dramas zweiter Akt? Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 20(3), 213-224. doi:10.1024/1010-0652.20.3.213

Rost, D. H., & Hanses, P. (1998). The `drama` of the gifted underachievers - `ordinary` or `extraordinary` underachievers? Zeitschrift Für Pädagogische Psychologie, 12(1), 53-71.

Rost, D. H., & Hanses, P. (1997). Not achieving - not gifted? About the identification of gifted underachievers by teacher-ratings. Zeitschrift Für Entwicklungspsychologie Und Pädagogische Psychologie, 24, 167-177.

Rost, D. H., & Hanses, P. (1994). The Possession and Use of Toys in Elementary-School Boys and Girls: does giftedness make a difference? Educational Psychology, 14(2), 181-194. doi:10.1080/0144341940140203