Advanced Cognitive Development and Renzulli's Triad

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  • 0:08 Gifted Versus Talented
  • 1:52 Gifted
  • 2:20 Academic Aptitude
  • 2:49 Intellectual Ability
  • 3:18 Characteristics of Giftedness
  • 4:14 Renzulli Three-Ring Model
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Valerie Houghton, Ph.D.

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.

In this lesson, we will explore advanced cognitive development in terms of a gifted child. We will also define what it means to be gifted and Joseph Renzulli's model of giftedness.

Gifted Versus Talented

What talent do you have? Would you consider yourself to be gifted, or did you have to practice in order to achieve success?

The terms gifted and talented are often used interchangeably, and, as of yet, there's not a single universally accepted definition of either term. Nevertheless, a general definition for giftedness is: a child who is gifted was born with that ability. However, having ability and applying ability are two different things. For example, a child with a 'gift' for music may be able to play the piano at the age of five with no prior lessons but, due to lack of interest, does not continue playing and, over time, loses his or her natural ability to play.

A child who is gifted was born with that ability.

On the other hand, a child who is talented is often seen diligently working in an area he or she enjoys, such as music, until he or she becomes good at it. For example, a child has been taking piano lessons and practicing daily since he or she was five years old, and by the time he or she reaches high school, he or she has become talented beyond anyone in his or her peer group.

A child can be both talented and gifted, meaning that he or she has innate ability and applies that ability significantly beyond what would be expected from a child his or her age. Or a child can be gifted but not talented, meaning that he or she has potential to use his or her gift, but he or she does not apply him/herself. These students are also known as underachievers. Additionally, a child can be talented without being gifted. This means that a child has an interest in a particular area and works diligently until he or she achieves a level beyond what would be expected from a child his or her age.

In this lesson, we will discuss what it means to be gifted and Joseph Renzulli's model of giftedness.


Children who are gifted have been defined as having outstanding abilities and are capable of high performance. Outstanding abilities refers to a child's aptitude to continuously perform at the top 10% of one or more domains. There are many domains that an individual can be gifted in. Some of the common domains are intellectual ability, academic aptitude, music, art, dance, and athletic ability.

Academic Aptitude

The domains of academic aptitude and intellectual ability have straightforward methods to determine if a child has outstanding abilities and is capable of high performance. For example, if a child's grades are in the top 10% of his or her peer group, he or she can be considered gifted in the area of academic aptitude. However, it is important to note that a child can be gifted in one area of academics, such as math, and not be gifted in other areas, such as English.

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