Gifted and Creative Individuals

I would love to hear your thoughts on this perspective of gifted and creative individuals.

The article is The Application of Dabrowski’s Theory to the Gifted by Kevin J. O’Connor and was published in the book Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know?.

Here are a few quotes from the article to give you a taste of its content:

Dabrowski observed that gifted and creative individuals are often in conflict with the demands and expectations of their environment…

Many in the gifted community believe Dabrowski’s overexcitabilites, as they contribute to developmental potential, are a measure and indicator of giftedness.

Overexcitabilities are enhanced modes of being in the world. The word ‘over’ used in connection with ‘excitability’ connotes responses to stimuli that are beyond normal and often different in quality. Dabrowski identified “psychic overexcitability” in five forms: psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational and emotional.

While the concept of developmental potential emphasizes the positive aspects of experiencing life with greater intensity and sensitivity, these same characteristics may also be experienced in negative ways. Individuals with elevated overexcitabilities are more susceptible to being misunderstood and alienated by those who don’t share or understand their unique personality traits.

Parents of gifted children and gifted individuals themselves may find that Dabrowski’s ideas provide a useful “framework for understanding and explaining the developmental patterns and challenges that occur for those of high ability.”

Photo source

Join the Conversation


  1. Professionally, I am not very interested in this post of yours, but I am very interested in some others in your blog… I was interested in this one by personal reasons, as the “over excitability” applies to me, my three children, and my two grand-children.

    Anyhow, to comment, I think that to consider that saying that “over excitable children” suffer from “Attention Deficiency Disorder” is an error; but concluding that, on the contrary, they are “gifted and creative” is exactly the same error (only reversed).

    Of course “emotional development is closely related with intellectual development” (and most psychologists and educators don’t understand that) and some time’s there can exist a “positive maladjustment” (as anti-psychiatry demonstrated in the 60’s)

    Anyhow, I don’t believe that overexcited people are necessarily more creative, as I don’t believe in a “special education for gifted children”. Often, those over excitable children are not clever or more creative – they only have less defenses to the stupidity of our school system.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *