Stereotypes of social isolation and early burnout in the gifted: Do they still exist?

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At the turn of the century, two common stereotypes of genius were that precocity was associated with social failure and that precocity bred early burnout. Later research on the gifted has refuted these stereotypes. The two studies in this paper investigate whether the stereotypes have changed in light of this new knowledge. In the first study, 66 male and 61 female colege students rated gifted, able, and average males and females. In the second study, 60 male and 59 female college students rated males and females with various extreme levels of precocity. In both studies, the stimulus persons were rated as high schoolers and as adults. Results indicate that the perception of the gifted, especially females, as encountering serious social problems is still prevalent. The illusion of burnout, however, has been replaced with an illusion of unqualified success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-539
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes


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