The Profoundly Gifted

Dr. Karen Rogers

Associate Professor of Gifted Studies
University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota
Dr. Karen Rogers, a researcher of international renown, analyzed data at the Gifted Development Center in 1994-1995 during a postdoctoral fellowship.   The analysis consisted of data on 241 children between 2½ and 12½ years of age, with IQs ranging from 160 to 237+ on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (Form L-M). Here are some of the findings from that study:

Reasons for Assessment

  • The main reason parents requested testing (82%) was to obtain help with educational placement decisions.

Gender Differences

  • There was no difference in the mean IQ for boys and girls.

Birthing Issues

  • Mothers tended to be older than the norm. The mean age at the time of the child’s birth was 30.8.
  • 44% of the mothers report problems with delivery.

Sleep Patterns

  • 50% of the parents report that their child needed less sleep than others.
  • 60% are "day people" (more boys than girls), 17.5% are night people (more girls than boys) and 22.5% of the parents wrote in "both" in answer to the question!

Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood

  • 94% were very alert as infants.
  • 94% had a long attention span as an infant or toddler.
  • 91% showed early language development.
  • 60% showed early motor skill development.
  • 48.9% were ambidextrous at some period of their development.
  • 37% had imaginary playmates.

Language Development

  • The mean age at which these children spoke their first word was 9 months.
  • The mean age at which the children sight read an easy reader was before four.

Medical Issues

  • 85% of the children had had ear infections.
  • 52% have high pain tolerance.
  • 44% have allergies and 9.6% have asthma.
  • The most significant allergy mentioned was to milk (35% of the allergic children).
  • The next highest allergy mentioned was trees (8.2%).

Most Prevalent Characteristics of Giftedness

  • 99.4% learn rapidly
  • 99.4% have extensive vocabulary
  • 99.3% have excellent memory
  • 99.3% reason well
  • 97.9% are curious
  • 96.1% are mature for their age at times
  • 95.9% have an excellent sense of humor
  • 93.8% have a keen sense of observation
  • 93.5% have compassion for others
  • 93.4% have a vivid imagination
  • 93.4% have a long attention span
  • 92.9% have ability with numbers
  • 90.3% are concerned with justice and fairness
  • 89.4% have facility with puzzles and legos
  • 88.4% have a high energy level
  • 88.3% are perfectionistic
  • 85.9% are perseverant in their areas of interest
  • 84.1% question authority
  • 80.3% are avid readers


  • 90% were described by their parents as "sensitive."
  • 83% like to concentrate on one activity at a time.
  • 79% report high energy or activity levels.
  • 44% are sensitive to clothing tags and other tactile sensations.


  • In tests of self-concept, these children are significantly more confident in their academic abilities than in their social acceptance.

Educational Needs

  • The greatest educational need expressed was for a more challenging curriculum.
How significant are these data? We won't know until we've been able to enter random samples from the moderate, mildly and non-gifted children's files.
* Personal, Social, Medical and Psychological Factors in 160+ IQ Children
Presented by Karen Rogers and Linda Silverman at the
National Association for Gifted Children 44th Annual Convention in
Little Rock, Arkansas, November 7, 1997.