How brain research can contribute to the evaluation of mathematical giftedness

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In this paper we suggest that instruments of neuro-cognitive research enable the evaluation of giftedness in mathematics. We start with a literature review on the related topics presented so as to situate our suggestions within the existing research on giftedness and excellence in mathematics. This literature review allows us later to discuss our findings, which are based on neurocognitive data collected in a large-scale multidimensional examination of mathematical giftedness. Sampling procedure in the study was performed based on two orthogonal (in our view) characteristics: general giftedness (G) and excellence in mathematics (EM). In this paper we present findings that lead to a definition of the mathematically gifted population. We present selected results to provide evidence for our findings. In this paper we demonstrate three major findings: A. Effects of G and EM factors are task-dependent both in behavioral and neurophysiological measures' the EM factor has significant main effects on tasks that require implementation of knowledge familiar to students from school mathematics. By contrast, the G factor has a significant main effect on insight-based problems which are not part of the school mathematical curriculum and, thus, require original mathematical reasoning. B. Mathematical performance in gifted students who excel in mathematics (G-EM students) on insight-based tasks has specific characteristics in both behavioral and electrophysiological results. C. G-EM participants exhibited superior performance in all the tests, showing a constant neuroefficiency effect. Based on these observations we suggest that mathematically gifted students are those who are both generally gifted and excel in mathematics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-437
Number of pages23
JournalPsychological Test and Assessment Modeling
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Mathematical Modeling
  • Mathematics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Brain
  • Experimentation
  • Gifted


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