Sensitivity to loss and gain in gifted adolescents : different whether social or non social

On Pub Med, this study published on February 16, 2011 in PLOSOne : “Different gain/loss sensitivity and social adaptation ability in gifted adolescents during a public goods game.“)

The study was run by the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.

Although the study concerns adolescents, it is obvious that the conclusions may as well concern adults, as childhood behaviors have an impact on adult ones via life experiences. Words such as” social isolation” or “emotional adaptation difficulties” will certainly ring bells to some of you…

Herafter is what the abstract mentions :

Gifted adolescents are considered to have high IQs with advanced mathematical and logical performances, but are often thought to suffer from social isolation or emotional mal-adaptation to the social group. The underlying mechanisms that cause stereotypic portrayals of gifted adolescents are not well known. We aimed to investigate behavioral performance of gifted adolescents during social decision-making tasks to assess their affective and social/non-social cognitive abilities.

We examined cooperation behaviors of 22 gifted and 26 average adolescents during an iterative binary public goods (PG) game, a multi-player social interaction game, and analyzed strategic decision processes that include cooperation and free-riding.

We found that the gifted adolescents were more cooperative than average adolescents. Particularly, comparing the strategies for the PG game between the two groups, gifted adolescents were less sensitive to loss, yet were more sensitive to gain. Additionally, the behavioral characteristics of average adolescents, such as low trust of the group and herding behavior, were not found in gifted adolescents. T

hese results imply that gifted adolescents have a high cognitive ability but a low ability to process affective information or to adapt in social groups compared with average adolescents. We conclude that gain/loss sensitivity and the ability to adapt in social groups develop to different degrees in average and gifted adolescents.

PMID: 21359224 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3040203

Free PMC Article

… Some may say that 22 gifted adolescents as a test group is not enough for leading to serious scientific conclusions.

However, this study reminds me the one I mentioned in a former post written on the Low Latent Inhibition (in French, but with references to english speaking studies), a study called  Creativity and personality which mentions (P250 – Neurobiological Findings) “when studying fine molecular variations associated with high creative potential and high creative achievement we found a significant association between the serotonin transporter gene 5’SLC6A4 and the temperament traits harm avoidance.

I cannot but find a link between “harm avoidance” and “be cooperative”.

One thought on “Sensitivity to loss and gain in gifted adolescents : different whether social or non social

  1. C’est exactement ce que je me disais ce midi en constatant que j’avais décidément du mal à me faire “spontanément” à la collaboration avec mes collègues. J’ai toujours l’impression d’être à côté de la plaque. Suis-je vouée à être une éternelle adolescente, my god ?
    😉 amer

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