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Arch Pediatr. 2005 May;12(5):520-5. Epub 2004 Dec 22.

[Psychophysiological factors in high intellectual potential: comparative study in children aged from 8 to 11 years old].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Inserm U480, universit√© Claude-Bernard Lyon-I, 8, avenue Rockefeller, Lyon.


Factors of intellectual talent as well as physiological and psychological characteristics are little known. However, giftedness is now a social problem and the knowledge of precocity hallmarks should permit the diagnosis in order to undertake the adequate educational orientation of these children. From questionnaires given anonymously to parents, this work showed comparative results between a population of gifted children and a control one.


The aim of this study was to present precocity hallmarks in the gifted population, following factorial analysis of socio-economic and familial parameters, as well as medical and psycho-physiological variables linked with the children's post-natal life.


Four hundred and twelve children aged eight to 11 years, from Lyon, have been used in the survey: 217 children (control group) were included after a random selection in schools, and 195 children (gifted group, IQ >130, Wechsler test) were enrolled after clinician's diagnoses in four medical departments.


Regression analysis allowed to draw relation between several factors and giftedness: abnormal pregnancy (CR =3.205, P =0.009), perinatal stress (CR =2.166, P =0.003), and presence of migraine (CR =3.169, P =0.001). Parents living together (married or not) (CR =2.100, P =0.080) with a good and superior level of learning (CR =5.464, P =0.0002) were also linked with giftedness.


Our results indicate that precocity hallmarks are multifactorial. These data confirm some socio-economic and medical physiological features correlated with giftedness, and suggest that psychological factors may bear on the etiology of intellectual talent. We focus on the hypothesis than early stress may play a role on central nervous system maturation in these children.

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