Wasted Adult Potential
Presentation on creativity in the adult population by Scott R. Furtwengler, Justin Neil L. Young, Christine M. Peet, and Jessi Cummings-Mengis. Presented on November 8, 2013 at the National Association for Gifted Children annual convention in Indianapolis, IN. Young: Conceptions of Giftedness that Include Creativity
Furtwengler: Talent Development in Adults: Nurturing Deviance?
Peet: How to Use the Medical Model
Cummings-Mengis: Creativity in Deviant Populations
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Wasted Adult Potential
Wasted Adult Potential
Scott R. Furtwengler
Justin Neil L. Young
Christine M. Peet
• Conceptions of Giftedness that include
• Talent Development in Adults: Nurturing
• How to use the Medical Model
• Creativity in Deviant Populations
Justin Neil L. Young, M.Ed.
CONCEPTIONS OF GIFTEDNESS THAT
Giftedness and Creativity
The way in which evidence is interpreted dictates the role
creativity plays in defining giftedness, but there is a great
consensus that creativity is necessary for giftedness
• Three Ring Model (Renzulli, 1978)
• Triarchic Theory of Intelligence (Sternberg, 2000)
• Star Model (Tannenbaum, 2003)
• Dynamic Theory of Giftedness (Babaeva, 1999)
• Artistic and Musical Giftedness (Winner, 2000)
• Differentiated Model of Gifted and Talented (Gagne,
Three Ring Conception
Giftedness is the interaction of above averageability, task commitment, and creativity
• Academic test scores at the upper limit do not
reflect potential for productivity (Wallach,
• Productive persons far more task oriented
than general population
• Divergent thinking is a characteristic of highly
creative people, there is little predictive
Three Ring Conception
Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
Giftedness is present when an individual
demonstrates high levels of intelligence.
• Three types of intelligence (Sternberg, 2000)
• Successful intelligence based in both
personal and sociocultural standards and
context (Sternberg, 2006)
• Giftedness is the ability to produce thoughts, tangibles,
artistry, or human services that are creative/proficient
• Addresses antecedents and concomitants of
demonstrated giftedness through five elements
Superior General Intellect
Distinctive Special Aptitudes
• Elements have both static and dynamic aspects that
interact with each other (Tannenbaum, 2003)
Dynamic Theory of Giftedness
Social aspects influence development of giftedness
• Based on Vygotsky‟s sociocultural theories
– Sociocultural environment presents barrier for positive
– Stimulates compensation process to overcome
– Successful adjustment and incorporation into
experience for future use
• Creativity increased over time for children in a
challenging classroom environment (Babaeva,
Artistic and Musical Giftedness
Giftedness is defined by precocity, intense
motivation, and qualitative differences in
learning and understanding information in the
domain (Winner & Martino, 2003).
• Creativity is an aspect of giftedness in within
a domain (Winner, 1997)
– Everyone has little „c‟ as children
– Few obtain big „C‟ in adulthood
• “[C]reativity is an inextricable part of
giftedness” (Winner, 2003, p. 371)
Differentiated Model of Giftedness
• There is a distinction between giftedness and
talent (Gagne, 2003)
– Giftedness includes aptitude domains or natural
– Talents are fields in which aptitudes manifest
• Creativity considered as aptitude domain or
• Intrapersonal characteristics, environmental
factors, and chance influence developmental
process between giftedness and talent
Babaeva, J. D. (1999). A dynamic approach to giftedness: Theory and practice. High Ability Studies,
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A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp. 335–349). Boston, MA: Pearson
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Sternberg, R. J. (2000). Patterns of giftedness: A triarchic analysis. Roeper Review, 22, 231–235.
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Scott R. Furtwengler, M.A.
TALENT DEVELOPMENT IN ADULTS:
• Adult Creativity in the context of
intelligence and giftedness
• Benefits of Creative Behavior in Adults
• Obstacles to identification
• Future research
• Sternberg: Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
– Analytical (componential)
– Practical (contextual)
– CREATIVE (experiential)
• Renzulli: Three Ring Conception of Gifted
– Task commitment
Sternberg: Creative Facet
• Insight, synthesis, ability to react to novel
situations and stimuli
• On a continuum between novelty skills and
“Those aspects of human activity and
involvement where a premium is placed on
the development of original material and
products that are purposefully designed to
have an impact on one or more target
Subotnik: Talent Development is
• Of abilities into competencies
• Competencies into expertise
• Expertise into outstanding performance or
Subotnik et al. (2011)
• Ability is necessary for giftedness
• Interest & commitment to a domain are necessary to becoming a
gifted achiever and attaining eminence
• Gifted achievement and eminence also depend on appropriate
teaching or coaching of psychosocial skills that include persistence
and exertion of effort - development of talent requires a substantial
investment of time
• The percentage of eminent adults is considerably smaller than the
percentage of children with gifted potential
• Developmental periods in which potential and eminence are
recognized differ across domains
• The transitions across stages are largely a function of developed
• The emergence of new domains creates additional opportunities for
the manifestation and development of talent and eminence
Identifying Adults with Gifted
• Explore personal growth and self-efficacy
• Correlates to an individual‟s mental health
and well-being (Caddy, Crawford, & Cage,
• Creative employees are important to an
organization‟s innovation, productivity, and
sustainability (Lukersmith & BurgessLimerick, 2013)
• Creative deficit (Mandel, 2009)
Measures of Creativity
• Save for the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA,
2008), predictive validity is limited
• The Candle Problem (Duncker, 1945)
• Wallace/Kogan (1965)
• Alternative Uses Test (Guilford, 1967)
• Nicholls (1972) suggests that an analysis of creative products
is preferable to the trait-based approach in making predictions
about creative potential.
• Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (1974)
• Wallach (1976) proposes that student self-reports about
creative accomplishment are sufficiently accurate to provide a
usable source of data
• Abedi Test of Creativity (ATC, 2000)
Creativity & Deviance
• Creative individuals are viewed as deviant
(Wells, Donnell, Thomas, Mills, & Miller,
• In group decision-making, group members
dislike deviant members and rate morale
lower despite increased innovation and
creativity (Rijnbout & McKimmie, 2012)
• Workers perceive employers as disingenuous
when calling for increased innovation
• Creative deviance (Mainemelis, 2010):
neither inherently destructive or constructive
• Positive deviance (Spreitzer & Sonenshein,
2004; Wexler, 2011): intentional behaviors
that depart from the norms of a referent
group in honorable ways.
• Innovative deviance (Acharya & Taylor, 2012)
Acharya & Taylor (2012)
Positive Deviance & Innovation
• It is intentional, voluntary, purposeful and
discretionary, rather than forced or
• It involves departure from the norms of a
referent group and it therefore unexpected
• It is honorable in nature
• It is beneficial to employees and
• Viewed as deviant (abnormal, aberrant)
• Not predictable (possible cause for the
difficulty in supporting scales with
• Not controllable
• Scientific method: to predict and control
• Stereotype threat
• Social desirability
• New model for identification
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Christine Peet, M.Ed.
HOW TO USE THE MEDICAL
WHAT IS THE MEDICAL MODEL?
• Set of assumptions
• Looks at behavioral abnormalities
using the same framework as physical
How is creativity currently
• Social identity analysis (Hirst, Van Dick, &
Van Knippenberg, 2009).
• Problem identification and instruction
based on personality (Reiter-Palmon &
• Measuring post-formal thinking (Blouin &
Problems with Current Identification
Lacks universal definition
Creativity is often overlooked
Lacks predictive validity
Productivity not maximized
Foundation of “medical model”
• Psychoanalytic Theory assumes person
• Based on a “problem”
Foundation of “medical model”
• Theory of proposed creativity
identification process assumes:
– Universal definition
– Patient is involved
• Not trying to treat a “problem”
Why medical model?
Relies primarily on objective and
• Universal definitions and standards
2 Types of diagnoses in medical
• Substantial diagnosis
• Nominal diagnosis
Questions to ask
• As diagnosticians, or identifiers of
creativity, are we seeking and using
substantial or nominal diagnosis?
• How are both approaches useful in
What the medical model misses
• Phenomena that are not measurable
• Psychological components
• Stress or emotional conflict
Why are psychological measures
• Can affect results of creativity measure
• Difficult to measure
What to do Regarding medical
• Ignore components that do not fit into
the medical model
• Implement alternative methods
Problems with medical model
• Psychological vs. physical components
• Difficulty identifying creativity
I‟m creative, but the medical model
did not diagnosis me properly.
• Person may be in the gray area
• Identifiers need to examine the gray
Limitations of universal medical
• Creativity looks differently throughout
• Individual components to consider:
Future research for identifying
• Improve proposed medical model
• Use a holistic approach
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Reiter-Palmon, R., & Robinson, E. J. (2009). Problem identification and construction: What do we know, what
is the future?. Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, And The Arts, 3(1), 43-47.
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disorders. Scottsdale: Great Potential Press.
Question for the Audience
Based on your own personal knowledge,
how would you describe an adult who is
Jessi Cummings-Mengis, M.A.T., M.Ed
CREATIVITY IN DEVIANT
How is Creativity Used?
Use talents in an illegal fashion
Drop out of high school
Choose not to pursue abilities
• (Borzyskowski, 2009; Cratty, 2012; Grantham,
2011; Kim, 2008; Kampylis & Valtanen, 2010;
Rawe, 2007; Whiting, 2009; Zablowski, 2012)
• 7.1 million incarcerated in 2010
• (Glaze, 2011)
• Costs $26,074 per inmate, per year
• (James, 2013)
• After parole, 32.4% come back after three
• (Jones, 2010)
What About Adults?
• Research is focused on children and
• Rareness in adult studies
• Unknown about what happens to
• Unknown about creativity/gifted and illegal
What About Adults?
• Relationship between ADHD and a person
– Overall rate 10.5%
– Male 9.8%
– Female 15.1%
– General population (2-5%)
• (Cahill, 2012)
• Relationship between ADHD and a person
who is gifted
• Identify if high levels of creativity exist
within incarcerated populations
• Examine the relationship
• Work backwards
– Programs to decrease recidivism
– Identify youth
– Use creativity in legal ways
You can contact Scott Furtwengler at