The importance of contexts in theories of giftedness: Learning to embrace the messy joys of subjectivity

Jonathan A. Plucker, Sasha A. Barab

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

51 Scopus citations


At a recent conference, a clinical psychologist who works with gifted students engaged the first author in an exciting and challenging conversation. As we discussed specific research and case studies involving gifted children, we realized that we were talking almost exclusively about the importance of context in defining and addressing giftedness. During the rest of the conference, we noticed the role of context in talent development in every session we attended. On the first author’s return home, one question kept leaping into his mind: If the need to consider context comes up in most research sessions and so many practical applications, why don’t we spend more time exploring its role in theories of giftedness? In this chapter, we explore the role of context in some classic and contemporary theories and models of giftedness, propose an alternative view, and explore the practical implications of that perspective. how should we conceptualize giftedness and talent? Defining terms is very important in conceptual discussions such as those included in this volume. The need for precise definitions is especially critical when dealing with constructs such as creativity, intelligence, and talent, given the wide range of commonly used definitions for these terms. The discussion in this chapter relies on a definition drawn from the following conceptualization of creativity: Creativity is the interaction among aptitude, process, and environment by which an individual or group produces a perceptible product that is both novel and useful as defined within a social context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConceptions of Giftedness
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780511610455
ISBN (Print)052183841x, 9780521838412
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The importance of contexts in theories of giftedness: Learning to embrace the messy joys of subjectivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this