MCGT is on a mental stimulation high after our conference on October 24 with Dr. Matt Zakreski. He presented so much information in such a compelling and interesting manner, keeping us connected and learning the whole time. Kudos to all who attended and all who helped make it such a success. During the Annual Meeting, we presented the Annual Report and the Annual Financial Report. We are excited that MCGT remains a robust and fiscally sound organization! A heartfelt thank you to all of our members, sponsors and donors who make the work of MCGT possible. More stimulation coming this winter and spring. Keep watching Outlook and our website for upcoming events!
Many of you know about the intensities/overexcitabilities that can accompany giftedness. As a psychologist who helps gifted individuals navigate the world, understanding the five intensities has been a core part of my work. When gifted individuals tell me that others see them as “extra”, my excited answer is always, “Well, of course. Let me tell you about the intensity that goes along with being gifted!”
The high of mental stimulation is an important concept for gifted individuals, and is sometimes referred to as an intellectual intensity. Understanding intellectual intensity is important in thinking about how we shape and respond to needs (e.g., setting up a learning plan, a weekend, or an experience). Intellectual intensity is “a marked need to seek understanding and truth, to gain knowledge, and to synthesize and analyze information (Lind, 2011).” I think of intellectual intensity as a threshold experience for many gifted individuals. They have a threshold of mental stimulation they need to fill every day, and if they don’t hit the full mark, time and energy may go into seeking out mental stimulation even if bed time has long passed. I see this in young gifted children who are looking for advanced materials to satisfy their level of curiosity about a subject, and in my need to have a book available at a moment’s notice so my brain can do a little happy dance as it reads (love the Libby app on my phone for this!). As you think about the learners in your life, intellectual intensity may look very different depending upon who they are and what really excites them. There are also gifted individuals who are not intellectually intense. Asynchrony is a core concept of understanding gifted individuals and we all have different profiles of intellectual skills and intensities.
If you are really intrigued by this concept and have not explored the world of intensities/overexcitabilities, I recommend you consider the books Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels and MIchael Piechowski and The Smart Teens Guide to Living with Intensity by Lisa Rivero (for preteens and older). If you want to listen to someone talk about overexcitabilities, you can listen to this hour long keynote by Dr. LInda Silverman, founder of the Gifted Development Center.
Hope you are looking at the upcoming winter with some ideas of how to meet your intellectual needs – MN provides so many opportunities for learning! I am frequently grateful that COVID 19 happened when YouTube, libraries, Netflix, and parks are all accessible.
Teresa Boatman, PhD, MCGT President
Lind, Sharon., (2011). Overexcitability and the Gifted. http://sengifted.org/overexcitability-and-the-gifted/ Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted Sep 14, 2011 | Articles, For Individuals, Needs: Emotional