A comparison of the performance of intellectually gifted and average-ability children on four spatial tasks
Twenty-one gifted (mean IQ = 143.7) 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds were compared with a group of their average-ability, chronological-age matched children (mean IQ = 104.7) and with a group of their average-ability, mental-age matched children (mean IQ = 104.4) on four types of Piagetian spatial tasks (two- and three-dimensional rotation, paper-folding, and geometric cross-sections). Spatial tasks were selected to reflect Piagetian stage characteristics, so that Piagetian stage development could be assessed. The gifted children and their mental-age matches were found to perform significantly better than the chronological age-match group on the tasks involving the imagined cross-sections of geometric forms, as well as on the spatial instrument as a whole. No sex differences in spatial performance were found, nor were there significant differences on any tasks between the gifted children and their mental-age matches. Evidence for a state-like development of spatial problem-solving was found for the three-dimensional rotation task, and for the spatial instrument as a whole. Educational implications were discussed.