Different gain/loss sensitivity and social adaptation ability in gifted adolescents during a public goods game.PLoS One. 2011 Feb 16; 6(2):e17044.Plos
Gifted adolescents are considered to have high IQs with advanced mathematical and logical performances, but are often thought to suffer from social isolation or emotional mal-adaptation to the social group. The underlying mechanisms that cause stereotypic portrayals of gifted adolescents are not well known. We aimed to investigate behavioral performance of gifted adolescents during social decision-making tasks to assess their affective and social/non-social cognitive abilities. We examined cooperation behaviors of 22 gifted and 26 average adolescents during an iterative binary public goods (PG) game, a multi-player social interaction game, and analyzed strategic decision processes that include cooperation and free-riding. We found that the gifted adolescents were more cooperative than average adolescents. Particularly, comparing the strategies for the PG game between the two groups, gifted adolescents were less sensitive to loss, yet were more sensitive to gain. Additionally, the behavioral characteristics of average adolescents, such as low trust of the group and herding behavior, were not found in gifted adolescents. These results imply that gifted adolescents have a high cognitive ability but a low ability to process affective information or to adapt in social groups compared with average adolescents. We conclude that gain/loss sensitivity and the ability to adapt in social groups develop to different degrees in average and gifted adolescents.