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Giftedness and Talent Development: A Transactional Perspective


Admission requirements

Open to all master students Psychology. The course provides a transactional perspective on giftedness and talent development.


What is giftedness and how does it present itself? How can we harness the great potential and develop the talents of gifted children, adolescents and adults? Are all gifted individuals high achievers? Or do they face certain problems?

Giftedness is still largely misunderstood; not only in relation to what giftedness entails in terms of cognitive, social-emotional, personality and other characteristics, but also in terms of how gifted individuals develop, and what they need to unfold their potential for extraordinary achievement. In addition to that, there is no such thing as ‘the gifted individual’. Researchers and practitioners alike notice that within the gifted populations there are large intra- en inter-individual differences.

Many schools, parents, professionals in the work field and other stakeholders acknowledge that our current educational system does not tailor sufficiently to the needs of gifted students. Often, it is seen that the capacities and characteristics of gifted students do not match mainstream education settings, and, in addition, often do not match their age mates either. This mismatch often leads to a variety of problems ranging from underachievement, or social-emotional problems such as loneliness or even suicide.

In this course, students will learn about the various perspectives on giftedness and talent development. In doing so, they will learn about current models and theories regarding giftedness and talent development. Students will learn to critically reflect on current theories, and link these to current problems practitioners face in the field, with regard to identification, guidance, prevention, intervention and evaluation.

We will take a transactional perspective, building on students’ knowledge about different views on giftedness and how talent can be developed. Gifted individuals function in a complex system and do not stand alone. Students will critically reflect on interpersonal, intrapersonal and environmental factors that influence talent development, and review giftedness from a systemic point of view. Through direct interaction with professionals from the field during the lectures, students will gain professional insights, skills and attitude by connecting theory to practice.

Students will learn about giftedness and talent development throughout the lifespan, with a focus on childhood and adolescence during the school age, because this is often the period in which the first ‘problems’ manifest themselves.

Course objectives

  • Students will have knowledge on current models and theories on giftedness and talent development.

  • Students will be able to identify and describe characteristics of gifted children, adolescents and adults, as well as challenges and problems they may face.

  • Students will be able to provide solutions to problems in practice related to giftedness and talent development based on current scientific models and theories.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 8 2-hour interactive seminars, which will be held in English.

We will invite experts from the field for a ‘meet-the-experts’ discussion panel during one of the lectures, which will give students the opportunity to connect theory with practice and gain insight into problems gifted children, adolescents and adults run into.

Students will prepare for this ‘meet-the-experts’ panel discussion in order to be able to gain an in-depth perspective by applying the scientific knowledge they have obtained in relation to building and testing hypotheses as part of the psychodiagnostics cycle, treatment and guidance of gifted children and their teachers.


Assessment will be based on an individual exam (70%) and video presentation in groups (30%). Students have to pass all parts of the assessment.

  1. Exam: The exam material consists of assigned chapters from the textbook, as will be communicated on BrightSpace, as well as the lecture slides. Exam questions will be in English.
  2. A group video presentation in which students connect theory to practice by providing a solution to a problem raised by an expert during the ‘meet-the-experts’ panel discussion.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Bakken, J. P., Obiakor, F. E., Rotatori, A. F., & Banks, T. (2014). Gifted education : Current perspectives and issues (First edition). Bingley, England: Emerald.


Dr. Kiki Zanolie
Dr. Bart Vogelaar