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Mental-Attentional Capacity as a Basis for Identifying Cognitively Gifted Children

Student: Anastasiia Liashenko

Supervisor: Marie Arsalidou

Faculty: Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience

Educational Programme: Cognitive Sciences and Technologies: From Neuron to Cognition (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2019

Mental-attention is a construct that allows for simultaneous manipulation of several objects in mind and its capacity develops throughout the childhood (Pascual-Leone & Raymond, 1994). Data from parametric measures of mental-attentional capacity designed within the Theory of Constructive Operators (TCO) is highly consistent with developmental changes in this construct predicted by the TCO and previous studies with the use of these measures and intelligence tests at together revealed the validity of using mental-attentional capacity tasks as a measure to identify cognitive giftedness (Johnson, Im-Bolter, & Pascual-Leone, 2003). In the current study, for the first time these tasks were used in Russian children. Our main goal was to test whether Russian children follow the theoretical expectation of mental-attentional capacity development suggested by the TCO and to identify cognitively gifted children based on the theoretical and empirical criteria. The results of the study showed agreement in the developmental stages for the ages 7-11, however, older children underperformed by 1-2 units. In addition, as it was expected, we identified a small percentage of children by most of the measures (1-6%).

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