Social, Emotional, and Psychosocial Development of Gifted and Talented Individuals: Author Q&A
Social, Emotional, and Psychosocial Development of Gifted and Talented Individuals: Author Q&A
PUBLISHED: Monday, September 21, 2020 by Andilynn Feddeler

Social, Emotional, and Psychosocial Development of Gifted and Talented Individuals merges the fields of individual differences, developmental psychology, and educational psychology with the field of gifted education. Learn more about the book and the development of gifted and talented individuals in this interview with the author, Anne N. Rinn, Ph.D.


Q: How did you develop this book? What were your key goals?

A: I spent more than a decade conducting research looking at if and how gifted individuals differ from nongifted individuals on a variety of social, emotional, and psychosocial constructs. Most of my early research focused on aspects of self-beliefs, which stems from my background in psychology and educational psychology, and I found some common themes through the years (e.g., intellectually and/or academically gifted individuals tend to have higher academic self-beliefs than average-ability individuals). As I continued to use the field of psychology to inform my research, I started to move into other disciplines to also inform my research (e.g., sports psychology). Eventually, I decided I wanted to try to find a big picture and make sense of everything I had been studying for the past decade. My initial goal was purely intellectual curiosity! However, I eventually realized I had more questions to ask than if and how gifted individuals are different from nongifted individuals, and so the book began to take shape with the questions I ask in Sections I–IV. My goal for the book is to affect change: change in the way we serve gifted and talented individuals, change in the way we think about their affective needs and development, and change with regard to the research conducted on the social, emotional, and psychosocial development of gifted and talented individuals. 


Q: How is the book organized, and who is the intended audience?

A: This book explores what is known about social and emotional development with a particular emphasis on how it relates to gifted and talented individuals, using existing theory and research as a basis. The book then moves into an examination of specific psychosocial skills that contribute to the development of talent. By providing both a background on the social and emotional development of gifted individuals and a discussion of specific psychosocial skills that are necessary for talent development, this book provides a thorough look at all components of affective development and growth from a variety of lenses. As such, the book is intended for both researchers and practitioners, as well as parents of gifted children.


Q: Do gifted and talented individuals develop differently than others? 

A: In many ways, no, not at all. However, there are some things to think about with regard to asynchronous development and developmental trajectories that may impact social and emotional development among some gifted and talented individuals. The book explores these issues in great detail. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from this book?

A: I hope this book starts a new conversation about the social, emotional, and psychosocial development of gifted and talented individuals in the field of gifted education. I hope educators gain new insight into the affective needs of gifted and talented children, but also see that gifted individuals are not a homogenous group and, therefore, their affective needs are not identical. I hope researchers develop new ideas for researching the social, emotional, and psychosocial development of gifted and talented individuals. More than anything, though, I hope information in this book contributes to better services for gifted and talented individuals.


Anne N. Rinn, Ph.D. is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of North Texas, where she also serves as Director of the Office for Giftedness, Talent Development, and Creativity. She is currently coeditor of the Journal of Advanced Academics; and she is actively involved in the American Educational Research Association, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.