To start with, we ask ourselves, what is innate talent or giftedness? The definition of “gifted” from Webster’s New World Dictionary is: having a natural ability; talented.Horowitz (1994) as cited in Ericcson, Roring & Nandagopal (2007) says that gifted people are the ones that have "extraordinary ability in some area." In a bit more detailed definition, Shavina (2007) says "Giftedness is the result of a long inner process of construction and growth of the protracted inner process of the construction and growth of the individuals cognitive resources leading to a uniquecognitive experience beyond which there are periods of heightened cognitive sensitivity" (p. 5).
An interesting question is posed by Ericsson, Roring & Nandagopal (2007); "How can the scientist identify those who are exceptionally skilled?" (p. 6). I would answer that the way to identify exceptionally skilled people is by knowing their achievements. But then, this answer would lead to anotherquestion: Where do these skills come from?
Well, Albert (1983) summarized the evidence contained in the records of the early youth of eminent men using the results of a research done by Cox (n.d.) to see the traits and early profiles of these eminent men. Albert (1983) found that these men rated high in intellectual, social, and activity traits. He also found that youth geniuses possessed suchtraits as persistence of motive factor, and the intellective factor to an unusual degree. Albert (1983) states that such traits as: unusual degree of persistence, tendency not to be changeable, tenacity of purpose, and perseverance in the face of obstacles and originality of ideas are diagnostic of future achievement.
Some other important characteristics possessed by youths who achieve eminenceare: “heredity above the average” and “superior advantages in early environment” (Albert, 1983). In other words, a child’s inheritance is definitely an important contribution to the development of a child’s eminence.
Even eminent men in the field of music had good inheritance, like Mozart; whose father was already an eminent violinist, composer, and published one of the first textbooks on theviolin in that time. Also, Beethoven’s father was a singer in the electoral choir, and, finally, Bach, who was member of a family that produced professional musicians for seven generations (Ewen, D. 1996).
These are only some examples of eminent men with a good background. Although these backgrounds play important roles in a child’s development, they do not comprise the whole picture foreminence. (Albert, 1983)
Individuals who achieve eminence as adults are individuals who are characterized not only by intellectual traits, but also by persistence of motive and effort confidence in their abilities and great strength in the force of character (Albert, 1983). Ericsson, Roring & Nandagopal (2007) suggest that “Individuals are often able to improve their performance by engaging indeliberate practice” (p. 30). To be able to keep up with deliberated practice, it is necessary to have the traits identified (Albert, 1983). Not being familiar with such characteristics may lead to frustration and frequent failures when engaging “deliberated practice” (Ericsson, Roring & Nandagopal, 2007).
“Family position” may also play an important role in a child’s development (Albert, 1983)....