Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Metaphor Use and Understanding as a Sign of Gifted Intelligence

Analytical thinking is not the only way to test for giftedness. The use of metaphors also offers an opportunity to understand how language uses certain skills that are also part of the process of creative and intelligent thinking. The researchers Tan, et. al. (2013) found that metaphor sections of the Aurora Battery affords a selection process of gifted through the use of comparative, categorical, and evaluative thinking while mapping literal and figurative meanings from one word to another.

The use of metaphors can be a sign of one’s intelligence. Metaphors are not simple statements and rely on literal and figurative understandings to make meaning. To use metaphors well requires categorical, comparative, evaluative thinking. This is a mapping of meanings from one word to the next and establishing connections of words that may be different.  It requires a deeper analysis of language.

Their study looked at whether metaphor comprehension is an appropriate task for gifted identification and what metaphor characteristics differentiate between gifted and non-gifted. The ability of test students on metaphor use in early education and college may create greater ability to identify them for advanced development. Since metaphors can show up in writing it fits well with modern education.

Metaphors may not only tap into our creative side but also have some ability to improve upon social relationships. Some of the subtle processes that go into metaphors also go into developing relationships. It is these subtleties that help the gifted find the meaning behind the words and understand others intentions and motivations.

Their study found that Metaphors are another way to test for giftedness among the population. It targets analytical thinking in the verbal domain. Their study offers some hope in finding alternative ways of testing high intelligence without the limitations of formal education. Education will help people score well and this may blind people to giftedness in less education populations or other cultures where the education may be different. Additional studies will need to be conducted to reconfirm the findings in other areas.

Tan, et. al. (2013). Measuring metaphors: Concreteness and similarity in metaphor comprehension and gifted identification. Educational & Child Psychology,  30 ( 2).

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