Institut für Sozial- und Gesundheitspsychologie

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Ability Diagnostics PDF Print E-mail

Intellectual ability is comprised of different fields of performance, of which the development can be observed by means of intelligence tests. Die intellektuelle Begabung setzt sich zusammen aus verschiedenen Leistungsbereichen, deren jeweilige Ausprägung im Rahmen von Intelligenztests beobachtet werden kann.

Such fields of performance are for example:

  • Memory
  • Verbal understanding and expression
  • Figural perception
  • Spatial visualisation
  • General knowledge

and others. These areas are developed to differing degrees in each person. With the help of intelligence diagnostics, an individual ability profile can be compiled, and it is possible to draw conclusions on existing strengths and weaknesses.

Apart from that, a global measure of intellectual capability can be calculated by making a comparison with a normed sample (IQ). Even though this measure only possesses a limited explanatory power, certain prognoses about a person’s development potentials can be deduced from it.  We talk about an average giftedness, if 50% of the comparison group show better and 50% show weaker performances (IQ= 100). We talk about high intellectual giftedness, if only 1% of the comparison group achieve better or equal performances (IQ > 130).

In the field of ability diagnostics, the ISG possesses experience of many years.  Special aptitude tests, which are consulted as admission criteria.

Intellectual Giftedness

The term „intellectual giftedness“already causes problems. Some speak of highly intelligent, some of intellectually gifted, and others again of specially talented and able children and adolescents. They all, however, mean children and youths who possess early developed, above-average abilities and interests, e.g. in the linguistic, musical and artistic, logical-mathematical-scientific, athletic or manual-technical domain and thereby differ strongly from children of the same age.
According to the ex-post-facto-definition, those persons are considered intellectually gifted, who have achieved something exceptional. The important distinction between giftedness and achievement is not taken into consideration here. If one follows that definition, high giftedness can only be assessed retrospectively.

In contrast to this, the definition based on the IQ declares people to be highly gifted whose IQ surpasses a certain threshold value. The individually measured IQ-value has got the advantage of enabling comparisons due to the threshold value in the first place, but there is only a limited explanatory power, since environmental influences and mental/emotional states are not taken into consideration.
With the IQ-test, certain factors are not detected, which essentially influence the transformation of potential into performance, such as motivation, creativity, mental maturity, stress coping, the impacts of critical life events, the instruction quality and the familial learning environment. Thus, no ultimate conclusions about a human’s actual potential are reached.