The role of knowledge structures in adult excellence. An approach from expert functioning

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© ISSN. Adult performance of high ability individuals has seldom been researched. Current results suggest that adult excellence occurs at lower rates than high ability individuals identified in their infancy or youth, with few cases of high intellectual abilities among adults that yield excellence products. This paper focuses on the analysis of the relative frequency of biographical traits that are associated with high ability as well as to the opportunities that allow building particular knowledge structures that are nonconventional and support innovation in people who excelled. A retrospective biographical analysis was performed on a sample of 120 individuals that generated renowned excellence products, in different fields, in the XXth century. Variables associated to high abilities were: precocity; learning problems; social problems in school; and academic excellence. And the variables associated with the generation of knowledge structures that support innovation were: academic-professional continuity; strong influence of particular individuals; and high productivity. Significant differences were found, showing a low presence of the first four variables and a higher presence of the last three. It follows that the trajectory towards excellence does not seem to correlate with a high level of intellectual resources but with a certain use of sufficient resources, whether cerebral or external technological support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Excellence
  • Expertise
  • High ability
  • Innate
  • Knowledge structures
  • Technology


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