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Title page for ETD etd-05022008-162340

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ferriman, Kimberley
URN etd-05022008-162340
Title Work preferences, life values, and personal views of top math/science graduate students and the profoundly gifted: developmental changes and sex differences during young adulthood and parenthood
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David Lubinski Committee Chair
Andrew Tomarken Committee Member
Camilla Benbow Committee Member
Georgine Pion Committee Member
James Steiger Committee Member
  • eminence
  • circumscription & compromise
  • math/science talent
  • vocational psychology
  • Gifted persons -- Psychology
  • Talented students -- Longitudinal studies
  • Sex differences -- Longitudinal studies
  • evolutionary psychology
  • Values -- Psychological aspects
  • Vocational guidance -- Psychological aspects
Date of Defense 2008-04-30
Availability unrestricted
Work preferences, life values, and personal views of top math/science graduate students (275 males, 255 females) were assessed at age 25 and age 35. In Study I, analyses of work preferences revealed developmental changes and sex differences in priorities—some sex differences increased over time and were larger among parents than among childless participants. In Study II, the graduate students' life values and personal views at age 35 were compared with those of profoundly gifted participants (top 1 in 10,000, identified by age 13 and tracked for 20 years: 265 males, 84 females). Again, sex differences were larger among parents. Across both cohorts, males appeared to assume a more "telescopic" and career-focused perspective than females did, placing more importance on creating high-impact products, compensation, risk-taking, and being recognized as the best in their fields. Females appeared to favor a more "wide-angle" life perspective, emphasizing community, family, friendships, and less time devoted to career. Replications were achieved on two other intellectually gifted samples (N = 1,975). Increasing sex differences in life priorities over time and following parenthood anticipate differential male-female representation in high-level and time-intensive careers, even among extraordinarily talented males and females with similar ability-preference profiles and educational experiences.
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