Little empirical data are available concerning the cognitive abilities of gifted individuals in general and especially those who excel in mathematics. This study examined visual processing abilities distinguishing between general giftedness (G) and excellence in mathematics (EM). The research population consisted of 190 students from four groups of 10th- to 12th-grade students who differed in their G and EM levels. The students performed a battery of visual processing tests: visual-spatial memory, visual speed of information processing (SVIP), visual perception (VP), and visual attention (VA).
The results demonstrate that EM type has a significant effect on the Backward Corsi-Span, whereas G type has a main effect on the Pattern-Recognition test and d2-CP (concentration performance) and d2-E (number of errors) scores in the attention test. SVIP and the fluctuation rate in VA tests (d2-FR) were associated with both G and EM types.
The study identified two different components of visual processing that were accordingly termed Visual-Serial and Pattern-Recall. It seems that G-EM students can be characterized by superior performance on Visual-Serial processing.