Gagné's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent

 The artist is nothing without the gift,
but the gift is nothing without work.

Emile Zola.

Francoys Gagné differentiates clearly between gifts (natural abilities) and talents (systematically developed from gifts) .

Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness

Gagné thinks that all talents are developed from natural abilities through learning influenced by inner and outer catalysts. The main components of Gagné's model - which he refined several times - are:

Natural Abilities

Gagné lists four domains of natural abilities, which according to him are mostly genetically determined:


The different fields are open to wider argumentation than the natural abilities. Gagné thinks the following fields are relevant for school-aged youths:

Developmental Processes

Without learning processes whether there are informal - as the learning of a first language by a child - or formal - as most learning in school - and practice gifts don't turn into talents.

Intrapersonal Catalysts

Several characteristics of the person influence the learning process positively or negatively. They are:

Environmental Catalysts

Gagné names four groups of environmental influences on the development of talents:


One last factor influencing the catalysts (intrapersonal and environmental) and the natural abilities (gifts) is chance. Most importantly, chance determines through the recombination of paternal genes which types of giftedness a child possesses and to what extent. 

Further Information


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Matthias Giger, April 2006 (Update: 16-12-2007)