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Conversation with Justin Duplantis on Giftedness, Deviancy, “Vidya,” and the National Association for Gifted Children: Member, Triple Nine Society (5)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/10/08


Justin Duplantis is a Member of the Triple Nine Society and the former Editor of its journal entitled Vidya. He discusses: nuanced facets of giftedness; some ways individuals who are gifted can be derailed in childhood development; the higher risk factors for gifted youth becoming deviant; learning styles; the capacity to make better decisions; internal policies for helping new members who may be younger and having issues; an issue of Vidya to this particular issue; the National Association for Gifted Children; the doctoral research; and the Zone of Proximal Development.

Keywords: giftedness, IQ, Justin Duplantis, National Association for Gifted Children.

Conversation with Justin Duplantis on Giftedness, Deviancy, “Vidya,” and the National Association for Gifted Children: Member, Triple Nine Society (5)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What are some of the nuanced facets of giftedness important for understanding nature of the gifts?

Justin Duplantis: Traditional schooling is tailored to those of average intelligence. The general population requires information to be conveyed numerous times, prior to its retention. Gifted youth do not require such repetition, so once the concepts are understood, the child becomes bored and restless. This, inevitably, results in the child attempting to locate something in which to entertain themselves. This is generally something that directly contradicts the classroom rules, resulting in a reprimand, as opposed to a redirect. These gifted youth are subsequently labelled deviant, as opposed to an exploration into their behaviour, which would have resulted in the proper labelling of the child as gifted.

Jacobsen: What are some ways individuals who are gifted can be derailed in childhood development?

DuplantisAs stated above, if the child is labelled deviant, as opposed to gifted, this could lead that child down a path that would inhibit growth and disable them from fulfilling their potential.

Jacobsen: In adolescence, what would be some of the higher risk factors for gifted youth becoming deviant? Is there an innate aspect to this running off the rails? We have cases of Sufiah Yusof becoming, later, a prostitute. We have the case of Keith Raniere ruining several people’s lives and facing significant time in jail, potentially for life, as a cult leader. Bobby Fischer derailed into exile and anti-Semitism. J. Robert Oppenheimer tried to kill his tutor. Lots of stories like this abound.

DuplantisI believe this is a two-part response that goes with nature versus nurture theory. Although there are exceptions to every rule, gifted individuals tend to fall into one of two extreme categories. There are those that have the need to try everything once and those that are uninterested in taking risks at all. The higher the standard deviation, the more likely that individual is to fall into one of these two categories. Due to this, there is a high propensity for nefarious behaviour by those who fall into the “try everything once” category. This is fueled by the need for the next thrill. I am unable to relate, as I fall into the opposite category, having never smoked, done any recreational drug, or even tasted alcohol. On the other side of the coin, nurture is certainly a factor and I strongly believe, as referenced above, that the identification of giftedness at an early age is vital. My five year old’s preliminary IQ test was done at three and he ceilinged out the test at 150 IQ, so we are unsure where he actually lies. He started Kindergarten this week and has exhibited behavioural issues already, due to his boredom. If, as parents, we were unaware of his potential there is a probability that this unbecoming behaviour could result in future issues. Instead, his teacher is aware of his giftedness and is exploring creative ways to keep him engaged.

Jacobsen: When you speak of learning styles, what is the theoretical and empirical foundation for this view?

DuplantisDifferent learning styles are common among all demographics in society, so this phenomenon is not limited to the gifted population.

Jacobsen: Young adults, ideally, have more fully-developed and integrated brains for the capacity to make better decisions. Yet, still, their minds can go into deviancy, even mental illness. What are some of the ways in which this can be induced externally if not by internal factors? (Obviously, we’re talking ratios here.)

Duplantis: I strongly believe this starts in childhood and adolescence. It is vital that the mental stimulation and hunger for knowledge that gifted youth possess be channelled in the proper direction. Without this, the deviant road is the most convenient, for its excitement.

Jacobsen: For Vidya, have there been any previous issues of the journal dealing with this particular problem? Have there been internal policies for helping new members who may be younger and having issues, i.e., providing community, giving encouragement, supporting them socially and intellectually, etc.?

DuplantisI am unaware if there have been any past articles that are specifically geared towards this. With that said, at the annual gathering each year there is generally someone that speaks on giftedness and provides advice and resources.

Jacobsen: If this hasn’t been done, would you consider devoting an issue of Vidya to this particular issue?

DuplantisThis has absolutely been on my mind, as well as conducting a presentation at a future annual gathering. With that said, I want to ensure that the primary information that is provided is factual, as opposed to opinionated; therefore, I am going to wait and do so until after ascertaining my PhD.

Jacobsen: With organizations like the National Association for Gifted Children, they provide supports for the gifted. It is an acknowledgement of the differential in performance in different areas for the youth. In What is Giftedness?, they state:

Students with gifts and talents perform—or have the capability to perform—at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment in one or more domains. They require modification(s) to their educational experience(s) to learn and realize their potential. Student with gifts and talents:

  • Come from all racial, ethnic, and cultural populations, as well as all economic strata.
  • Require sufficient access to appropriate learning opportunities to realize their potential.
  • Can have learning and processing disorders that require specialized intervention and accommodation.
  • Need support and guidance to develop socially and emotionally as well as in their areas of talent.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this definition?

DuplantisThis is an all-encompassing definition. Just as the term Autism is used to describe individuals with developmental delays in one or more areas. There are many subcategories that are yet to be defined that fall within these larger categories. In some school districts, for instance, they have gifted theatre classes. The students must go through a rigorous testing process to be deemed gifted in theatre. This is completely separate from academic giftedness.

Jacobsen: Is this close to the definition used in the doctoral research for you?

DuplantisMy research is not generically focused, as this definition suggests. I am solely focused upon overall intellectual giftedness, as defined by IQ.

Jacobsen: Something featuring prominently as the theoretical construct for the NAGC is the Zone of Proximal Development. Who invented this terminology and theory? What is it? How is this important for parents of gifted children?

DuplantisLev Vygotsky developed this in the early 20th century. It essentially indicates that there are items in which an individual is capable of learning on their own, other items that need assistance from another individual to learn, and those items in which the individual is simply incapable of learning. The toughest sector for the gifted community is the sector of items that simply are unable to be learned. This is a much smaller quantity, as compared to the general population. Due to this, the gifted individual and their circle of influence (ie family, friends, educators, etc) find it inconceivable that a gifted person would be unable to learn a certain subject. This created frustration and often times feelings of worthlessness. Although there are many distinct differences between the average individual and the gifted, at the end of the day we are all human and face similar struggles. Human first. Gifted second.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Justin Duplantis is a Member of the Triple Nine Society and the former Editor of its journal entitled Vidya.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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