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How Gifted Kids Are Affected By Violence, Even In Cartoons

By Victor Trammell

A highly credible research study has revealed that children with above-average intelligence are more vulnerable after watching violence, even when it comes in the form of seemingly harmless entertainment.

According to the studies of Jonathan Wai, Brad Bushman, and Yakup Cetin, a number of gifted children who participated in their research project had decreased academic performance after they viewed cartoons that contained images of graphic violence.

Wai, Bushman, and Cetin are all experienced, academic researchers. Wai is a research scientist at Duke University. Bushman is psychology professor at Ohio State Univesity. Cetin is a foreign language department director at Fatih University in Istanbul. These three researchers tested 74 children who are gifted students from Turkey.

They also tested 70 average Turkish students over the course of their six-month study, which was conducted last year. The three researchers were also assisted by a doctoral student who was attending Fatih University in 2015. A summary of the study’s findings was published in an article of a The Conversation, a digital publication that covers analyses by academic researchers.

Here is a fraction of the summary, which was written by the three researchers:

Conversely, when the gifted pupils were shown the cartoon without violence, they outperformed the others on both the pre-test and the post-test. This suggests that it was the violence in the cartoons that reduced the gifted pupils’ mental performance, rather than simply watching a cartoon. Overall, all kids underperformed after watching the violence, but the gifted kids showed a greater performance drop. (

The summary that was written by these three great academic researchers begged a very good question. Are gifted children more sensitive? Here is how they went about answering that question in their summary:

Our study adds to the evidence that gifted children do face disadvantages or challenges, specifically when it comes to exposure to screen violence. Violence in the media impacts children generally, but our study shows that this negative impact is amplified for pupils with higher intelligence(

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