Bore-out: A Challenge for Unchallenged Gifted (young) Adults

By Ellen D. Fiedler & Noks Nauta

Recognizing bore-out and overcoming it is a significant challenge for many gifted people too many of whom find themselves in tedious, unstimulating situations, feeling as if time is barely dragging by and as if their day-to-day lives have no purpose. The hunger for intellectual challenge that typifies gifted individuals makes them particularly vulnerable to bore-out in the workplace during adulthood. Boredom and bore-out already start earlier in life. Recognizing this feeling and learning to cope effectively wit this is essential for a rich and satisfying life of the gifted.

When gifted children start going to school, they often are disappointed while they had expected much more of this. Ineffective coping may consist of not being motivated for learning any more, cheating, showing aggressive behavior or having mental problems like depressive feelings or addiction to drugs (as a way to fly from reality).

When gifted adults enter the workplace, either for the first time or when changing jobs, they are often confronted with material they already know and a pace that’s too slow for them. Boredom can afflict gifted adults at work but also at home, in college classes, and even in social situations. When they trudge through life day after day without sufficient challenges, this can result in gifted adults suffering from bore-out. We also recognize it in gifted seniors. Bore-out is a condition that has only recently begun to be understood and may actually be the flip side of burnout, a well-known result of ongoing pressure and too much going on in their lives all at once.

In this article we use the experiences of gifted (young) adults to show how important it is that there is attention for boredom in gifted children as early in life as possible.

Read the article here

Elders with dementia and high intelligence

Two case studies by Terry Friedrichs Ph. D., Ed. D. & Noks Nauta MD is published in the Mensa World Journal, issue december 2019.
Posted on our site with permission of the editor
Click here for the pdf

High Intelligence and Reporting of Adverse Effects of Medication

A study by Aditi Hattangadi, Annemerle Beerthuizen, Jessica Voerman and Noks Nauta

Recently a preliminary open trial study was conducted by the Section Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy from the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam with support from the IHBV, investigating the possibility of increased reporting of adverse side-effects of medication usage, among high IQ individuals and possible underlying causes. A literature study was conducted, as well as expert and high IQ individual interviews.

The study completed the necessary groundwork for future research and formulated several likely hypotheses for further investigation. The literature study suggests an interesting point of note, that: “intellectual development is not caused by inheritance of genes that enhance IQ, but more so by avoiding inheritance of genes that deplete it.” Although the literature study reports physiological differences between high and average intelligence individuals, this study could not confirm however that there is an increased reporting of side effects between high intelligence individuals for common medications such as paracetamol, NSAID and allergy and asthma medications.

You can find the full report of the study HERE

Further research on giftedness and physical/ medical topics may for instance look into the following identified aspects common to high IQ individuals:

  • How differences in health literacy and awareness may account for different medicinal expectations.
  • How increased sensitivity to stimuli correlates with earlier reported over-arousal.
  • How personality characteristics such as for example high sensitivity and need for control and the individual’s awareness thereof affect reporting.

Lastly, larger studies may allow for the use of statistical methods to test higher reporting incidence hypotheses.

High IQ Medical Survey

Rebecca Ridolfo, Noks Nauta, June 2017
Little is known of how gifted adults interact with medical professionals and whether a high IQ is an important issue. To explore this question, Mensa members Rebecca Ridolfo and Dr Noks Nauta surveyed gifted adults from all over the world about their experiences and collated their replies into a 44-page report. The responses showed a broad spectrum of experience, yet also common themes, yielding both hair-raising and heart-warming stories and also some remarkable insights. Most importantly, they contained useful and thoughtful advice that any adult can apply towards improving their relationships with doctors and getting better healthcare results.
This study is the first of its kind globally, as far as we have been able to ascertain, and has raised further questions for future research. The report has been published by Instituut Hoogbegaafdheid Volwassenen (The Netherlands Gifted Adults Foundation) and can be found here: HERE

Very smart and without work. How is that possible?

Bruno Emans, Erik Visscher & Noks Nauta
Report in Dutch, 4 January 2017. Delft: IHBV (Gifted Adults Foundation). Original title: “Heel slim,
en toch zonder werk. Hoe kan dat? Rapport van het onderzoek naar hoogbegaafde volwassenen
zonder werk.”
English summary

Highlighting the bright side

Research report providing more insight into the positive aspects of work conflicts in the workplace of gifted adults.
Click here to download the report

Gifted and burnout in the workplace: A mixed methods study

The Gifted Adults Foundation supported Akkelijn Elshof in her master thesis on gifted adults and burnout. Ms. Elshof also presented her study during the SENG 2016 Conference in Williamsburg, VA.
Click here for the full thesis (in english).

Gifted elders: A forgotten group

An article by Noks Nauta, Ellen Fiedler and Terry Friedrichs, who form the SENG Gifted Elders Initiative.
The giftedness of many gifted elders has never been recognized and remains unseen. For gifted elders, knowing about giftedness and becoming aware of their social and emotional needs can help them live happier and more fulfilling lives.
This article is informative and the authors also warmly invite people from all over the world to tell us stories (case studies and vignettes), in which gifted seniors tell us how their needs are being fulfilled or not. These examples may help us (and other researchers) to convey to gifted elders from varied backgrounds how these seniors can better meet their needs, in either residential homes or independent-living or care facilities.

The relationship between giftedness and PTSD

An exploration by Letitia de Jong, medical student at Groningen University at the request of the Gifted Adult Foundation (IHBV), August 2015. Abstract by Manon Savelkoul and Noks Nauta.
Translation into English: Michael Gerasimoff.

‘Unknown Intelligent’ The social and emotional needs of gifted elders

Marlies Bouwman & Mieke Geertsma wrote their bachelor thesis in applied psychology based on their study on the social and emotional needs of gifted seniors. Here is the English abstract of their thesis.

Qualitative study on the knowledge about gifted seniors

Rebecca Aryee performed a qualitative study related to her bachelor study in applied psychology. She interviewed five professionals working in the care for the elderly. Here is the English abstract of her study.

Gifted adult students: tips on studying

A master thesis of a student at Open University The Netherlands (November 2013) informed us about a qualitative study into the studying experiences of gifted adults who went back to college. Based on this study, and combined with informal interviews with gifted adults, the following tips were formulated.

Full article

Other publications

The following publications are available in English:


Nauta, A.P., Jurgens, K, Gifted senior citizens: a forgotten group. This article was published in Dutch in Gerõn 14(2012) #4: 35-38. Gerõn is a Dutch journal for ageing and society.


van der Waal, I, & Nauta, A.P., & Lindhout, R., Labour Disputes of Gifted Employees, Gifted and Talented International, vol 28(1), August, 2013 and vol 28(2), Dec 2013.

Overzier, P., & Nauta, A.P., Coping with the Qualities of Giftedness, Gifted and Talented International vol 28(1), Aug 2013; and vol 28(2), Dec 2013.

Nauta, A.P., What can Parents, Teachers and Counselors Learn from the Knowledge on Gifted Adults?, NAGC Newsletter Oct 2013

Van de Ven, R. & Nauta, A.P., Gifted adults and their preferred style of learning, Translation of Dutch article, published on the website of IHBV, 2012.

Moerman, M. & Nauta, A.P., Giftedness and sleep, Translation of Dutch article, published on the website of IHBV, 2011.


Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D.P.H., Groothof, H.A.K., Ronner, S. & Nauta, A.P., Partner Preferences of the Intellectually Gifted, Marriage & Family Review, 2012, vol 48(1), p 96-
108, Abstract

Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D.P.H., Ronner, S., & Nauta, A.P., Personality and well-being: Do the intellectually gifted differ from the general population?, Advanced Development
Journal, 2012, vol 13, p 103-118. Abstract

Nauta, A.P., Ronner, S., & Brasseur, D., Good supervisors for gifted employees, Internal publication IHBV, Feb 2012.

Ronner, S., Nauta, A.P., & Brasseur, D., Recommendations based on research project “Good supervisors for gifted employees”, Internal publication IHBV. Feb 2012


Nauta, A.P., & van Eck, C., What is the opinion of members of Mensa in the Netherlands about including membership of Mensa in their CV?, Mensa International Journal, Sep 2011.

Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D., Ronner, S., & Nauta, A., Humor styles and their relationship to well-being among the gifted, Gifted and Talented International, 2011, vol 26 (1&2), p 89-
98. Abstract.

Nauta, A.P.., Moerman, M., van Thiel, M., & Smits, M., Gifted adults and their sleep, Yearbook of the NSWO, Dec 2011.