Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities (OE)
“Gifted students have a greater capacity to be stimulated by and respond to external and internal stimuli.” Overexcitabilities is a term used to describe these heightened intensities. In Dabrowski’s theory, an OE is a heightened physiological response to sensory stimuli due to an increased sensitivity of neurons. In other words, a child with an OE may have an internal or external response to their environment that is intensified from what is expected—a “normal” reaction.
There are 5 main areas in which Dabrowski notes OEs, 3 of which—intellectual, emotional and imaginational—are directly supported by neuroscience research. These intensities can result in social and emotional challenges like perfectionism, underachievement, social isolation, and can sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis of common disorders/disabilities.