Finding your Balance Between Gifted Verbal and Imaginal Thinking Across the Lifespan

Finding your Balance Between Gifted Verbal and Imaginal Thinking Across the Lifespan
is the title of an article by Willem Kuipers that was published in Volume 18, 2019 of the American journal ‘Advanced Development, a Journal on Adult Giftedness’.
This refereed journal is published by The Institute for the Study of Advanced Development, Inc., (ISAD) a nonprofit research institution in Westminster, Colorado.
More information on the Advanced Development Journal can be found here.
The article of 20 pages may be downloaded as a pdf-file .


Due to their intensity, complexity, and drive, the gifted and extra intelligent may experience relatively large inner changes across their lifespan, possibly leading to new career ambitions.
I have developed tools to make these changes and their possible consequences visible, relating them to my clients’ personal experiences. Starting from the differences between verbal and imaginal thinking, I introduce a scattergram to visualize positions and possible changes in the two modes. I then apply Epstein’s Cognitive-Experiential Theory (CET) to broaden the concept of verbal versus imaginal thinking to rational versus experiential thinking.
The CET frame and wording are very well suited to explain changes in preference and ability to “following the head or the heart” across the lifespan and contribute to finding a new balance between the two.


  • Intensity, complexity, drive and the inner experience of giftedness
    • Many forms of expression
  • Verbal and imaginal thinking
    • Imaginal thinkers prefer Xi
    • Extra imaginal thinking
    • Beyond the label Verbal or Imaginal Thinker
  • Depicting ability in both verbal and imaginal thinking
    • The construction of the Scattergram
    • Applications to career counseling
  • Cognitive-Experiential Theory
    • An introduction to Cognitive-Experiential Theory
    • Application of CET to the inner experience of giftedness over the lifespan
    • The art of balance
  • CET broadens the concept of verbal/imaginal thinking
    • CET and the scattergram
    • A lack of balance shows itself
  • Concluding remarks
  • References