S.T.E.A.M. Day

Characteristics of gifted babies (0 – 2 years old)

We titled this article “characteristics of gifted babies” because unlike older children, there are no concrete ways to tell if they are gifted. But there are a few traits shared among gifted babies to look out for. 


Being a “fussy” baby

Sometimes babies who have been fed, changed, clothed will still be fussy or demanding. This might not mean a troublesome personality but actually a lack of mental stimulation. When babies are young and immobile, the only mental stimulation they have access to is what is in their line of sights. Gifted babies can become habituated to new stimuli quicker relative to regular babies. Parents of gifted children often recall having to change the position of their baby around every 20 minutes to prevent them from crying. 


Faster habituation to new stimuli 

A landmark study researching cognitive development in gifted babies found that gifted babies habituated (a decrease in response to stimuli after repeated presentations) to new stimuli much faster relative to non-gifted babies. Their accelerated habituation implies that gifted babies store and recognize sensory information differently (and more efficiently) compared to other babies. 

Furthermore, when gifted babies were presented with new stimuli, they tended to shift their focus onto it for longer periods of time compared to other babies who were quickly distracted or non-responsive. The researchers concluded that gifted babies were better at translating their sensory experiences into knowledge through their thoughts and experiences. 


Sensual overexcitabilities

Sensual overexcitabilities are when babies have a heightened experience of their sense of touch, smell, hearing, textures and tastes. This can result in increased pleasure or displeasure derived from these sensations. Common traits associated with sensual overexcitability includes: 

  • Dislike walking on textured surfaces barefoot 
  • Get sick from the smell of certain foods 
  • Sensitivity to pollution 
  • Possible issues with overeating 
  • Love for particular pieces of art, music, nature 


Other possible characteristics

  • Needing less sleep 
  • Able to mimic sounds 
  • Constantly moving or looking around