Institute of Sports Science

Developmental pathways of talented individuals – a biographical analysis (DEPOT Study)

In this research project, we aim to examine the complex and dynamic nature of excellence development in sports, music, and mathematics from a biographical, life story perspective.

Retrospective, longitudinal studies on talent development usually examine certain variables at specific time points and not the whole biography. In this research project, we assume that these longitudinal studies depict only one part of the picture. With these methodological designs, one cannot capture the factors that high-achieving individuals themselves retrospectively consider as relevant for their own development.  As a result, one highly fruitful source for talent/giftedness research, namely the high-achievers’ own construal of relevant parameters for their success, is basically neglected.

We are particularly interested in investigating the impact of significant life events on the developmental pathways of high-achieving individuals. Additionally, we also examine psychosocial factors of talent development such as social support throughout the ‘career’.