A common misunderstanding about bright children or students is that they should be more or less uniformly strong in all areas. But in fact, based on I.Q. testing in adults, it seems that the higher the IQ, the more unevenness in ability. One reason for this may be the remarkable regenerative potential of the brain. Unless the brain has suffered a diffuse injury, it will usually respond to injury or weakness in one area by strengthening another. A classic example is the brain reorganization of blind people to result in greater sensitivities to sound and touch.
From Ellen Winner,
"Adults with high IQs show lower correlations among subtests of the IQ than do those with ordinary IQs (Detterman & Daniel, 1989). Consistent with this, the cognitive profiles of academically gifted children are often quite uneven, with mathematical ability far outstripping verbal ability, or the reverse (Benbow & Minor, 1990). Research is needed to determine how common such uneven profiles among the gifted are, and how common it is to have gifts accompanied by absolute rather than relative weaknesses."
There often seems to be balancing act between certain systems - like words and pictures or words and music. Sometimes people seem very balanced at both, but the question is whether among people with extreme abilities - lop-sidedness or balance is more often the norm.
One of the links below is from a paper which looked at hemispheric lateralization (right brain - left brain) and cooperation during a challenging visual categorization task. The one pattern that made mathematically gifted adolescents stand out from age-matched peers or college students, was that they were better at hemispheric cooperation. So at least for these gifted math students, their more striking difference from age peers or college students was that they were more super right + left brain , rather than super-right or =left.
We've included some twice-exceptional (gifted-LD) links below. Also, there's an article about how valedictorians (well-rounded) are less likely to be eminent. Excerpt: "They obey rules, work hard and like learning, but they're not the mold breakers," said Arnold of the 81 Illinois high school valedictorians - 46 women and 35 men - she has tracked since their graduation in 1981. "They work best within the system and aren't likely to change it."
Giftedness - Ellen Winner
Interhemispheric Cooperation in Math-Gifted Teens
Valedictorians Successful, But Not Eminent
Hoagies' Twice Exceptional