This may come as no great surprise to parents or teachers, but still the implications are significant for the classroom: different brain networks exist for attention depending on whether it is novelty-induced or voluntary. So it should come as no great surprise that a child with strong attention for novelty things or ideas (perplexing puzzle, a strange objects, etc.), may still be seen to thoroughly struggle when trying hard to direct his or her attention (voluntary control). A novel stimulus captures attention passively (whether you want it to or not)while other brain pathways are responsible for attention under voluntary control.
It's those voluntary attention networks that are also more likely to take time to develop in children (including high IQ kids).
If we really appreciate this neurobiological difference, then - the question is... are we doing all we can to help teachers and parents "capture" the attention of novelty-based learners? Talented teachers (and parents) often know how to excite learning and curiosity using a variety of means (invoking wonder / awe - about beautiful things, mysteries / the unknown, puzzles, also funny stories, and the unexpected...), but they may have never been taught...it might have been they were novelty-learners themselves as kids.
As neurobiology increasingly supports the idea of novelty learning and novelty-based attention, however, may be we should think more about the educational expectations. We spend so much time trying to strengthen or speed up the development of voluntary attention, but perhaps we should spend as much time improving our capture of the attention that's already there -
Dissociable intrinsic networks for salience vs. executive control pdf
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Blessings and Burdens of High IQ
We talk more about novelty and attention issues such as this on the DVD of Day 3 of our Webinar: Attention, Sensory Processing, and Social Challenges of Gifted Children