Worn by Audrey Fleurot, the HPI series follows the adventures of Morgane Alvaro – a character with high intellectual potential – recruited by the police for her intellectual abilities beyond normal. Season 3, which begins on TF1, is an opportunity to focus on the realities and myths inherent in this intellectual trait.
Dropping out of school, exacerbated clumsiness, psychological suffering… In recent years, the profile of High Intellectual Potential (HPI) has been gaining momentum… and in received ideas. The representation that is made of it very often contributes to the dissemination of false beliefs.
“High Intellectual Potential is a form of giftedness, particularly high cognitive intelligence – i.e. an IQ over 130 “, explains Luc Martrenchar, clinical psychologist in Paris and specialist in the matter. “But contrary to a widespread belief, the High Potential is not a defect or a psychic disorder, it is a gift, a talent which creates a massive discrepancy with most people.“
“Feels like an alien”
How do these discrepancies manifest themselves? In fact, certain character traits are common to High Potential people. “Often they have a feeling of being (very) different from most others, sometimes to the point of feeling like an alien“, continues the psychologist. “They also exhibit (very) fast, original and creative thinking. They are sometimes considered by others to be ‘too much’: too emotional, too intense, they ask too many questions. They have the feeling of having to act immediately, their curiosity is often overflowing, they are often perfectionists…“.
These character traits can also be found in the general population. So much so that many parents wake up one morning convinced that their offspring is HPI. So no, high potential is not necessarily synonymous with academic difficulties. And as Luc Martrenchar points out, “We don’t self-diagnose! Many people claim to be HPI without ever having taken a test. They tell me: when you are gifted, you know it, you don’t need a test. But the test is essential. It You need a psychological assessment that includes at least an official IQ test: the WAIS (from 16 years old), the WISC (for 6-16 year olds) or the WPPSI (for young children). specialist psychologist. As for the tests on the internet, they do not have the necessary scientific validity at all..”
Human calculator: myth or reality?
For 2 seasons (the third debuting on TF1), the HPI series has been highlighting the daily life of a person with high potential. In this case, Morgane Alvaro, whose abilities led her to be recruited by the police. But is this daily life realistic? “The line is VERY magnified“, confirms the psychologist. “But it is interesting to talk about HPIs. Because even today, the vast majority of people concerned live without discovering their gift… and therefore without being able to use it. Before detection, this misunderstood difference can cause a lot of pain. But of course, the side ‘human calculator’, the side ‘Sherlock Holmes’ or the lack of humility that characterizes the heroine are in fact rather rare among HPI.“
However, for the specialist, the series transcribes “some aspects quite well. We are talking here about speed of thought, highly developed mental arithmetic skills, careful attention to detail, the need to solve problems and puzzles, extraordinary memory, difficulty in enduring authority if it is not fully fair, frequent change of work (due to boredom), keenness of hearing or other sense, a certain originality, rebelliousness, ability to follow several conversations at the same time… Or even, even if this is rather rare, synesthesia, that is to say to see letters in color or visualize sounds in the form of a curve in the space.”
One question remains: what do the HPI people think of the series? “Those who told me about it don’t like it at all“, answers the psychologist. Before adding that “those who enjoyed it may have simply not told me about it.“