Savant Syndrome (2) .pdf
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Author: William Beasley
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Savants are a special case of people
who have a savant-like ability or an ability that
surpasses that of a normal person but at the
same time being disabled at a different task.
The abilities that savants can have can be
anything, ranging from perfect recollection of
the past, or being naturally gifted at pinball.
There has been many studies to show that the
physical make up of their brain are not different
than ours in any way, because of this the cause
of Savant Syndrome today is largely a mystery.
In the past savants have been seen as people
with lower mental ability this is because at the
expense of incredibly unique and amazing
abilities savants often are not able to express
themselves or communicate, giving savants a
Notable examples of savants include Daniel
Tammet, Temple Grandin, Kim Peek, and
Alonzo Clemons. Each of these individuals have
very unique abilities, including being able to
make extremely complex calculations mentally
and being a perfect sculptor.
Daniel Tammet, pictured above, is a savant that
has a savant like ability in mathematics due to
synthesia. Synthesia is a neurological
phenomenon where the senses are blurred
allowing numbers or another topics to have a
color, shape or feeling associated with it. Daniel
was born in 1979, where his parents noticed
nothing very particular about his behavior,
however he did have epilepsy and frequent
seizures. Doctors think that this is the cause of
his Savantism and Synthesia, and this was jump
started by one of his seizures.
Daniel was diagnosed with Asperger’s
Syndrome at the age of 25. He then became
one of the most famous savants to ever live
having memorized at 20,000 digits. Another
reason he has become so famous because while
his math is flawless so is his English, Daniel can
communicate fluently in many languages
including Icelandic, a quite difficult language to
learn which he did so in a week.
Recent discoveries have found that it is possible
that we all contain a savant ability one small
supporting clue to this is that the brain of a
savant and the brain of a normal person are the
same, with the exception of savants with other
conditions that would lead to a different shaped
brain. While the brain is shaped exactly the
same where the processing takes place is
completely different. The general consensus
among psychologist is that the left half of our
brain that does language, logic, and speech,
inhibits the right side of our brain. However this
is not the case with savants which usually have
a damaged left hemisphere, with the damaged
left hemisphere the right half with compensate
and preform at a much higher level allowing
savants to actually recognize what we all see
but fail to notice. Prof. Allan Snyder of the
University of Sydney is working on a study that
uses Transcranial magnetic stimulation to
temporarily weaken the left hemisphere and
the effect of this is kicking the right hemisphere
into overdrive. By doing this Snyder is able to
recreate some of the savant like abilities into a
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