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Savant Syndrome (An Overview of Theories and Case Studies)

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posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 02:33 AM
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reply to post by The GUT
 


My Thoughts exactly. Glad to read that you are alive and kicking The Gut.

The OP's thread should be considered a benchmark of quality concerning ATS
Standards.





posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 02:37 AM
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reply to post by Wildmanimal
 


You flatter me, sir
but I prefer to keep the complimentary posts limited to u2u. I strive to make every post count, as should we all.

Now that you've hooked me in, I love that avatar. One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies.


And thanks for the kind compliment
I'm surprised I didn't find any threads on this subject as a whole (at least not with ATS search)



edit on 7-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 05:05 AM
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cool post. i have this wacky theory that they are accessing what i have come to think of as our life library. the theory goes that our junk dna is actually a recording device that records all the events of our lives, down to the most minute detail and that is somehow quantumly entangled with an even bigger library of data. in this way, it acts like a near boundless storage device. when the normal pathways of memory are damaged, the brain in savants connects to the life library and uses it to store and retrieve data instead of the normal routes. the life library though, is very mechanical. thus, when you hear/see a savant, they are almost recounting things in a very mechanical way.

theoretically.


did you see the info on synesthesia?
edit on 7-7-2013 by undo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 03:15 PM
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Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha

Originally posted by LizardSlicks
There's a big difference between being a little weird and having a slightly impressive knack for something and being a prodigious savant. I'm sure the OP meant this thread to be a discussion and study of truly interesting and documented cases, rather than every other person alluding to themselves being a soft-core rainman.


1,000 thank yous! I couldn't have said it better myself. Indeed, I want to discuss these skills and abilities that seem to defy what we think we know about the human mind.

Having a talent for something, or an unconventional problem solving technique, is definitely not the same thing as being a prodigious savant. The ability to memorize a phone book or similar feat is not exactly something that can be done with mnemonics or memorization techniques.

Thanks for reading, understanding, and attempting to keep the thread on track.
Much appreciated.

edit on 7-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)


So you're assuming that those of who have stepped up, your "soft core rainmen", are simply utilizing learned talents and do not have savant abilities? lol Trust me, it's not learned. Let's put it this way. When my son was in the 5th grade, his school principal was trying to force me to send my son to a highly specialized boarding school and not because of his deficits. If anything, she was utterly ignoring those deficits in lieu of his "prodigious talents". Then it turned into local specialized magnet schools to which I still refused. Ultimately, because he had developed enough socially, I agreed to allow the state to send my son to college at 15. Do you know how many characters there are in Japanese? There are 50,000 kanji with around 1000 in use today. Then there is hiragana and katakana. My son was reading Japanese in about 3 mos. He's quite the little language master when he chooses to be. By the time he was 15, he'd learned Navajo, Spanish and Japanese.

Thing is, if somebody goes ahead and identifies oneself as a savant or even as I did with my son, 'borderline savant", just because the person doesn't happen to be in a youtube video, a youtube video isn't what defines a savant. I personally would never do that to my son for it would be critically bad for him emotionally. He had an EEG when he was about a year old and his screaming just about killed me. Never again.

However, what my intention here has been to highlight that the benefits (prodigious ability) and deficits (social/mental disabilities) are definitely correlated and you can see hints of that spectrum within your very own examples. That spectrum is really very important especially if you are attempting to do any form of research on the subject.

That said, I have never memorized a phone book but when I was little, I did memorize a dictionary by reading it twice because I thought it'd be useful. Funny thing is, you'll note that I don't count myself as a savant. My son is more of a savant than I.



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 03:23 PM
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daniel tammet has a weird form of synesthesia, he reads it like a 3 dimensional landscape that his inner vision is flying along and reading. the description and drawing of it, looks like body tissue (junk dna perhaps). it's freaky cool.

here's his story


part 2
www.youtube.com...

part 3
www.youtube.com...

part 4
www.youtube.com...

part 5
www.youtube.com...



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by undo
daniel tammet has a weird form of synesthesia, he reads it like a 3 dimensional landscape that his inner vision is flying along and reading. the description and drawing of it, looks like body tissue (junk dna perhaps). it's freaky cool.

here's his story


part 2
www.youtube.com...

part 3
www.youtube.com...

part 4
www.youtube.com...

part 5
www.youtube.com...


Daniel is my favorite savant. I saw these videos years ago and my favorite part was when he said that he can't walk on the beach because his brain can't stop counting the grains of sand.
edit on 7-7-2013 by csimon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by csimon
 


do remember the part when julian asher, the researcher from cambridge who also had synesthesia, asked daniel to explain what his synesthesia was like? and he started drawing pictures of it? that looked very organic to me, like he was moving mentally across the surface of a membrane of some cell tissue that formed shapes that indicated what number was stored there.

edit on 7-7-2013 by undo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 7 2013 @ 03:53 PM
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it's at this point in the video
daniels synesthesia



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:44 AM
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Great thread SnF

I remember watching an episode of Stan Lees superhumans and they had the rainman guy on it.
They did a scan of his brain while he did his thing and found that when he was being "Savantish" it was using the part of his brain that recognised faces/shapes or something that wasnt the usual number area.

Basically meant he could tell you what 549,756,835,945 squared was as easily as we could recognise our mothers.
My theory is just faulty wiring, in some cases lucky and benficial faulty wiring but faulty none the less.

I wish I was a Savant



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:58 PM
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Great post! This topic has always been extremely fascinating to me. I actually went to school with a guy that was autistic with some savant qualities. He was well known in the school for remembering birthdays. He knew hundreds of birthdays after only being told once. You could also give him any date in the future and he could tell you the exact day of the week it would fall on. It is possible he had more savant-like abilities, but I never found out because it was quite difficult to get him to communicate. I sometimes felt guilty for asking him questions, and I often got annoyed hearing people ask "Adam, when is my birthday?" His abilities were amazing, and kids were constantly quizing him on dates. Maybe it didn't bother him, but I felt bad for him because it seemed like that was the only time anyone talked to him.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 06:41 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 


Standing Ovation on this one, NB! Simply fantastic thread! S&F for sure!


I read half-way through, but have to get up to prepare for work now. I'll finish it later.

Awesome subject and presentation!



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 07:24 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 



How is it possible? Jay told Pelley he doesn't know where the music comes from, but it comes fully written -- playing like an orchestra in his head.

"It's as if the unconscious mind is giving orders at the speed of light," says Jay. "You know, I mean, so I just hear it as if it were a smooth performance of a work that is already written, when it isn't."
All the kids are downloading music these days. But Jay, with his composing program, is downloading it from his head.


There are times when I'll be near the edge of sleep and all the sudden a classical piece will start playing. Not out loud through the speakers in my house, but in my head. Full formed symphonies beyond beauty that are so gripping I begin to cry. Then as I wake myself up I try to jot down the notes, but while the lingering memory holds ... my ability to copy it fails. And all that remains is a distant humming of the melody.
edit on 8-7-2013 by ZeroSumWinner because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 07:57 PM
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Originally posted by undo
daniel tammet has a weird form of synesthesia, he reads it like a 3 dimensional landscape that his inner vision is flying along and reading. the description and drawing of it, looks like body tissue (junk dna perhaps). it's freaky cool.


My brother has his Ph.D. in mathematics. Ever since we were kids he has always equated colors to numbers. He says it is just as potent now as it ever way. He says 5 is blue with white flecks. 40 is brownish with a texture like sanded down wood. I can even point to an object and he says each thing has a "feel" of being a number. As a kid you know you tend to accept about anything. However as I got older into my teens. I really didn't really believe him. So one summer I decided to see if I could trick him. We went out to a friends house in Vermont (we lived in NY at the time). While we were there I asked him what number each thing was. Some of the numbers were huge like 789,149. Since I knew we wouldn't be back for a year. I secretly wrote down what he told me into a spreadsheet. I had about fifty things on my list. Next summer when we went for our annual visit. I asked him if he could do it again. He said sure, like it was nothing. Then without a hitch, everything I pointed at he rattled off the number no problem — totally blew me away.
edit on 8-7-2013 by ZeroSumWinner because: secretly (important!)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by IkNOwSTuff
My theory is just faulty wiring, in some cases lucky and benficial faulty wiring but faulty none the less.

I wish I was a Savant


Wouldn't that be improved wiring?


There's always the old hit yourself in the head with a hammer trick and hope for the best.


Hey it worked for this guy!



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 08:51 PM
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Originally posted by ZeroSumWinner

There are times when I'll be near the edge of sleep and all the sudden a classical piece will start playing. Not out loud through the speakers in my house, but in my head. Full formed symphonies beyond beauty that are so gripping I begin to cry. Then as I wake myself up I try to jot down the notes, but while the lingering memory holds ... my ability to copy it fails. And all that remains is a distant humming of the melody.
edit on 8-7-2013 by ZeroSumWinner because: (no reason given)


Exactly the same with me. Now you know why I'm the sleepy buddha
Some of the greatest music, art, and beauty I've ever been exposed to has happened in various stages of my sleep.

Now you know why I believe that some of these savant traits could be latent in all of us. I think it's extremely important to learn more about it because it may teach us something about the entire human species.

I think it's worth investigating how we can spontaneously create music or exhibit other spontaneous abilities, and where these abilities come from.

Frankly, I just can't wrap my head around someone who has never even sat down at a piano before playing Tchaikovsky note-for-note flawlessly on a first attempt. This is boggling to me beyond "rational" explanation


edit on 8-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 06:24 AM
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Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha

Originally posted by ZeroSumWinner

There are times when I'll be near the edge of sleep and all the sudden a classical piece will start playing. Not out loud through the speakers in my house, but in my head. Full formed symphonies beyond beauty that are so gripping I begin to cry. Then as I wake myself up I try to jot down the notes, but while the lingering memory holds ... my ability to copy it fails. And all that remains is a distant humming of the melody.
edit on 8-7-2013 by ZeroSumWinner because: (no reason given)


Exactly the same with me. Now you know why I'm the sleepy buddha
Some of the greatest music, art, and beauty I've ever been exposed to has happened in various stages of my sleep.

Now you know why I believe that some of these savant traits could be latent in all of us. I think it's extremely important to learn more about it because it may teach us something about the entire human species.

I think it's worth investigating how we can spontaneously create music or exhibit other spontaneous abilities, and where these abilities come from.

Frankly, I just can't wrap my head around someone who has never even sat down at a piano before playing Tchaikovsky note-for-note flawlessly on a first attempt. This is boggling to me beyond "rational" explanation


edit on 8-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)


This has happened to me all my life during sleep too.

I get all kinds of different melodies flowing through my head. Anything from classical piano, rock 'n roll, country, to rip-roaring heavy metal.
I even hear the words to the songs!

I wake up thinking, 'Wow! I have a hit here!'
Then it fades away as I wake up to get paper and pen.
I really need to leave a voice recorder beside my bed for when this happens.


I have played the piano and guitar by ear ever since I was real young. I took piano lessons, but never could get the hang of reading music. I just let it flow as I hear it being played on the radio.
Would this have anything to do with being Savant?

I also read that "the musically inclined on the other side" will send songs out to us, and also, great new ideas for products people come up with out of nowhere. The first one to put the idea into motion, making it a reality on Earth, is the winner, so to speak.


Have you ever had an idea for a new product, only to see it "just released" for sale a few weeks later, and thought, 'that was my idea...they stole my idea!'
That's what I'm talking about.

So, I guess my question is, are these thoughts coming from "the other side", or is it explained because of us having Savant Syndrome? (Maybe I'll find the answer as I finish reading the thread? )

I hope you can make sense out of my post. I've been up all night, and my brain is tired... it's difficult to think of how to word things when I'm sleepy, to get my point across.

Having said that, I'll leave it at this until I get some sleep.
I look forward to reading more here on this topic.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 06:29 AM
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Originally posted by sled735
Have you ever had an idea for a new product, only to see it "just released" for sale a few weeks later, and thought, 'that was my idea...they stole my idea!'
That's what I'm talking about.

All the darn time! I've invented a lot of products, and written a lot of songs and movies, but just didn't get the chance to develop them first
..of course, you'll just have to take my word for it.


So, I guess my question is, are these thoughts coming from "the other side", or is it explained because of us having Savant Syndrome? (Maybe I'll find the answer as I finish reading the thread? )


I think Carl Jung was spot-on with his collective unconscious idea. There is no "other side" as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion, each of us is a living representative of one mind.

I can't help but wonder if prodigious savants just have better access to this collective unconscious mind. Teaching yourself an instrument isn't so remarkable--playing a flawless rendition of Tchaikovsky on the first try is!

edit on 9-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 


Being musically trained, I've recorded down music heard in a dream as well. Then there are those times when I'm listening to a song for the first time and I know every swell, transition and note that is about to occur. I call those songs "perfect songs" because they almost feel like they come from something that we all share. Then again, I was the product of the Creativity Movement that was seeking a way to access what was held as the Aztec "smoking mirror" or the "numinous element", considering it to be the universal code beneath the reality of the universe. So significant chance that my thoughts or queries about from whence this sort of thing comes may be one that is more learned than actually concluded upon independently. Then again, it is interesting nonetheless that so many composers, authors, inventors, and artists have a tendency of describing the phenomena that occurs in the process of invention to feel somewhat akin to or outright possession. John Curtis Gowan proposed that it was the numinous element at work within those that were prodigiously talented--the savants and the extremely precocious. He had all sorts of theories about these children, some of them being potentially cracked out such as them being higher beings within the numinous who, for whatever reason, chose to be born. Then again, those kind of thoughts could be expected in an era framed by a certain recreational fascination.
edit on 9/7/13 by WhiteAlice because: oops!






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