Savant is a shortened term for the autistic savant
or idiot savant
. An autistic savant, by this definition is a person with the syndrome autism
that causes children to be anti-social, and not able to understand things well, who somehow displays extraordinary skill
normally present in well studied and learn
Autistic savants have shown many incredible abilities, including :
- Drawing a complicated scene from memory with perfect detail (as young as age 3).
- Figuring out large numerical calculations in seconds
- Determining the day of the week for any date with a 20,000 year period
- Extraordinary musical talent, such as playing a piece perfectly after hearing it once
- and other dramatic abilities
Recent studies have proposed that everyone has savant-like capabilites, but they are usually masked by a higher layer brain function that autistic people do not have. When an autistic child draws a horse, she would merely copy a mental picture
, not knowing what she drew, while a normal child would realize the basic element
s of a picture (a horse has a torso, head, 4 legs) and try to recreate the animal from that.
One doctor, Allan Snyder, took normal people, and by temporarily deactivating a part of the brain using magnetic stimulation he simiulated autism and some of his patients/subjects showed savant-like capabilities during the experiment. Once the conceptualizing layer of computation in the brain is stripped away, everyone may have savant capabilities.