How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Savant Brains
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Savant Brains

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


0 posted 01-15-2003 06:01 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

I saw an interesting documentary on the Discovery Channel the other day regarding savants and how their brains operate.  Here is some background:

quote:
Just over a hundred years ago, scientists began studying this strange condition. It was originally termed "idiot savant" meaning foolish wise one. The condition is extremely rare, only a hundred or so cases have been recorded in this century. Skills can range from lightning fast mathematical abilities, to musical or artistic talents, to calendar counting—an ability to tell in an instant what day of the week any date, past or future falls on.

Many theories have been put forth to explain the savant phenomena. Snyder however believes that it is the autistic nature of their brain, or the disorder itself, which allows them to harness these incredible talents ...

... Have [Drs.] Miller and Snyder begun to uncover the source of savant abilities? And in doing so, might we unlock the key to manifesting these incredible skills within anyone?


... And the link:

http://health.discovery.com/premiers/fragments/fragments.html

My firsthand experience with many autistics leads me to believe that unlocking these abilities in so-called neurotypicals would not be all it's cracked up to be.  It seems to me that the disability and savant abilities are interconnected ... you can't have one without the other.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (01-16-2003 08:08 AM).]

Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


1 posted 01-15-2003 08:23 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I would agree with you, Jim. I think a very simple, albeit poor, comparison might be the increased capacity of the other senses that a blind person experiences, that wouldn't be so well honed otherwise.
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


2 posted 01-16-2003 10:33 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Denise:

The brain seems to have built-in filters that prevent our senses from being overwhelmed by stimuli.  Imagine, for example, not being able to shut out the rush of sensory information bombarding you when walking down a busy city street.  The experience - sounds, lights, smells, etc. - would be overwhelming.  It is worth noting, I think, that many autistics with sensory integrative disfunction seem to withdraw within themselves and/or engage in self-injurious behavior.

I can see the advantages of being able to "disengage" the filter while in a quiet room with a book, then "reengage" it to reflect on the material you've absorbed, but that also assumes that the savant-like abilities are not adaptations the brain undergoes during development to compensate for the rapid absorbtion of raw sensory data.  In my opinion, there is much research to do before we start fumbling around with the gray matter.

Jim

Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


3 posted 01-16-2003 02:12 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Jim

I read this post last night and have been thinking about it ever since, I remember watching a BBC programme several years ago that featured a young lad who had the ability to draw extremely accurate pencil drawings of architectural scenes after only one quick glance at the subject. I have little knowledge of autism, only bits and pieces that I’ve picked up or read while studying other topics, one thing that has always struck me about savants and autism in general is that people always approach the subject as if there is a defect or malfunction involved. There is an alternative possibility - that autism and the incidence of savant skills are a consequence of perfection.

It’s generally accepted that human thinking revolves around patterns and our ability to recognise them, everything we do, say or learn is directly linked to pattern recognition. I know my son by the pattern of his face I understand his words due to the association of patterns of tonal change and inflection with meaning. Autism seems to be an inability to recognise these patterns, at least to my untrained eye, but could the condition not stem from an overabundance of pattern recognition? Faced with too much information is it not possible that the subject may simply be unable to cope with the available data? The existence of Savants lends credence to this assumption, if savants are able to deal with certain pattern recognition, architectural shapes for instance, and their condition or ability to recognise patterns of that type is highly developed. To a point where they are near perfect , wouldn’t that offer a possible explanation of why savant abilities are so acute while other pattern related functions are suppressed?

All this is pure assumption of course and the wanderings of my own feeble mind, though there are some aspects of Autism that point towards pattern recognition as an important part of this condition. As I understand it people with autism display repetitive behaviour, swaying, hand flapping etc.  I also understand that in some cases repetitive or patterned behaviour is an integral requirement of their day to day lives, eating the same foods on certain days and at set times for instance. Could this attempt to create patterns stem from the inability to process the myriad patterns overloading their thought process? Could they be too good at recognising patterns?
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 01-16-2003 08:27 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Phaedrus,

I don't know about that. It sounds mysteriously like a teleology but it seems clear that autism is a condition that is not well suited for dealing with the semantic or physical worlds. I don't see you can go that route without following into metaphysical dualism.

Of course, the only person around here that wants to avoid that route is me so maybe it's not such a big deal.

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


5 posted 01-17-2003 12:30 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't really have anything to add (was that the sound of applause in the background?), but wanted to thank Jim for the link, and especially for the more in-depth links that led from that page. Some fascinating reading.

Brad, if you haven't already followed the second link (A Theory About Genius), I think you'll be interested in some of the observations on the use of language. Or, rather, the lack of language. For example, "In fact, he (Einstein) believed that words and numbers, as they are written or spoken, did not play a significant role in his thinking process." There seems to be an implication that language, rather than contributing to complex thoughts, limits them.
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


6 posted 01-17-2003 03:45 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Phaedrus:

I think you are on the right track.  Many people can see little more than the outward "negative" manifestations of the disorder.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that autism is a consequence of perfection, but I would venture to say that many people with autism have remarkable talents and can do, naturally, what many of us may never be able to achieve even with years of practice.

I think the key is that nearly every person with autism has the potential to, at the very least, live self-sufficiently and independently.  I see no reason to limit the high end of their capabilities any more than I would limit yours or mine.  At any rate, I think the general populace needs to be aware that a meanful investment in their education now will very likely yield a more meaningful return on that investment.

I'm afraid I do not have answers to your other questions (regarding, for example, whether the challenges associated with their disability are linked to their inability to filter out the influx of raw information).  In a few years, I expect my son will be able to tell me what he is thinking and experiencing.

Brad & Ron:

Thanks for replying.  Ron, you're welcome.

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (01-17-2003 03:47 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 01-17-2003 09:46 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim and Ron,

Are you trying to piss me off?

I read that article, it says no such thing.

Brad

PS In a fight with my wife right now so probably guilty of projection/transference at the moment.
Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


8 posted 01-18-2003 07:02 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


I read the genius article and also found this.
quote:
It is almost as if I have two consciences. Pictures are my real thoughts, and language acts as a narrator. I narrate from the "videos" and "slides" I see in my imagination. For example, my language narrator might say, "I can design that." I then see a video of the equipment I am designing in my imagination. When the correct answer pops into my head, it is a video of the successful piece of equipment working. At this point, my language narrator says, "I figured out how to do it." In my mind there is no subconscious. Images are constantly passing through the computer screen of my imagination. I can see thought processes that others have covered up with language. I do not require language for either consciousness or for thinking.

The above is taken from an article I stumbled on while researching a little background on the thinking process, it’s one of those bits and pieces I was talking about earlier. If you hit the “return” button at the bottom of the article there’s a whole page full of interesting links concerning the thinking process itself and its relationship with autism.
http://www.autism.org/temple/genius.html
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


9 posted 01-21-2003 03:25 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

You're an easy target ... what more can I say?

Phaedrus:

I'm familiar with Temple Grandin.  She is a fascinating human being.  But I think what she meant to say is that she does not require "words" for consciousness or thinking.  Pictures can certainly function as language.  In fact, they serve as an important augmentative communication function for my son.  See the following link:

http://www.pecs.com/page5.html

Gang:

If you want to get into the head of people with autism, Grandin's an excellent person to start with.

Jim
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


10 posted 01-21-2003 03:33 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ron:

Here is another link for you since I know you get bored with the general.

Jim

http://www.envmed.rochester.edu/wwwvgl/jaba_articles/2002/charlop-35-213.pdf
jbouder will be notified of replies
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Savant Brains Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors