Guide Bright Splinters of the Mind: A Personal Story of Research with Autistic Savants

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Add to cart. Description Details Customer Reviews Little is understood about the nature of the extraordinary talents of some people with autism. On the down side, weak central coherence can account for the autistic tendency to see the world as unpredictable and chaotic.


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In the forties, Kanner noted that autistics prefer stability and routine. He surmised that this was part of an effort to inject order into an otherwise disordered experience.

On the up side, while autistics tend to perceive individual details, they are also able to do this with greater focus and accuracy. With this as her starting point, Hermelin and her associates devised a series of ingenious experiments to learn whether indeed the weak central coherence theory might help to account for savant talents. By comparing and contrasting the work of these two poets, Hermelin established that Kate employed similes, metaphors, and other poetic devices with equal facility to her non-autistic counterpart.

Therefore, excellence in the area of poetry can coexist alongside an otherwise inefficient use of language. What this chapter establishes is that weak central coherence in general does not preclude the ability to arrive at strong coherence in certain areas of cognition. In the chapters that follow, Hermelin investigates the abilities of several savants in a variety of domains.

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He mastered much of the vocabulary of several and was able to supply accurate person-verb agreement when necessary. She begins her chapter on this topic with an exploration of the complexity of our present Gregorian calendar lest there be any doubt that the ability to say that August 8, falls on a Tuesday is a remarkable feat indeed. Hermelin maintains that autistic calendar calculators begin with a fascination for individual dates such as birthdays and holidays.

Attention to these details gives way to a knowledge of dates for its own sake.

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References Treffert DA. The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition. A synopsis: past, present, future. Down J. London, Churc- hill, New York, Guilford, Treffert D. New York, Harper and Row, Heaton P, Wallace GL. Annotation: the savant syndrome.

J Child Psychol Psychiatry ; Hill AL.

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Idiot savants: Rate of incidence. Percept Mot Skills ; — Rimland, B. Savant capabilities of autistic children and their cognitive implications. New York, Brunner-Mazel, Hermelin B. London, Kingsley, Incidence of savant skills in Finland. Savants: Mentally retarded individuals with special skills.

New York, Academic Press, Geschwind N, Galaburda AM. Peek F. The Real Rain Man.

Treffert D, Wallace G. Islands of genius.

Bright Splinters of the Mind: A Personal Story of Research with Autistic Savants

Sci Am ; Rimland B, Fein DA. Special talents of autistic savants. Savant or Idiot Savant Syndrome. Rev Neurol. Nettelbeck T, Young R. Intelligence and savant syndrome: Is the whole greater than the sum of the fragments? Intelligence ; — Brain ; — Eidetic imagery; Longitudinal results in brain-damaged children. Am J Ment Defic ; — Young R, Nettelbeck T.

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The abilities of a musical savant and his family. J Autism Dev Disord ; — Critchley M. The Divine Banquet of the Brain. New York, Raven Press, Tredgold, AF. Mental Deficiency. Barr MW. Some notes on echolalia, with the report of an extraordinary case. J Nerv Ment Dis ; — Memories and habits: two neural systems.

157 Dr. Darold Treffert Genius, Savants, Autism & Human Potential - Legends & Losers Podcast

Obsessive, prolific artistic output following subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurology ; —