What causes savant syndrome?
What are the symptoms of autism?
What is intelligence?
Is the test “culture-fair” or do the answers require specific knowledge
available only to certain (sub) cultures?
More than academic question
Dove (1968) – “Chitterling test”
Dr. J.L. Down (1887)… Idiot Savant”
“Idiot” was accepted category of mental retardation at the time
o I.Q. < 25
Excel in narrow range of abilities
o Lightening fast math
o Calendar calculations
o Mechanical or spatial abilities
Other reports of ability in
o Time estimation
o Sensory discrimination
Common: music + blind + autistic
Can have multiple skills
All seem to be in right hemisphere
All linked with phenomenal (but narrow) memory
Very rare… less than 100 reports of prodigious ability
Only 25 living savants
6 times morel likely in males than females
1. Eidetic Imaging
a. Perhaps savants have “photographic” memory… unlikely b. Calculations beyond published data
c. High % are blind
a. Early studies suggest family relationship
b. But recent data suggest “No”
c. 1 in 23 relatives of 5 savants
3. Sensory Deprivation
a. Resulting from autism… promotes intense concentration