Savant syndrome is a neuropsychiatric syndrome that involves a combination of special skills and cognitive deficits. It is a collective name for a group of symptoms, where the diagnosed – not too rarely even have a developmental disability – develops skills that are, to say the least, extraordinary. These extraordinary talents are almost always combined with an incredible memory where the remarkable is the ability to remember details.
One feature is that patients with Savant syndrome focus on details rather than on the context, which is called weak central coherence. Ordinary the brain sees the world through the filter of our past experiences. The filter ensures that our brain summarizes and weeds out millions of details and makes it easier for us to concentrate on only the essentials. When we are out driving, for example, we do not think about and save every single detail as the eye can see, but we focus on the most important and rapidly clear away what we do not need. The brain of the patients with Savant syndrome saves everything that comes in, and it is what makes them so incapable in everyday life.
People with savant syndrome shows for the most up-like talents, which helped to split such patients, and their talents in several different categories: calendar counting, music, mental arithmetic, art, mechanical ability, sensory discernment, precise sense of time, memory talent, etc.
There are also distinguished two different groups of Savant syndrome patients depending on their level of brilliance: talented and ingenious. Only a few people around the world – fewer than 50 people – reach the highest level and two of them are Kim Peek, Stephen Wiltshire.
What is remarkable about the Savant patients is that they demonstrate their skills and talents without have ever been trained in those areas. They have not received special training or equivalent, to train the memory, musical ability, or their artistry, but these talents stand by themselves and are always spectacular.
There are different thoughts and theories about what causes savant syndrome, but the most accepted theory is that there are flaws in savants’ minds that contributed to their brilliance.
These shortcomings, also known as damages, are found mainly in savants’ left hemisphere and compensated by the right hemisphere becomes more powerful. The talents that most savants exhibits, connected just to the right hemisphere including accounting for spatial ability, are musical talent and detail focus.
The damage to the left hemisphere can occur in utero, but also later in life, for example by a stroke. They argue that in utero damage from the left hemisphere due to the amount of testosterone found in the fetus, which causes certain develops savant syndrome and others do not. Testosterone inhibits the development of the brain and the left hemisphere is especially vulnerable as it develops more slowly than the right hemisphere. To compensate for this, the balance in the brain shifts to the right side.
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