RE: First replicable human IE?

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Sat Jun 21 2003 - 20:05:40 MDT

Ramez wrote,
> From: Brian Atkins []
> > Is it just me or does the procedure followed in these
> > experiments suffer both from letting the subjects
> > pre-practice the task to be measured, and
> > also probably a significant placebo effect?
> And the difficulty in quantifying the effect, and a lack of good
> controls.
> A quick search of Medline shows no published papers by Snyder relating
> to TMS. His list of publications on his website also shows no
> peer-reviewed papers on this topic.
> The research sounds interesting, but I'm skeptical.

My own view is that they are correct in their belief that this effect is
mimicking a savant. However, psychological theories of savants are that
they are lacking certain functions of the brain. They are not more creative
or more capable. By selectively shutting down certain higher functions of
the brain, they are tapping into more lower-order functions. For example,
drawing a dog is not creative. The person remembers a dog and copies the
image. Shutting down higher functions actually makes this easier. The
restricted brain doesn't see a holistic dog as much as it can see a bunch of
lines and shapes at a lower level. This level of copying is easier.

This is similar to the "focus" drugs in Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the
Sky". It is probably also similar to any drug functions that suppress the
more rational centers of the brain and seem to allow more creativity. They
work by suppressing parts of the brain, not enhancing anything.

Harvey Newstrom, CISM, CISSP, IAM, IBMCP, GSEC
Certified InfoSec Manager, Certified IS Security Pro, NSA-certified
InfoSec Assessor, IBM-certified Security Consultant, SANS-cert GSEC
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