From: Lawrence Foard (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Jun 21 2003 - 22:12:29 MDT
On Sat, 21 Jun 2003, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> 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.
This whole theory sounds a bit fishy to me. Savant like abilities are
found all along the autistic spectrum, the most dramatic cases and whats
normally considered a savant are often found in those who are extremely
autistic. But its not uncommon for 'high functioning' autistics to have
both exceptionally high IQs, and still maintain some savant like
abilities as well.
The belief that TMS is activating such true savant like latent abilities
also seems unlikely. I'd think its more like the latent abilities LSD
might activate in a person. True savant abilities seem to involve
differences in brain wiring. For example I know of a person whose 'mental
super power' has been mapped by FMRI, it turns out that this ability uses
a much larger area of his brain than it would in normal people. In turn
he has a severe deficit in the ability that would have resided in the area
taken over by the special ability. Its often these dramatic peaks and
valleys in abilities which are seen in autism, true savants just being
people in whom both the peaks and valleys are exceptional in size. Given
enough deep valleys in abilities and your going to do quite poorly on
IQ tests, thus the 'idiot' part of 'idiot savant'.
> 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.
Here I will agree. But I think such a feat of dog drawing might come just
as easily from drugs, hypnosis, meditation, or any other means of
accessing alternate states of consciousness. Without the brain
rewiring to accompany it, I don't believe any of these means will
give an ordinary unpracticed person the full dog drawing a ability of a
true dog drawing savant. A true dog drawing savant would do such a good
job you'd feel the picture drooling on you.
-- Be a counter terrorist perpetrate random senseless acts of kindness Rave: Immanentization of the Eschaton in a Temporary Autonomous Zone. We are nothing but sunlight detours, in the road between fusion and eternity.
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