People with Amazing Talent

Daniel TammetMany (but not all) people who have Savant Syndrome were identified as savants after they sustained an injury to the left side of their brain. In addition, many (but not all) savants demonstrate mild to severe autism. Although I was researching a different topic, I wanted to learn more about Savant Syndrome. Under what conditions does it occur? What causes it? How does someone know when they have a “new” skill? Can the syndrome be turned on and off? Does a skill automatically get better over time or does practice make perfect? Who are the top researchers? What are the top books and periodicals? Do savants consider the syndrome a gift or a curse? What do savants think about the current research? How do savants feel about participating in research? Do any savants live near me? A quick scan of YouTube revealed most savants are male. I wondered if women are less likely to be savants, less likely to be chosen for savant research, or less likely to publish their name and talent on the internet.

I hope you are amazed as I am about the talent of some savants.


1. Which one of the following skills would you like to have and why?

a. Amazing memory skills
b. Amazing math skills
c. Amazing calendar skills
d. Amazing musical skills
e. Amazing artistic skills.
f. Amazing language skills.

2. What price (financial, physical, mental, etc.) would you be willing to pay for the skill you selected in Question 1?

3. Would you be willing to “pay the price” the people in the video paid for their amazing skills?

4. Did you have any amazing skills prior to your brain injury?

5. If you have any amazing skills now, to what do you attribute your skills?

Thanks to Daniel Tammet, Orlando Serrell, Dane Bottino, Kim Peek, Professor of Developmental Neuropathology Simon Baron Cohen, Dr. Darold TreffertScience News & Discoveries, Subash Poudyal, YouTube, and all the other people who made it possible for me to include this post.


  1. HI SCOTT, this is a great thread because of your comment to JOE because I believe that there is a hero in every one just waited to be unleashed! I call it flipping the hero switch!

    I am honored and blessed to have talked to you on my Blog Talk Radio Show on the TBI network a while ago (I don’t remember when it was though!) LOVE FF

    1. Fantastic Frank, I like your concept of “flipping a hero switch.” We all have a power. Some survivors learn to flip the hero switch and some do not. In terms of the post, a very small percent of survivors have or find a “Savant” switch that allows them to think in ways most people cannot. Perhaps, all people (survivors and non-injured) also have a Savant switch, but they either can’t find it or they don’t know how to flip it on. Interesting analogy. Thank you.

  2. I have a feeling that after a brain injury of a man they want like to feel “more like a man” pay the bills, know all, make new creative things, do all they can, feel more entitled to be the “man of the house”, help others first… I do believe the syndrome wears off over time, when they start to notice people are getting tired of hearing how they are doing it all wrong (in a way). I hope I am on topic 😉

    1. Joe, let’s take your comment a step further. Most people who sustained a brain injury want to get back to their old normal as soon as possible. Some realize that reaching the old normal is unobtainable. Some people find their new normal is even better than their old normal — I fit into this group. Rather than spend time trying to reach an unreachable goal, this subset of survivors tend to spend time perfecting the skills necessary to thrive in their new normal. Unfortunately, a small group of people never realize something has changed so they do not seek help unless pushed to change.

  3. The glass sculpture featured at the end of the video is by what I would consider an art savant. Chihuly’s work is amazing to see in person. I enjoyed when he described what each number “felt” like. Very interesting. I am still deciding what “number” I would like to represent me. I am definitely not a nine though. P.S. I vote that women are equally likely to be brilliant, but less likely to publish their name and talent on the internet.

    1. Stanley, I have seen Chihuly’s work twice — once in a private residence at a lecture I attended and once in a museum. Words cannot adequately describe either experience or what I felt as I looked at the glasswork.

      I had never thought of myself as a number, but maybe I should. I think of the world in terms of words rather than numbers. Perhaps, it is time for me to change the way I think.

      Although I don’t have data to support my belief, I suspect you are right about the gender difference in savant syndrome. I know there are female savants who are not identified on the internet.

    1. Gary, I have often wondered what separates savants from the rest of us. Are the people who win academic awards actually well-adjusted savants? The thought has even crossed my mind that some chess grand masters are high-functioning savants.

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