Wed 14 Jun 2006
Allan Snyder and his team of researchers have shown that “savant” capabilities can be induced in people without Autism by using the strong magnetic field of a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator to inhibit the action of the left anterior temporaral cortex. According to a post on www.huge-entity.com the theory behind this effect is that the TMS suppresses filtering and grouping mechanisms of the brain, thereby directly “connecting” the raw sensory data to the number estimation functionsof the brain. By allowing this direct connection between the estimation process and the raw data the brain was able to function in the ‘savant’ mode.
By temporarily shutting down some of the consious processes, it is possible to produce the strange “super” capabilities sometimes seen in Autism. This may indicate that autism is due to a shutdown of certain grouping and filtering functiions of the brain. If the shutdown is from damage, then there is a liklihood of damage to other parts of the brain as well. When the damage is specific to one part of the brain it may unmask capabilities that are normally quelled by the business of consiousness.
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