Savant Syndrome

Ted Nettelbeck, Robyn Young

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    What is savant syndrome? How do savants do the extraordinary things that they do? What implications does savant syndrome have for improving our understanding of human intelligence? In what follows, we address these questions, in the light of research undertaken predominantly during the past 20 years. Although interest in this topic has a very long history (Foerstl, 1989), attempts to develop a theoretical account for savant syndrome are relatively recent, with two reviews appearing in 1978 (Hill, 1978; Rimland, 1978a). Rimland’s overview focused on incidence, a possible relationship between
    autism and giftedness, and provided descriptions of the accomplishments of individual savants. Hill’s review comprehensively surveyed literature from the late 1890s to the mid- 1970s and discussed various explanations for how savants achieve their feats. He found more than 60 reports and publications involving over 100 savants, with several of these sources in languages other than English. Hill drew attention to the largely anecdotal nature of much of this literature but substantially based his conclusions on the small body of scientific research then available.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Review of Research in Mental Retardation
    EditorsLaraine Masters Glidden
    Place of PublicationSan Diego
    PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
    Number of pages37
    ISBN (Print)9780123662224
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

    Publication series

    NameInternational Review of Research in Mental Retardation
    ISSN (Print)0074-7750


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