Beautiful Minds: The Psychology of the Savant

Beautiful Minds: The Psychology of the Savant

2006, Psychology  -    -  Playlist 61 Comments
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Beautiful Minds: The Psychology of the SavantIn the field of brain research there is no subject more intriguing than the savant - an individual with mental, behavioral, or even physical disability who possesses acute powers of observation, mathematical aptitude, or artistic talent. This three-part series provides an enthralling look into the psychology and neuroscience of the savant’s mysterious world. 3-part series, 53 minutes each.

Memory Masters: How Savants Store Information. Reudiger Gamm performs complex arithmetic instantly and without help - his brain stores numbers like a calculator. Orlando Sorrel remembers exactly what he was doing on any date, at any hour, and can accurately predict the day of the week thousands of years in the future. Kim Peek - the original Rain Man - has read 12,000 books and hasn’t forgotten a single word.

The Einstein Effect: Savants and Creativity. Mute until the age of nine, Stephen Wiltshire learned to communicate through realistic, richly detailed drawings. Alonzo Clemens sculpts clay animal figures with great precision, even though he can barely form a sentence. Matt Savage faced extraordinary developmental problems as a child but has become a teen prodigy among jazz musicians.

A Little Matter of Gender: Developmental Differences among Savants. One of the great success stories from the world of autism, Temple Grandin revolutionized the field of livestock management, empowered by her sensitivity with animals. Tommy McHugh displayed no such sensitivity - until a brain hemorrhage transformed him from a brawler into a gentle soul.

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Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Would have liked to see a chess savant interviewed. Often they are homeless though

tanmay
tanmay
7 years ago

Its really amazing and new for me

Jaime
Jaime
9 years ago

Why aren't these guys being used to solve complex social issues like starvation, war, and genocide? Why are they not well paid to solve REAL math problems at the vanguard of numerical discovery?

Fox
Fox
9 years ago

What (piano) music was used in part 5/5 about halfway? (4.55 - 6.30)

Ken Albertsen
Ken Albertsen
10 years ago

I've watched this fascinating film twice. The 1st time, the soundtrack was annoying. The 2nd time, the sound track forced me to curtail my viewing time. There are two monotonous tunes on the soundtrack. They alternate. The one-note first tune is worse than the 2nd, if that's possible. I suggest the makers of this series either drop the background music altogether (my choice), or pick better soundtracks.

Forbidden Fruit
Forbidden Fruit
10 years ago

My theory: the savant brain--part of it anyway--is damaged or deficient, so another part tries to overcompensate, resulting in so-called savant skills. It's an adaptive trait that prevents the savant from being completely disabled.

As an autistic two-year-old, I memorized lengthy books after only having them read to me once. I would recite the words verbatim so it looked like I was "reading". This scared my family very much! I couldn't actually read, my auditory memory was just strangely precise. When I saw the pictures and words on the page, I heard my mom's voice reading the book in my head and would imitate it. Thus, "reading".

My visual memory predates my first birthday. I remember what it felt like to be a blank slate...not knowing what everyday things like clouds or telephones were. I learned to walk and run before crawling. I remember everything I've ever read and my visual memories are like movies that play back randomly with the corresponding year attached. In some ways I was a genius; in other ways I was profoundly disabled.

To get to the point: If not for my overdeveloped "savant" memory, I would've never survived in the neurotypical world. Autistic people learn to socialize the same way a typical person studies for a test--by memorization and practice. It CAN be learned but will never come naturally. We're masters of imitation, which can be exhausting.

I believe the human brain is capable of compensating for deficiencies. The real mystery is understanding the CAUSE of these deficiencies so we can prevent the suffering that often comes with them.

Judy Connor
Judy Connor
11 years ago

I see no women savants yet. I wonder why.

Judy Connor
Judy Connor
11 years ago

This man, Allan Snyder, is a distinguished professor and research and yet he goes on camera looking like a man in the midst of a ridiculous mid-life crisis in this sideways baseball cap. It doesn't look cute or quirky... just silly and self-demeaning.

ronsfi
ronsfi
11 years ago

Never have I seen so much bull s*it in one place. Pregnant stone age women dependent on men to hunt? Hollywood cliche. Weren't there any other women in that tribe? Testosterone is a toxin? Dude. That line still won't get you laid. You are not being avoided because you are exceptional but because you are weird.

Hope Donnelly
Hope Donnelly
11 years ago

I've been sitting here watching this whole thing with my mouth open in awe :P

Alexandru Matei
Alexandru Matei
11 years ago

"12,000 books and hasn’t forgotten a single word." - This still seems quite impossible.

Diana Shaffer
Diana Shaffer
11 years ago

If men invented the wheel, women invented language. We all have our contributions and they are all important. (I'm not sure I believe in gender stereotyping but it annoyed me that that guy didn't list any other female contribution other than child rearing)

Werner Breedt
Werner Breedt
12 years ago

It was truly amazing to see so many rare cases of brain function.

I wonder how anyone feels about the gender definitions given to brain structure. I feel somewhat uncomfortable about defining male and female in such one dimensional terms, emphatic and systematic alone. Isn't this a gravely sexist assumption?

I know many men who have a great capacity for empathy, and have met a great deal of women who seem hell bent on order and control. To say that one brain type is male, while the other is female seems to drip of determinism.

Advanced science provides a great reach into the depths of neurology, but scientists are still left to determine the interpretation of these excursions within their theoretical paradigms. I am in awe of the great work that has been done in neurology, and what is possible in the future, but I also worry about the manner in which the language of the field is sometimes applied literally to explain the human condition.

A previous post rightfully pointed out that the title of the film is 'Beautiful Minds', yet it revolves primarily around brain function. Is this evidence of modern science's in-distinction between epistemology and ontology?

Godsclaws
Godsclaws
12 years ago

what the hell was that scientist going for? 'old harry potter tries to recapture his youth?' seriously what a GAY hat

Rachel Buchner
Rachel Buchner
12 years ago

People with Autism have Empathy I know people with Autism and they have Empathy.

Stephen Kemmy
Stephen Kemmy
12 years ago

There is much that is exceptionally vulgar about the human science of the mind and its arrogant and insensitive stigmatization of human beings - the real truth is that they are nothing other than blind ignorant humans ( usually middle class with monstrous egos) who feel about in the dark and cause more harm than good. Perhaps there is no subject more intriguing than the psychologist - an individual unwilling to accept the spiritual mystery of nature and the universe.

Gabriela
Gabriela
12 years ago

I got bored at the second episode of this documentary

Rachelnico
Rachelnico
12 years ago

I want them to turn off my left hemisphere for a day, see what I get up to

Mike Knight
Mike Knight
12 years ago

i envy the insane...who are so acute that they tap into a realm yet left untouched by potential..i sometimes consider if i would be able to relinquish the social for the ingenious esoteric..then i remember how much i like tiggo bittays!

Carl Mygind
Carl Mygind
12 years ago

Great documentary.

But let's get serious for a minute. THAT HAT! THAT F****** HAT! I could not understand any of what that guy was saying. I was literally bursting out of laughter everytime he came on screen.

Spencer Funk
Spencer Funk
12 years ago

Read "LEFT IN THE DARK" by Tony Wright

Calgarycmmc Cmmc
Calgarycmmc Cmmc
12 years ago

Every living being....is a "rain man" in it's own way

Calgarycmmc Cmmc
Calgarycmmc Cmmc
12 years ago

google cannabis research a-z

Gary V
Gary V
13 years ago

A fascinating doc, well worth watching.

PaulGloor
PaulGloor
13 years ago

It is quite stunning to see what the human mind is capable of, even if it is a malfunction or rewiring due to damage. What I disagree on is that the brain looses unused connections forever. It remains plastic, trainable, and able to make new connections or bolster connections in little used pathways with training and repetition. Granted, it takes far more work the older you get, but its quite possible to 'teach an old dog new tricks'

Angela Sogard
Angela Sogard
13 years ago

I in last 20 weeks opened up a monster that i didnt know that i married...a freken physco...now everything makes sence...Im still alive thank god after the horrible terror and terroizing he did to me and kids........thiniking i was seeking help for a depression but all of sudden a was prisioner in my home...........wtf......trying to keep him at his sisters while seeking help and making my plan out......now filed divorce and taking children to a forensic physicatrist...to get them and myself the right help!!! Never been so close to evil till now.....and worst part is he f--ked with the doctores heads and became a creature trying to sadisticlly real me and kids back into his controll....frk iowa cops wont listen to me eithr in our county because they all know him...how the hell do i get him charged for class d felony when he talks his way out and everyone thinks it s me...............frk society

Farking Spamhell
Farking Spamhell
13 years ago

How is it "beautiful" that you can memorize a whole phone book but you cant dress yourself.

His Forever
His Forever
13 years ago

When Kim Peek died, that was a true loss for all of us. I had always wanted to meet him.

Guest
Guest
13 years ago

For those of you who didn't like my poetry, you'll be happy to read that i was asked by the top not to write them anymore.
I will do like ZarathustraSpeaks and quote the Spear or Poe....or just bitch about "religious people" like many do, that seem to be alright! (actually that's not me....i believe in live and let live)
I must say V was very polite in his way to request.
thank you
az

Intbel
Intbel
13 years ago

Very interesting and informative documentary.

I wonder at the choice of title: "Beautiful Minds" when the whole focus is on the brain with the mind rarely mentioned.

John Leonard
John Leonard
13 years ago

simon baron cohen is related to Borat

rawkidd
rawkidd
13 years ago

Prof. Allan Snyder with that funny cap on his head. I mean, come on, you're a professor, not a 8 year old. Don't be such a wann-be savant.

Moebius Mat
Moebius Mat
13 years ago

Wow ... I almost wich I was an autist :)
Our brain is really amasing !

roberto garcia
roberto garcia
13 years ago

@6:53.... i just cannot take him serious with his hat like that,lol
but very informative doc.. wish i had savant abilities

Kevin McPeek
Kevin McPeek
13 years ago

It is interesting to see that the status quo human brain has evolved to observe then discard in order to balance the left and right hemispheres of thought. Seems like most Savants access their infinite categorization of observation by NOT having a balance of the L and R. I will be interested in what perceptional psychologists and studies of savants produces in understanding of consciousness. Seems like this doc is touching on the tip of the iceberg on what Savants mean to neuro science and humans in general.

Sylvia North
Sylvia North
13 years ago

A well-made and thought-provoking--if not occasionally mind-blowing--documentary on the incredible mental skills of people once diagnosed as being "mentally retarded." Look at the world we live in and tell me who's crazy anymore.

David T
David T
13 years ago

Amazing man,
but why you post Youtube playlista videos, you can upload to some other video hosting service where they host Whole video.

Sobat Yaar
Sobat Yaar
13 years ago

All of existence is information. An endless stream of it. Never erased.

Gary V
Gary V
13 years ago

There is a fine line between genius & insanity

Gary V
Gary V
13 years ago

Lol. The Prof. with the baseball cap, WTF does he look like?