The Boy With The Incredible Brain

The Boy With The Incredible Brain

Ratings: 8.10/10 from 157 users.

The Boy With The Incredible BrainThis is the breathtaking story of Daniel Tammet. A twenty-something with extraordinary mental abilities, Daniel is one of the world’s few savants. He can do calculations to 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week.

He also meets the world’s most famous savant, the man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning film ‘Rain Man’

This documentary follows Daniel as he travels to America to meet the scientists who are convinced he may hold the key to unlocking similar abilities in everyone.

More great documentaries

96 Comments / User Reviews

  1. ken lang

    how do I download this documentary? Please help?

  2. kati kemeny

    Simply amazing person, I have recommended his books, the documentary and Omninet to many of my friends.
    Looking forward to the ENG:LISH TRANSLATION of his first novel, written in French!

  3. kati kemeny

    Simply amazing person, I have recommended his books, the documentary and Omninet to many of my friends.
    Looking forward to the ENG:LISH TRANSLATION of his first novel, written in French!
    than you for being who and what you are

  4. Kai Kirtis

    It seems some of the comentors here proclaim themselves above average intelligence because their basic observation of a phenomenon they can't begin to understand and try to break it down or tear it apart in such a way as to suggest, this guy isn't that smart because I am smart enough to see it for what it really is.

    This guy from my interpretation seems to be using abilities we all are equipped with but have not honed into there full potential. He has learned how to use his imagination in novel ways we dont or cannot understand yet. (Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.) It would seem to an average guy like myself that there is something, possibly revolutionary, to be learned from Daniel Tammet. What if it is more important for man's ability to learn be based more upon how we learn to use our built in abilities, like imagination, rather than 'what' we can learn and retain using our memory alone. There is clearly an opportunity to change our level of potential intelligence if we can set our egos aside, consider the possibilities, and act upon it. What could it hurt to ask this man, if you we were to aske you to teach people how to use their imaginations in the same way in which you have learned to use yours, would you, could you? Where do you think we should start? With Children, who have the best use of their imaginations, starting from an early age and lose it as they grow older.

    Does no one else consider this single possibility a worthy cause worth pursuing? Danial, if this is a contribution you would be interested in persuing, a project like this is certainly something I'd be interested in investing my time and resources into. My daughter would be one among many interested in cultivating their imagination into all it has the potential to be. In the least it would be a very fun experiment. I think you are an excellent individual and I am sure the world is a better place because of your existence.

    Kai Kirtis

    P.S. I do NOT expect Danial to see this message, I simply wanted to put a more positive point of view out into the universe

    1. Sue Lillard

      Their, not there. Thanks

  5. The I

    I have been trying to imagine calculations to be shapes, hopefully it will eventually become a direct perceptual experience.

  6. Valerie

    What is this digital movie made of? A series of numbers. God is a mathematician. :)

  7. Lee Collier

    I loved this, i kind of understand the the ability to see imagery in the mind after an accident; as trauma could cause electrical signals to route to different paths. but how the brain can sub-consciously do all that maths... mind boggling.

  8. Jeffrey

    Check out Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. He really convinced me that this man is a fraud, but is trained in the mnemonic abilities. Check it out and form your own opinion, but everything he does, a mnemonist can do too.

  9. WMDlololol

    On a scale of 1 to 10 this doc is definitely a 20 !!!!!

  10. Kip Keino

    Hi mentioned how he visualized/experienced the numbers; 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9 ...what about 3,4,7, and 8? Or Country Joe and the Fish's song: "and it's 1,2,3 what are we fighting 4? ....and it's 5,6,7, open up the Pearly g'8's...."

  11. Kip Keino

    It gets one to wonder who else in past history has been a savant, because it can manifest in many variations. The Buddha? Archimedes? Ghandi? Jimi Hendrix? Joan of Arc?

  12. Ron Wyatt

    Sooner or later someone will find a way to induce these talents for military and economic gain. Possibly It has already been done. Then there will be the "normals" and the "enhanced". Scary.

  13. DeNA

    So, what do you think is going on ?

    Reminds me of Ringing Cedars,

    Edgar Casey,
    some of what Basiago talked about,
    down loading or tapping in.

    The Matrix ( Yikes! )

    Oh, but "science" will figure it out. Not.

    Miler, brain-mind as hologram, dimensions, planes.

    Remember talking about the magnetic stimulation device, it zaps and turns off tissue, brings up savant capabilities as long as the device is on.

    Most of all, reminds me of Jim Sparks (youtubes, The Keepers).

    Forced to sit in front of computer, learn symbols, symbols also had movement.

    It's always what one does with it - Heart
    Otherwise, it ain't worth doggie poopoo.

    Cool vid

  14. Brian Sinclair

    Really makes you wonder exactly what is going on in his brain as he solves complex math problems...Amazing!

  15. likhona tinise

    wow im amazed

  16. Justin Lesniewski

    this documentary deserves a lot more views... the way he describes his mental imagery when processing calculations is simply amazing

  17. Sumi

    screw the maths.. I want to know how he learns languages so fast!!!

  18. Nara

    Kim Peek was the original rain man. Not that the other information is wrong. Just that.

  19. Rachel

    This reminds me more of Synesthesia than someone with Autism or the ASD spectrum. Look it up! Quite fascinating.

    1. Rachel Buchner

      Well he has both synesthesia and autism, it's very rare.

  20. Jane Ferguson Meredith

    Daniel's book, "Born on a Blue Day," is an absorbing read. He's autistic, and sees everyone and everything as having numbers all over them -- the numbers are memorable for him. He learned a number of languages in very short times, including Icelandic. I believe that was the one he learned in 10 days enough to converse reasonably fluently. The scientific thinking and speculation that his experience and talents have raised is incredibly exciting. Give yourself a treat and read about this man.

    1. Rachel Buchner

      Born on a blue day is an amazing book!!

  21. LarrytheLayman

    Dang, well at least its not hard work, but abnormal brain wiring.


    WOW! Definitely recommend watching this doc!

  23. jenjen23ful

    What an amazing guy. And such a gentle spirit too.

  24. awful_truth

    An excellent documentary. I too have a photographic memory, as my father before me, and my son was diagnosed as borderline autistic. Although I recognize social limitations in the male side of my family, I find it interesting how social ability pays a price for increased mental skills. The irony is when I attended Vancouver film school, my classmates nick named me 'rain man', but my ability to memorize is not anything like that of Kim Peek, or Daniel Tammat. Also, where their strength is knowledge based, mine covered a broader canvas including physical ability. I am of the opinion that what the general population should take from a show of this type is that ability takes shape in many forms, and that old ideas that people only use 5 or 10% of their brain capacity is only true for those who don't apply themselves. The sad part is that people who may have great social skills, are basically trained in the art of deception. (sweet talkers) The greatest thinkers, and contributers to society in the last 2000 years were always social misfits (DaVinci, Newton, Einstein, Galileo, etc) because they were intelligent enough to do what they wanted, not what they were told.

  25. Nikito

    He only got a "C" in woodwork at GCSE. I breezed through with an A. Fair play on the maths though Dan.

  26. bash molina

    Will Hunting!

  27. Matthew Woolhouse

    I get Alan Turing vibes.

  28. Steve

    "You might hear a sound or see a color" FAIL!!!!!!!!

  29. Quantumshell

    Ha Ha ! Now we know who to ask to solve PI

  30. Joseph

    you know... i always though everyone though of most things as associated with emotions, maybe im wrong. but i think of numbers and colors and patterns as each having their own emotion (im far from a savant though). am i wrong to assume that everyone thinks in this manner?

    1. James Thomas Rya Colwell


  31. jessicarose77

    This gave me a whole new understanding to Autism. I thought autism was wrong and I was offended that someone would even suggest that my son was autistic. To some degree, I believe he is cause his memory is so freaking sharp! He has been reading since he was 3 and when he's interested in a particular subject, he's so into it for a good while then he gets bored with it and does the same to something else. He is social and has no obvious disabilites due to his autism so, I'm no doctor but if my son is indeed autistic then I won't be so worried if it is true.

  32. Russ101

    The way Daniel associates platonic forms that derive from his sub-conscious value in numbers, he reveals by molding the two yellow silly puddy blobs to integrate these varying shapes to find the mean between the two which creates an entirely new abstraction in his numerical/ontological order the number like 588785? which turns out to appear like a missing puzzle piece by the very fact that it is symmetrically precise with all the rest gave me a glimpse of insight about all the thoughts that we think, images we see and feel, it and the worlds undertaking of pain for our little reason and desperation for the clarity of our passions inflamed...;p what if they follow an almost divine like pattern that expresses nothing more than the perfection of the universe it's self, (not that everything in reality is perfect) but, just as the way someone says I love you. The words, I love... echoe and engender the world with new meaning that people like you and me, Daniel were sent here on earth to reap the joysof understanding the overwhelming magnitude of eternal perfection! soo ignorance is not bliss-its hell as opposed to heaven being a hyper calculating super genius for a fortnight in Las Vegas! terrible place..

  33. subho

    mysterious brain, what we know of autism is maybe 10%, rest daniel can explain us to an extent, so looking forward to meet daniel in person to discover some more mystery about autism.
    Subhasis Sarkar, Occupational Therapist

  34. Semsa Shamoosa

    I wish that he learns Arabic language and see Qur'anic numeric messages. It would be great to see how he feels number 19 in Qur'an

  35. praveen_kumar

    my observations are that he treats the numbers and words as we treat fellow humans and objects in the real world. He has emotions attached to each one of them. e.g. He finds pie beautiful, and when the number is tampered with he finds it repulsive. Right from childhood, He has met the number pie over and over in his brain as we might meet a beautiful girl in the real world. SO he knows his pie:) Numbers and words are his world. He interacts with them just as we talk to other people. They are a part of his daily existence. He has carved a landscape out of them( finds skyscrapers and bright lights distracting). He can see the pattern( grammar in language and mathematical calculations in numbers) in a way that no computer can learn. Its like quantum computing where a variable in his head can take up multiple values simultaneously. And when he is distracted enough as to not being able to calculate he uses his instinct -which is a feeling/emotion. (he won the game in the casino by relying on his instinct.) TO me he is One damn interesting and good nature d fellow. Good to have a peek into his world.

    @raj - just think before you comment on someone differently-abled else that shows you are completely disabled up there.

  36. Mark Gaboury

    I wish I could have this skill for remembering the relevant things in the books I read. What he needs to do is specialize in a field, and then excell in it.

    1. Todd Sekulich

      ? why does he need to specialise ? according to whom? society indoctrinates us into specialisation, which is not always a positive thing. he needs to follow his own path, whatever that may be, which applies to every one of us. conflict is created as soon as we feel a force directing us to do what is not natural to us personally, internally. your truth is not my truth, and so on.

    2. enkeleas

      i find your comment very inspiring mate

  37. Amy

    I am troubled by the memory use as well in even the "proof" of his visualizations of numbers up to a certain number shown by his ability to assign a image to one, create it in clay, and then re-create the same image for the same number the next day...this to me seems again, a feat of memory. However, and please excuse my lack of formal education in our own language and it's grammar usage and take my beggin of pardon for this in this comment, but I am intrigued by his abiltiy to begin to hear a language so well and correctly interperet a native speaker's content so quickly. To me, this is a much more interesting feat than memorizing the language and its usage. Often native speakers, and the ones on this show seemed to show no mercy in slowing their speech or even likely unheard to my ear, the regional differences in the same speech patterns by each interviewer, resulting from each man probably coming from a different region in the country, are the hardest to understand and present the last obstacle in truly speaking and hearing fluently a language. Immersion is used for this reason as well as how it fosters a environment that forces a student to learn quickly how to at least ask for basic needs, since obviously if you cannot eat unless you learn to ask for food, you are going to learn faster when deprivation of desires and needs are motivators or punishments if you do not learn quickly how to express yourself...motivation by deprivation is why I threw in maybe punishment. However, the ear, the ability to discern the language spoken in such a way as to another native speaker, the cadence of different regional differences and so forth, are the last things immersion allows to happen and it does take time. This is simply not a memory-only based skill you aquire since it requires the abiltiy of the ear and mind to sort out complex patterns that shift from person to person, dialect to dialect, and even subject to subject if the conversation is heated or cadence changes to a formal speech being presented...this is much more complex and usually requires more than simply memorizing how a word sounds from one teacher then moving forward with some memorized vocabulary both heard from this teacher in singular isolated form and read to be perhaps slowly listened for and matched to an internal silent pronunciation and making the match you can best discern between what you think you hear and what the words are you know and how they were pronounced for you by one person and outloud by yourself.

    To review the video from that talkshow, he clearly is not hesistant in understanding each man, and he not only understands them, he is able to instantly respond. With only a week of listening to the language, something more than memory is involved in the abiltiy to understand it spoken by a native who has set up a condition to trap this man by speaking as a host would to any native speaker on his show and perhaps, even faster. The goal of the show was to showcase his talent or disprove it. The memory, this skill is perhaps not impressive...the ear, there is something going on there. The areas of auditory translation into meaningful content from a language you do not have exposure to is what intrigues me about this man's brain. I would be interested to see him repeat this while in a FMRI with another language.

    I cannot recommend a dead language since their would be no expert native speaker, but only a historian of the language...

    I think honestly, any non-Latin based language or regional language in an Asiatic country would do, with perhaps a speaker who is uneducated and used the language's grammar incorrectly...that would blow a lot of his abiltiy to memorize the grammar and maybe quickly discern the speakers content w/this and the vocabulary...if it was purposefully used improperly that would be interesting as well. I wonder if he can discern if the speaker is speaking nonsense after one week of learning the grammar, or if he can respond to a variety of skill levels in the language use of different native cadences and speakers.

    He should be tested on this skill more.

    As idiotic as I sound with my own language, sorry about that by the way, this is what I feel is really worthy of further study unless we desire a study into disproving this is memory and therefore, devise tests to do so w/out a doubt. That would be a interesting challenge for a savant to take on....creating a test that no memory can solve. And a test that cannot be calculated answers in any known savant's current amount of time given highest difficulty of problems.

    The hearing of the language so effortlessly. I wonder what it takes to do this, and I have suspicion, memorizing the language cannot achieve this alone...something is going on there and perhaps this is his real savant ability that is worthy of his own show. The memory is known skill developed further by many likely the core of being savant by definition, and reached by obsession and the Autistism that blocks out other sensory input to both protect overload and allow for a manic obsession with a singular object or subject or pattern or method of seeing patterns or memory skills, ect...

    You all have wonderful comments, even those we don't all like or seem flippant or boastful. No, I am not a mamby-pamby huggy person. I mean simply, you commented. This is wonderful. No matter what he is or not, what he does or not, how he does it or not and whether he is a scam artist, self-deluding, or simply honest and merits research, he got us up in arms, talking about the mind, venting, laughing at each other, and debating the role of religion in any commentary, and for some of us, settled the persistent myth of what percentage of our brain we use...which I thought had been laid to rest the first time anyone studied a brain lit up in a MRI showing function during image viewing, auditory input, being asked to think of a certain object and then a animal's visualize anything, remember some vivid memory before a certain age, think of a loved one, not think at all, and try not to see a brown cow.

    We are really lucky aren't we? To have this medium. I enjoyed this greatly.

    Thank you for slamming me as you will probably ahead of time or showing forbearance for my ingnorance and how long this went on. I was highly enthusiastic about all the discussions I read above and how wonderful it was that so many personalities were coming together with varying skill levels and knowledge to blast, applaud, explain, ask, ect.

    Bravo to you all for doing something to learn and teach and express in your spare time.

  38. cezy

    Being better than a machine is by no means intelligence. What matters is what he manages to do with all the information he stores in his brain, and not how much he can store. for those who don't know probability, he could have won those three hands by pure luck. Improbable, but not impossible. And the cameras wouldn't have shown it if he had lost!

  39. purplewool

    Such an interesting person! plus, a kind soul. a real insight into our working brains... the whole colour/texture/number mashup seems to explain a possible source of intuition. The fact that people (and places) give off feelings of textures and colour i can understand... numbers not so much because i was never so good with that language. That seizure did a wonderful thing to this boy, thank goodness he has the intellect to share it with us.

  40. casey

    God is great!What an incredible story...

  41. L.Walker

    i have to agree with Nietzsche - other that doing math tricks and remembering dates and be lab rats, what do savants do? when they become engineers and physicists and take us to mars and cure cancer then i'll be truly impressed.

    are Hawking or Einstein savants or was Darwin one?

    and the Japanese abacus children are terrifying ^^

    that said i wish them all the best!

  42. kgbpasha

    Yeah, the 10% of our brain thing always makes me laugh. We do use 100% of our brain but it's not designed to be used as a whole at full strength 100% of the time. This would cause us great confusion (for starters).

    It's known that certain parts of our brains allow us to perform tasks designed specifically for that section of the brain. So logic tells us that our "whole" brain doesn't need to be 'fired up' for a simple task like reading this sentence. use more than 60% of our brain in REM sleep alone!

  43. Rudy

    raj wrote:

    "I dont call this guy a scam artist.. but . . .I call this man a sham!"

    Perhaps you are intelligent enough to explain the difference to this not-as-intelligent-as-you writer.?


  44. raj

    I dont call this guy a scam artist.. but what he does, didnt impress me.. i come from india and here there is a thing called as VEDIC MATHEMATICS. You dont need to remember a number to tell.. PI does have a pattern, just learn VEDIC mathematics and you can say more than 22,000 numbers and iam not joking here.. and abt the languages if one really want to learn a language he can within 7 days......i can only believe him if he can learn and remember the WHOLE dictionary with their meaning of some random foreign language. I call this man a sham!

    1. natasha0

      So you can do better then.

    2. jing huang

      Yes you go try and learn a new language in a week, not only in understanding written words but also in audio comprehension and speaking the language.
      No, actually, stick to mastering your english first.

    3. Rebecca Casdorph Pratt

      But, he didn't learn it, it just comes to him. He doesn't know he is doing can't say that for Vedic or Chinese Abacus skills. Your goal IS math and then you memorize it, he seems to do the opposite.

  45. nicholas

    this guy is amazing aswell as they real rain man

  46. Nietzsche

    When I first read Durden's comment, it sounded quite negative, but he may be right. I have a verified IQ of 154 and one of my good friends has an IQ of 183 (no bs, he is a hacker who tests government systems), and neither he nor I are able to do what he did, most likely because we have never tried. We would lack the focus to master it. Genius is more defined by the ability to adapt and solve complex problems, than the ability to memorize sequences or language. These people have a disability that causes them to have unbelievable focus on things that normal people to not have the time or energy to expend energy on.

    And, by the way, the blackjack example was ridiculous. If he was truly a genius, he would have learned to play poker in a day and played some pros to test his intelligence.

    1. anon

      Yes YOU are a genius but Tammet is not.

  47. Pyrrhus

    Calculation is something a machine can do. Proving a theorem is not.

    It would have been interesting to have learned something of Daniel's mathematical skills, as opposed to learning solely of his startling genius with mere calculations.

    Also, this documentary would have been even more intriguing had it gone into depth concerning Daniel's linguistic abilities.

  48. ProudinUS

    I can't even tell you the meaning of "savants".......and I just watched the damn doc!

    PS. I can tell you how many ounces there are in any sized beer can though.

    I love this site and can't seem to stop wathing the doc.s

  49. rachelnico

    It's amazing how the skills of one person can open up a whole new branch of science and research. There's so much that we don't know.

  50. Jay

    I think I need to read through my comments before posting them. LOL
    let me try this again.

    When I watch this doc I could see our minds potential. The reason this seem so incredible is because it is not a major focus in most societies. If it was who knows where we would be?

  51. Jay

    When I watch this doc I see our potential, this reason I believe this seems so incredible so some is because the human mind potential is not he main focus in most societies. If it was who know where we would be?

  52. Faye

    I like pie too. Nom pie.

  53. Crab

    is that you dmt wizard?

  54. psychedelic reflection

    very interesting the clarification for the 10% brain story !

    do you know any sources that we can read a bit more on this?

    thank you

  55. Doc


  56. Chyrch

    The most amusing thing on this page is Triad who first says:

    "why do psychologists the world over state that we only use 1 percent of our mind, our potential??"

    and then concludes with:

    "Not very bright guys".

  57. B

    You should read his 2006 memoir Born On A Blue Day


    When I first watched the docu-movie,I was perplex and felt for the young man because he is going to be tested all his life to prove book makers that he is a very great young man.I remember a guru telling that when he grow to age he is going to be a great man.the reason why he told him that,is because he is going to face more and serious challenges.I love and admire Daniel.No wonder he met the man that helped guide Justin H. to win an Oscar in 'RIAN MAN'.Good work.

  59. tupes

    Good post, Epicurus, and I have another theory on where the 10% myth may have started: glial cells. Although current research suggests there are roughly the same number of neurons and glial cells in the human brain, in a few of my psych textbooks from a few years ago it states that there are ten glial cells for every neuron in the brain. If that were true, then only 9% of the cells in our brain would be neurons. Of course, just because they aren't part of the nervous system doesn't mean we don't USE glia (some of their main functions involve providing oxygen and nutrients for neurons, clearing away waste products, and providing structural support), but since they don't produce electrical signals of their own and so don't play a big role in the brain's information processing, it's easy to see how some dumbass first year science students could have got something like this started.

  60. oz

    Dear Epicurus, thank you for setting the 10% theory straight! As a student of psychology, i am fortunate enough to be exposed to the scientific evidence that backs up any sort of assumption and hearsay such as "we only use 10% of our brains". this guy is a certainly gifted, and like the medical health professionals have made very clear, it usually comes at a price. Its cases like this that allow people in my field to really understand and explore the marvels of the human mind.

    p.s I think people should conduct a little bit of research and gather some evidence before sharing their incorrect ideals with the world. the world has enough i@#$%&.

  61. Ronaldo Sinigayan


  62. Andrew

    some people can learn esperanto in a week.

  63. reprovo

    To clarify , I don't know what the case Is with this boy and other's like him , I only know that there are cases when It's not a gift and In those cases , It's something that Isn't touched upon with a 10ft pole.

  64. reprovo

    I don't discount anything he is doing as fake , It Is real.
    There Is however an explanation which very few people will even accept in the western world but It Is however true.
    Perhaps It Is a gift , I'm not saying It's not but there Is another darker side to such things, I'll leave It at that.

  65. Ice

    damn, he is the answer to such infinity!!!

  66. Epicurus

    people BETTER stop claiming we only use 10% of our brain. if i hear that one more time i will puke.

    Let me state this very clearly:

    There is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains.

    In other words, the statement, "We use only 10% of our brains" is false; it's a myth. We use all of our brain. Let's look at the possible origins of this myth and the evidence that we use all of our brain.
    Where Did the 10% Myth Begin?

    The 10% statement may have been started with a misquote of Albert Einstein or the misinterpretation of the work of Pierre Flourens in the 1800s. It may have been William James who wrote in 1908: "We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources" (from The Energies of Men, p. 12).

    Perhaps it was the work of Karl Lashley in the 1920s and 1930s that started it. Lashley removed large areas of the cerebral cortex in rats and found that these animals could still relearn specific tasks. We now know that destruction of even small areas of the human brain can have devastating effects on behavior. That is one reason why neurosurgeons must carefully map the brain before removing brain tissue during operations for epilepsy or brain tumors: they want to make sure that essential areas of the brain are not damaged.

    Why Does the Myth Continue?

    Somehow, somewhere, someone started this myth and the popular media keep on repeating this false statement (see the figures). Soon, everyone believes the statement regardless of the evidence. I have not been able to track down the exact source of this myth, and I have never seen any scientific data to support it. According to the believers of this myth, if we used more of our brain, then we could perform super memory feats and have other fantastic mental abilities - maybe we could even move objects with a single thought. Again, I do not know of any data that would support any of this.
    What Does it Mean to Use Only 10% of Your Brain?

    What data were used to come up with the number - 10%? Does this mean that you would be just fine if 90% of your brain was removed? If the average human brain weighs 1,400 grams (about 3 lb) and 90% of it was removed, that would leave 140 grams (about 0.3 lb) of brain tissue. That's about the size of a sheep's brain. It is well known that damage to a relatively small area of the brain, such as that caused by a stroke, may cause devastating disabilities. Certain neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease, also affect only specific areas of the brain. The damage caused by these conditions is far less than damage to 90% of the brain.

    Perhaps when people use the 10% brain statement, they mean that only one out of every ten nerve cells is essential or used at any one time? How would such a measurement be made? Even if neurons are not firing action potentials, they may still be receiving signals from other neurons.

    Furthermore, from an evolutionary point of view, it is unlikely that larger brains would have developed if there was not an advantage. Certainly there are several pathways that serve similar functions. For example, there are several central pathways that are used for vision. This concept is called "redundancy" and is found throughout the nervous system. Multiple pathways for the same function may be a type of safety mechanism should one of the pathways fail. Still, functional brain imaging studies show that all parts of the brain function. Even during sleep, the brain is active. The brain is still being "used," it is just in a different active state.

    Finally, the saying "Use it or Lose It" seems to apply to the nervous system. During development many new synapses are formed. In fact, some synapses are eliminated later on in development. This period of synaptic development and elimination goes on to "fine tune" the wiring of the nervous system. Many studies have shown that if the input to a particular neural system is eliminated, then neurons in this system will not function properly. This has been shown quite dramatically in the visual system: complete loss of vision will occur if visual information is prevented from stimulating the eyes (and brain) early in development. It seems reasonable to suggest that if 90% of the brain was not used, then many neural pathways would degenerate. However, this does not seem to be the case. On the other hand, the brains of young children are quite adaptable. The function of a damaged brain area in a young brain can be taken over by remaining brain tissue. There are incredible examples of such recovery in young children who have had large portions of their brains removed to control seizures. Such miraculous recovery after extensive brain surgery is very unusual in adults.

    So next time you hear someone say that they only use 10% of their brain, you can set them straight. Tell them:

    "NOT TRUE; We use 100% of our brains."

  67. J.R.Schriver

    Daniel Tammet is totally amazing. This film stayed with me for days after watching it for the first time.

    The form of the doc isn't the best though, it feels too much like TV for my taste. For a better doc on a somewhat similar topic, check out "Fermat's Last Theorem" from 1996.

  68. noa

    Oh yea - sure. This guy is TOTALLY a scam artist. Once I memorized Pi 10 or 20 thousand places but then got bored and went and facebooked for 3 hours. Calculations to 100 decimal places? Chinese babies do that in between feedings. Learning a language in a week? I could probably do that IF I wanted to but the real question is WHY would I want to? - Who are you people? I*iots who can type? Amazing. Why do they allow unmoderated comments on these things, I should never be allowed to speak my mind but I'm apparently not doing as bad as I thought.

  69. Triad

    I cant believe some of the ******* comments on here.

    @ tyler durden who says

    'The kid is figuring it out as he goes aslong, how is that genius, you see him physically writing it with his finger, genius is boom, boom, boom.'

    Have you not watched this??
    Near the end the 'scientists' who are more qualified than you! are amazed, why? because the answer jus entered his mind, in the form of pictures which he translated into words... you really are thick boy.

    you are obviously a jealous child.

    @ Harley quinn
    Who states that we use all of our brain...
    So answer this, why do psychologists the world over state that we only use 1 percent of our mind, our potential??
    And even scientists maintain that artistic people use more of their right brain and logical people use more of their left hemisphere of the brain?? Explain that??

    @ Quarantus who says this Is very normal...
    hmmm... doesnt explain why he is the only human on the planet that can CALCULATE WITHOUT THINKING...

    Not very bright guys.
    If you are going to selfisly slate someone elses hard work..
    At least try to get It right,
    and leave your petty egos out of the equasion.

  70. robe33

    I love this web page! I'm having fun.

  71. Yavanna

    Why are "savants" so rare in that case?

  72. mnganga wa kiyenyeji

    i think all of us are capable be savants and beyond,the brain is multi complex

  73. Yavanna

    "This is just a rather intelligent fellow who is fair at mental calculation. All of those arithmetic problems were very soft."

    Pfft you try it then genius!

    Nice doc.

  74. Collette

    Great! I wonder if these kinds of exceptions are found or could they be noticed in the animals, maybe some closly related spicies to humans, like the chimpanzees...

  75. Quarantus

    I believe this is very normal...

    is just a matter of "willingness"...


  76. Samatha

    It is easy to say what you think! and all of the comments have their valid points of view!

    i especially enjoyed reading the "Tyler Durden's" review, although i completely disagree with most of it, it still was very sincere and exiting.

    personally for me, the documentary is interesting because of persons ability to unconsciously process information. as if there is a separate and more profound existential level of consciousness that savants are in touch with. and perception of its potential is somewhat reduced by our "conscious"/"conceptual" contamination.

    i may be wright or i may be wrong!

    its up to you to decide...

  77. Jive Dadson

    This is just a rather intelligent fellow who is fair at mental calculation. All of those arithmetic problems were very soft. Thousands of Chinese school children would solve them quickly. Why didn't that ask him to factor the product of two large primes or something? I once did a stage memory act that had a segment much like the chess board memorization. Mnemonic tricks. The business about seeing the calculations as flashes of light and whatnot is pure BS, copped directly from The Teachings of Don Juan - A Yacqi Way of Knowledge, which was a hoax. The blackjack sequence was as nonsensical as the one in the movie Rain Man. And oh yeah, the real Rain Man, recently deceased, used to tell EVERYONE that someday they would be as great as he.

  78. Harley Quinn

    Charles B.,

    We do not use a small fraction of our brains. We use the whole thing. Stop bible thumping and get an education.

  79. Tyler Durden

    The kid is figuring it out as he goes aslong, how is that genius, you see him physically writing it with his finger, genius is boom, boom, boom.

    The symbols are just his own mnemonics... the dude is thinking... this is crap imo.

    Learn language in a week? Define master a language?
    Memorise words and familar sentences? La de da!

    People are only omgod amazed at this kid because they are the ones below the par.

    Btw... genius... if this kid is genius... what ingenius tasks can he complete with remembering decimal places in PI?
    Whats ingenius about memory? NOTHING!

    The so called "special abilities" are bs... the enchanced memory and special perception... why is it bs...?

    erm hello, savants lack social skills... why... because they miss the neurological connections? lack of empathy?

    It's like a kid goes deaf, does his eyesight not improve to that of a greater precision than a person who has all use of all senses...

    Its just more energy/whatever FORCED onto one or few subjects, so that subject of concentration becomes stronger and leads to imbalance... for instance that Mathmatician whom Russel Crowe played in Beautiful Mind (its late i care not to recall) who went crazy.

    Doc even says in the documentary, "it's not currently interfering with his life"

    Neuro connections are hard to make, but easy to break, use it or lose it applies here!

    Us "normal" people, take in information all the time from different senses and internalise it differently, savants and such just view the world in limited way!

    Lets see where this kid is at in 20-40 years.

    BTW Charles B; you say there is a God whilst you watch a Documentary which is blaintently set from a SCIENCE point of view... sounds to me like your extremely incongruent! (Not an attack, just pointing out your opinion is entirely flawed, you have zero idea what your talking about. and please stop trolling talking about the "God" in a science zone.)

    Btw the narrators "6th sense" comment, erm lol?

    "With enough practice super fast maths is possible"

    Well duh!! It's called a set of skills, a series of habits.

    Overall I think this documentary is just another "all press is good press" story.

    This Documentary should be called a Docudrama!

    I end with my one of my recent in work quotes going off the
    "there are no doubts that abilities like Daniel's are extremely rare... the way daniel can express his own World..."


    your life, your job, you, we could all tell a story, but few of us can, even fewer can captivate, and even less can communicate...


  80. Achems Razor

    Charles B.

    I am not trying to nullify your personal Rapture, or even to
    discombobulate you!

    But Jupiter,s gravity, will crush you like a pineapple!


  81. Charles B.

    A very well done documentary! A 10 from me. Fantastic! Fantastic!

    I have a theory why our brains are so large and why we use such a small percentage of them currently. I believe a similar ability can be found in all of us, like Daniel Tammet under the right circumstances. It is a "seed of genius" so--to-speak, given to each of us by God Himself. Our massive mind capacity will not be fully utilized in this lifetime, however.

    I feel that God has created us with a mind that is limitless because as eternal beings, we will have endless days to learn and grow and mature and understand and explore and fathom the depths of God and His creation forever. We have a virtually limitless universe, so likewise, we have a virtually limitless mind capacity to know and understand it all eventually, save perhaps the full understanding of God which will never be surpassed by any one of us ever.

    Our minds will be forever learning in the age to come (with our new physical/spiritual bodies just as Christ has now). At the moment, we are just scratching the surface of our immense personal potential. I can't wait to explore the endlessness of knowledge and wonder that God has prepared for those that love Him! I hear Jupiter is lovely this time of year. :-) I'm so excited to think about it!

    I enjoyed this documentary very much. Thanks again, Vlatko!

  82. eric

    math it order, the highest form

  83. Arnep

    pi r2? No, pi r round.

  84. art

    Pi is not 141592653582 it is 141592653589

  85. jason

    good show. i did feel a bit saddened because this boy will probably subjected to tests for a good portion of his life. it really does show how little we know about our own brains and how much potential we all have.

  86. hc

    amazing documentary..