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December 2021

The savant syndrome: Intellectual impairment and exceptional skill

Journal/Book: Psychol Bull. 1999; 125: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 31-46.

Abstract: Occasionally, people with developmental disability display skills at a level inconsistent with their general intellectual functioning, so-called ''savant'' behavior. Studies of savant behavior are reviewed to determine their relevance to notions about the importance of general intellective functions in the development of exceptional skill. It is concluded that (a) the skill exhibited by savants shares many characteristics with that in people without disability, (b) the skill is usually accompanied by normative levels of performance on at least some subtests of standardized measures of cognitive achievement, and (c) it is unclear whether savants have distinctive cognitive strengths or motivational dispositions, though their relative prevalence among people with certain kinds of disability suggests predisposing constraints. The author proposes that these skills typically reflect highly elaborated preconceptual representational systems.

Note: Review Miller LK, Univ Wisconsin, Waisman Ctr Mental Retardat & Human Dev, 1500 Highland Ave, Madison,WI 53705 USA

Keyword(s): CALENDAR CALCULATION ABILITY; IDIOT-SAVANT; CALENDRICAL CALCULATORS; MENTAL-RETARDATION; AUTISTIC-SAVANT; MUSICAL SAVANTS; INTELLIGENCE; MEMORY; BEHAVIOR; ARTISTS


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