Savants are people who display extraordinary abilities, sometimes far exceeding what we might think of as normal. These abilities can include exceptional memory recall, lightning calculation ability and uncanny artistic skill. Certain cases have attracted the attention of the media, even the 1988 film Rain Man was inspired by a real figure, and the field is subject to constant scientific research and debate.
Among the most amazing cases in this area are “acquired savants”, individuals left with extraordinary abilities following a brain injury or central nervous system trauma. The leading American authority on savant syndrome, Dr Darold Treffert, believes that there are probably fewer than fifty living prodigious savants, that is, those whose gifts would appear incredible in anyone. Yet, while some of these acquired abilities continue to amaze and baffle, Dr Treffert is not alone in thinking that such cases may point to untapped abilities in all of us. Read on to find out what these might be.