Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Heaton, P. 2010. Savant Syndrome. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
The term “idiot-savant” was first used by Down (1998) to describe a group of rare individuals who, despite severe intellectual impairments, demonstrate impressive skills within specific domains. Published accounts of idiot-savants appeared as early as the eighteenth century and provided descriptions of extraordinarily skilled performance in music, art, and mental calculation. The phenomenon of the idiot-savant posed interesting questions about the nature of human intelligence and was frequently invoked in debates about whether humans possess mutiple, independent intelligences or a single global trait (see Nettlebeck & Young, 1996). However, limitations in the extent that intelligence test results inform our understanding of savant skills, along with the rise of cognitive neuropsychology, have motivated a different approach to studying savants, and researchers have increasingly focused on identifying cognitive, perceptual, and memory processes implicated in savant performance (Mottron, Dawson, Soulieres, Hubert & Burack, 2006; Pring, 2005).
- mental retardation;
- savant syndrome