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Kim Peek, aka Rain Man Focus of NASA Study 366

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the check-out-the-big-brain-on-brad dept.
Bob Vila's Hammer writes "Kim Peek - an autistic man who has been deemed a "mega-savant" for his astonishing knowledge of 15 grand subjects ranging from history and literature, geography and numbers, to sports, music and dates - is a part of a new NASA study to explore the changes in his brain since MRI images were originally taken in 1988. Not only was he the basis of the main character in the movie Rain Man, but he apparently is getting smarter in his specialty areas as he gets older. The study has scientists hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain will help explain his mental capabilities."
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Kim Peek, aka Rain Man Focus of NASA Study

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:33PM (#10766666) Homepage Journal

    But he also is severely limited in other ways, like not being able to find the silverware drawer at home or dressing himself.

    What's his /. UID?
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:34PM (#10766675)
    While definitely a "savant", Kim Peek is not behaviorally autistic [wisconsinm...ociety.org]; Rain Man's character was modified to be an autistic savant. (Autism, like many disorders, is merely a set of diagnostic criteria, and Kim may share some in common with classic autism. However, some critical benchmarks for autism are not shared, making Kim not strictly "autistic".)

    The above article [wisconsinm...ociety.org] and the brief wikipedia story [wikipedia.org] are very interesting reads. For example, did you know that Kim was born with "an enlarged head and missing corpus callosum, the connecting tissue between the brain hemispheres, damage to the cerebellum and no anterior commissure"?
    • by Feynman (170746) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:46PM (#10766807)
      [D]id you know that Kim was born "missing...the connecting tissue between the brain hemispheres...?"

      According to this artice [msn.com], "tests showed his brain hemispheres are not separated, forming a single, large 'data storage' area" (emphasis added).

      • Yes, I've seen some references to that as well...but he's still missing the specific connection structures a normal brain has between the hemispheres. Apparently they are connected in other ways (or are simply one "piece")? One would imagine that's part of what the NASA researchers will be looking into more thoroughly.
        • by venicebeach (702856) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:50PM (#10769342) Homepage Journal
          There are other connections besides the corpus callosum and anterior commisure in a normal brain. There is also the hippocampal commissure, as well as the massa intermedia connecting the thalami (although not everybody has this). But it's important to keep in mind that while the corpus callosum and anterior commissure connect the cerebral cortex on both sides, subcortically the brain is unified, and information can transfer down there, say at the level of the midbrain. Also, people born with callosal agenesis are not all that bad at transfering information from one hemisphere to another (compared with someone who has their CC cut later in life) suggesting they use these other channels more efficiently.
    • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:54PM (#10766870) Homepage Journal
      The diagnostic criteria for the autistic spectrum tends to be a little on the vague side, but I agree that he doesn't meet the full "official" definition.


      It may be valuable, though, to have a better understanding of how the brain processes such specialized information, especially for those who are autistic. Treatments (where they exist) tend to be haphazard experiments on the patient, with very little information on why some treatments work in some cases, others work in others, and no treatments work at all in yet others.


      Nor is it clear that everything in the "autistic spectrum" is biologically (rather than symptomatically) related. If they are unrelated, it would go a long way to explaining why the effects of medication are so unpredictable.


      As far as I can tell, very little of the mechanics of autism has been researched. The cause is uncertain, though likely to have a genetic component. What that component is, and how significant it is, seems to be completely unknown. There may be environmental factors (MMR vaccines have been looked at with suspicion, for example), but that too is so uncertain as to be mere whistling in the dark.


      The NASA research is unlikely to answer any of these questions, but may provide some clues as to how to get answers in future, and hopefully will inspire researchers to actually do the basic research needed.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:16PM (#10767051)
        As far as I can tell, very little of the mechanics of autism has been researched. The cause is uncertain, though likely to have a genetic component. What that component is, and how significant it is, seems to be completely unknown. There may be environmental factors (MMR vaccines have been looked at with suspicion, for example), but that too is so uncertain as to be mere whistling in the dark.

        That is often said, but it just isn't true anymore. The massively deficient and elevated levels of metals in the bodies of autistics is well documented. An autistic has an array of known biochemistry and physiological symptoms. About 99% of cases of autism appear to be caused by heavy metal poisoning insulting the development or function of the brain (there is a perfect overlap between the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning and autism -- because they are the same thing). Some parents are now managing to fully de-autistify their children by chelating mercury and lead. There can be other causes, but they're rare.

        Oh, the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. It might've had a minor negative effect in some individuals that were already going to become autistic though. Apart from some very rare reactions, it seems very doubtful that vaccines cause autism. Although it does seem to me that the heavy metal and other chemical preservatives used in many vaccines may have encouraged the development of autism in vulnerable individuals.
        • by relaxrelax (820738) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:43PM (#10767979)
          The massive lack of metallothionein in autism (one of the metal detox pathways) does mean higher levels of metals and therefore heavy metal poisoning in 99% of cases; but however you can't claim autism is the same as heavy metal poisoning!!!

          For starters, metal poisoning does NOT always imply lack of metallothionein or autistic behavior, and only mercury poisoning would somewhat approach autism symptoms... superficially!

          Also autism does not always mean metal poisoning. Some autistics have simply not been exposed to enough metals to be poisonned and they're quite autistic - the poison dart frog active substance in their blood and all that without metal poisoning. Autistics with the least metal poisoning have a tendency NOT to be deficient in sulfur like 75% of autistics (in a study by Dr. Waring). Sulfur deficiency is a marker of mercury poisoning, as mercury has affinity for most sulfur groups in the body and therefore damages sulfur metabolism.

          The MMR vaccine is the only vaccine to have a serious connection to autism, but it's like 0.04% of cases and not 99% as Wakefield believed at some point... and it's a delayed effect. Other vaccines don't CAUSE autism, but could certainly account for chance of early diagnosis because of plainly obvious mercury damage and ADD/dyslexia type problems.

          Difference between autistic children of today with the next generation of children that are now on non-mercury (but aluminium preservative) vaccines is gonna be quite instructive, look for it when it shows up...

          The mercury poisoning (quite a common disease among autistics with mercury fillings) is but one of the issues (lead and arsenic kills people too, you know). You CAN'T de-autistify someone with chelation, but curing metal poisoning can raise their IQ just like in non-autistic who are lead poisonned. Then they don't SEEM autistic as much, but still function extremely differently from other people when you look at the details.

          In short, high IQ allows autistics to "pretent to be normal" by learning normal behavior and acting it with good actor skills. You can find all about it in a book called "pretending to be normal".

          By the way, here is another savant (with autistic traits, but possibly not completely autistic). This one is a top 10 mathematician in history according to many.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdos

          Some autistic links: neurodiversity.com

          I recommend the neurodiversity.com section called "murder of autistics" for a good, true, opinion-diverse, very disturbing read.
        • About 99% of cases of autism appear to be caused by heavy metal poisoning insulting the development or function of the brain (there is a perfect overlap between the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning and autism -- because they are the same thing).

          Appear to whom? This has not been born out by studies. Currently the only evidence in support of the metal poisoning theory I've seen are from people selling chelation therapy. If you know of any scientific studies to support this I'd love to see them.
    • .

      Kim was born with "an enlarged head and missing corpus callosum, the connecting tissue between the brain hemispheres, damage to the cerebellum and no anterior commissure"?

      No wonder he can't find the silverware drawer at home. That requires coordination of the parietal lobe via the corpus callosum.

      No wonder he can't dress himself, that requires a cerebellum for detailed motor movements.

      Now what can he do, this modern day human with a massive conjoined cortical apparatus?

    • For example, did you know that Kim was born with "an enlarged head...

      My mother always said I had an enlarged head...

    • Perhaps it's Aspergers, or somethign like it? Obviously, I am not a doctor.
      • Sounds more like a specific-to-him birth defect in the brain, from the article. Asperger's is higher level functioning than this- I've got Asperger's and not only can I find the silverware drawer, but also the disk that is under the 2" stack of papers on my desk, as long as nobody has attempted to "tidy up" after me. Nope- Kim is someplace on the autistic spectrum, as is anybody with some savant and some retarded abilities, but is definately too low functioning to be Asperger's. Despite advanced degrees
    • by sl3xd (111641) * on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:58PM (#10767475) Journal
      While definitely a "savant", Kim Peek is not behaviorally autistic; Rain Man's character was modified to be an autistic savant.

      This is true, but it's worth noting that the movie was based around Kim Peek. I've actually met Kim Peek (and his father, Kim didn't live by himself at the time), he's quite a fellow. Apparently Kim was having trouble getting medical care due to both insurance indifference and government beaurocracy, and Dustin Hoffman (who played the savant in the movie) moved mountains to help out Kim. I've also met people with classic autism -- while a psycologist may differ on the strictness of the definition, to the layman it's the same thing. Still, the opprotunity for education is appreciated.

      It's still neat to ask Kim about a little blink-by-town in the middle of nowhere, and he's able to tell you about the area with enough detail that it seems as if he's been there before. (He liked to study maps at one point in time, and no matter how long ago it was, he still remembers perfectly). As long as we stayed in the guidelines set by his father (mainly talking about Kim's areas of interest -- and hence knowledge), he played a perfect game of 'stump the dummy.' (The term originates from one of my engineering professors, referring to Q&A sessions where students ask him questions about their homework, and has nothing to do with Kim Peek. Half the fun of the game was getting the professor to say "I don't know". When talking to Kim Peeks, this never happened.)

      It'll be interesting ot see what the study finds.
  • Cliche (Score:3, Funny)

    by mboverload (657893) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:36PM (#10766689) Journal
    Can we make a beowulf cluster of him?
    • Can we make a beowulf cluster of him?

      You need to read A Signal Shattered by Eric S. Nylund. I don't want to reveal too much, but a major plotline involves making a beowulf cluster of human minds. Very well written too.

      He also wrote the first and third of the Halo book series. They are the only ones worth reading imo, because the second book (by William Dietz) is basically a play-by-play of the game. Incredibly boring and repetitive (Master chief fires his gun at the enemy, then fires at another,
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:37PM (#10766705) Homepage Journal
    Maybe NASA is too lazy to count stars in Hubble images for density studies, and hope this dude can do it in one shot.
  • by sssmashy (612587) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:37PM (#10766706)

    Maybe he could give Ken a run for his money. Also, I'd love to see some "rain man" style banter with Alex as an alternative to the usual tepid small talk.

    • They're both Mormon (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sssmashy (612587) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:45PM (#10766785)
      As an interesting side note, both Ken Jenning and Kim Peek are Mormon. In fact, Mormon doctrine is one of the subjects that Kim has mastered in mind-dumbing detail.
      • by Jon Abbott (723) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:51PM (#10766847) Homepage
        As another interesting side note, Ken Jennings answered a question (or is that questioned an answer) about Rain Man just a few shows ago... After answering he said "definitely, definitely."
      • As an interesting side note, both Ken Jenning and Kim Peek are Mormon. In fact, Mormon doctrine is one of the subjects that Kim has mastered in mind-dumbing detail.

        That's a scary thought in and of itself- but it only requires three books out of the 8000 he has read...I wonder if he'd turn Catholic after being let loose in the Vatican Library and consuming another 15,000 volumes of information on natural law, philosophy, and general theology?
  • I welcome (Score:4, Funny)

    by mboverload (657893) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:38PM (#10766711) Journal
    I welcome our new autistic all-knowing overlords.
    • by putzin (99318)

      Can someone with autism truly manage to be an overlord? So, wouldn't it be more like the following?

      I welcome our new all-knowing autistic differently-abled buddies who may or may not take over after someone helps them get dressed and eat breakfast.
  • Goal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mphase (644838) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:39PM (#10766720) Homepage
    "The goal is to measure what happens in Kim's brain when he expresses things and when he thinks about them."

    Personally I'd be curious to look at the difference in his brain activity when he is dealing with one of his specialities as opposed to when he is trying to find a spoon.
    • Re:Goal (Score:5, Funny)

      by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:45PM (#10766792)
      Dude, there is no spoon.
    • One of my favorite Alex Trabek moments was on a celebrity Jeopardy match with Jon Lovitz and two others whom I have since forgotten. The category was something like "The Sea" and the answer was something like "noted for having eight tentacles." When no one buzzed in Trabek looked at all of them like they were morons, before giving them the answer like he would to a four year old. Lovitz replied along the lines of, "Sure its easy for you, you get all the answers. Next time you can stand here and I'll read
      • Those are always classic. Making fun of Tom Cruise and Jeff Goldblum are always fun. Having Sean Connery as a repeat player 100% of the time is great too.

        "I'll take Famous Titties for 100"

        "That's, Famous Titles."

        • I think he was talking about actual Celebrity Jeopardy, not the SNL skit. The real thing isn't as funny, because it's so sad.
    • Personally I'd be curious to look at the difference in his brain activity when he is dealing with one of his specialities as opposed to when he is trying to find a spoon.

      Well, the CNN article is characteristically light on details, but it says the tests will include MRI and "computerized tomography" (i.e., a PET scan). The PET scan can be used for examining things like flow of blood and oxygen, as well as which parts of the brain are utilized for a given task. Unfortunately, even though PET research can f
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:40PM (#10766734) Homepage Journal
    ... he apparently is getting smarter in his specialty areas as he gets older.

    Smarter or more knowlegeable? If he maintains his fascination in those areas, why would we imagine that he wouldn't gain knowlege?

    Smarter would mean something like ``better able to reason with a given set of information.''

    Since the article is on CNN, I suppose that we shouldn't expect any sort of detail or sense, and not much fact, either.

    • by zx75 (304335) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:51PM (#10766846) Homepage
      More knowledgable certainly, but entirely possible to be smarter as well. With his amazing accumulation of knowledge, if he is able to reason and answer questions as quickly as he used to, then one must assume he is also getting smarter because indexing and sorting much more data in the same amount of time would represent a large increase in performance.

      Man, I had a hard time typing like that, I detest discussing someone as if they were a machine, but I could think of no better way to make my point.
      • I don't believe there's anything to suggest that an increase in the amount of knowledge a person holds has any correlation to how long it takes him to index and sort that information. I think you've ascribed a machine limitation to a human, which might not be the case.

        Hmm, now that I think about that, perhaps this man's brain holds the key to the NP-complete question.
    • by sv0f (197289) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:55PM (#10766876)
      Smarter or more knowlegeable?

      Depends how you define "smart". If you equate it with "intelligence" as studied by psychometricians, then it is common to distinguish two forms.

      If he maintains his fascination in those areas, why would we imagine that he wouldn't gain knowlege?

      "Crystallized" intelligence is roughly speaking the amount of knowledge you have. You're right, this should increase with age, or more generally with experience.

      Smarter would mean something like ``better able to reason with a given set of information.''

      "Fluid" intelligence is roughly speaking the flexibility of thinking, and is measured by having people solve novel problems that don't depend (much) on prior knowledge, culture background, etc. The canonical example is Ravens Progressive Matrices test.

      It's fluid intelligence that you're thinking of, and that I think of too, when the word "intelligence" or "smarts" is used. Fluid intelligence is correlated with things like working memory capacity: how much information you can store and process at the same time -- roughly your "cognitive throughput".

      In general, crystallized intelligence increases (or can increase) with age/experience. However, fluid intelligence (and related constructs such as working memory capacity) actually declines in the elderly.

      The two forms of intelligence are likely subserved by different cortical networks in the brain -- and this is probably relevant given that the article mentions the use of MRI -- but this is the subject of another post!
  • Do it yourself (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:42PM (#10766752)
    Be your own savant for a little while... with magnets. Really [abc.net.au]! Maybe.
  • They really just want to play home version Jeopardy with him - they think they can win. As proof, notice that they didn't ask to study Ken Jennings!

    There, I've run rings round you logically.
    • by sczimme (603413)

      There, I've run rings round you logically.

      "Oh, intercourse the penguin!"

      Ya know, that came from a Monty Python sketch but it takes on a slightly different meaning here. Eeww.
  • Hi

    I have a eigenpoll [all-technology.com] for books on accelerated learning techniques,
    in case there is anybody else which likes to get smarter as they get older ;-)

  • Pork (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kippy (416183)
    Seriously, why is this being done by NASA? This is a neat thing happening with this guy but don't we have dozens of people who've actually been in space for extended periods of time? Why aren't CAT scans of them enough?

    I can't see how this has any practical relevance to the space program from the viewpoint of manned space (we have more than enough data on that front) or unmanned where this is completely unrelated.

    What ever happened to NASA being the Aeronautics and Space administration. Wasn't the VSE [nasa.gov] s
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by o0O Dooby O0o (829577) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:47PM (#10766810)
    So... where is this guy? I want to take him to the casinos. Two for good, one for bad. :)
    • Casinos in any town which has more than one consecutive casino on any given street are damned easy to beat- just remember that the key for any casino is to draw in as many people as possible, and for people walking by on the sidewalk, winners behind glass=new customers who probably will sit further back than the first row of tables/machines.
  • Yeah, (Score:4, Funny)

    by robpoe (578975) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:48PM (#10766814)
    Definately a waste of money. Big waste. yeah.

  • by hkb (777908) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @12:48PM (#10766820)
    According to the following link, Kim Peek is not autistic, he's just a savant:

    http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant/ki mp eek.cfm


    Along the way to its completion, the original script for the movie Rain Man underwent a number of modifications. While Kim Peek served as the initial inspiration for the story, Raymond Babbitt, as portrayed so admirably by Dustin Hoffman, is a composite savant with abilities drawn from a number of different real life individuals. The main character in that movie, Raymond Babbitt, was modified to be an autistic savant. The story thus is that of a person who is autistic but also has savant skills grafted on to that basic autistic disorder. It is important to remember, therefore, that not all autistic persons are savants, and not all savants are autistic. In preparation for his role, Dustin Hoffman spent time with several other autistic savants and their families, as well as with Kim.

    Fran Peek describes his son this way: "Kim is not behaviorally autistic. He has a warm, loving personality. He truly cares for people and enjoys sharing his unique skills and knowledge capacity.


    It is important to distringuish that Kim Peek does not demonstrate the disassociation portrayed in the Rain Man movie.

    In fact, Kim Peek (along with his dad, Fran) spends a lot of time doing "charity work" with elderly people.

    Supposedly, he's quite a nice guy to talk to, if a bit mentally retarded (or whatever the proper term is these days).
    • "mentally retarded (or whatever the proper term is these days)"

      Mentally retarded is still the term. It's a clinical term, just like emphysema or congestive heart failure. The attempts to attach a negative connotation have only worked with non-professionals, and are really pointless anyway.
    • Fran Peek describes his son this way: "Kim is not behaviorally autistic. He has a warm, loving personality. He truly cares for people and enjoys sharing his unique skills and knowledge capacity.

      I know several autistic children, and they all have warm, loving personalities, once you get to know them. By all, I mean the ones I know - I will not argue that there may be autistic children/adults who do not have warm, loving personalities, but I'd be hard-pressed to believe they represent any majority. Thes

      • "Kim is not behaviorally autistic. He has a warm, loving personality. He truly cares for people and enjoys sharing his unique skills and knowledge capacity.

        Actually, I read that as he has a warm, loving personality - as compared to the entire human race.

        It's my firm belief that someone who hasn't been stepped on repeatedly by other people (or has perceived themselves stepped all over) is typically has a warm and loving personality.
        • Perhaps you are correct in your interpretation of what he (Fran) was saying. I think you're spot on with respect to your belief about people who either aren't stepped on or, as is much more likely to be the case, aren't aware they're being stepped on typically having a warm and loving personality.

    • Definitely. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet him at one point and he was an extremely friendly guy, until people ask him to do a "trick" like calculate the day of the week their birthdate fell on or do some math. Then he seemed to get annoyed, understandably.
  • by ch-chuck (9622)
    ok, what does the mri show about his brain that's different than Mr. Normal Person? Are there different neuron interconnections, higher density, what? Any clue as to how his memory works?

    • is it based on a chemical reaction we can isolate in the lab?

      Cause I might be willing to take a pill that makes me twice as smart. Think of what I could do with a 360 IQ!

      heh
      I'd rather take a pill that made me rich.
  • by cmstremi (206046) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:00PM (#10766911) Homepage
    Interesting that he can describe driving directions and specific geography but can't apply the same skills to locating the silverware - they seem like very similar tasks.
    • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:38PM (#10767915) Journal
      both tasks probably are similar when you can do both and are probably very different for Kim who can't. I find I can find things easily when I put them in a physical location, but when my wife moves them and merely tells me where they are I'm unlikly to remember the new location. My guess is if his parents wrote a book "where things are" and always put things in their place, Kim would be excellent at telling you where they were kept even down to detailed directions to get them, yet would still be unable to get them himself.
  • by Snaller (147050) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:07PM (#10766965) Journal
    Kim Peek - an autistic man who has been deemed a "mega-savant" for his astonishing knowledge of 15 grand subjects ranging from history and literature, geography and numbers, to sports, music and dates

    That's dates as in "When was Christopher Columbus born" not "Take me in your strong arms and make passionate love to me"?
  • After all he is an excellent driver!
  • Kim Peek sounds like he is probably the only person that will be able to take down Ken Jennings before he breaks the bank.
  • Is that 15 grand [aldertons.com] ("thousand") subjects then? Well, that's much more than a monkey [aldertons.com] or a ton [aldertons.com] of subjects!
  • Peek on tour (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DevilPen (829588) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:22PM (#10767120)
    Kim Peek and his father visited my college (Elizabethtown College) several years ago. It was basically the two of them on stage describing Kim's condition. That was followed up by some interesting personal stories from Kim's life... including their involvement in the "Rain Man" film experience.

    The most interesting part of the session was the question and answer portion at the end. For about 30 - 45 minutes Kim fielded various "trivia" questions from the audience. They ranged from obscure baseball facts from 50 years ago, to a student standing up, stating his name and hometown and asking for his address and phone number. No-one succeeded in stumping Peek.

    Peek's visit was certainly one of two most interesting speakers to visit my college while I was there. (the other would be Desmond Tutu)

  • Why don't they... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:32PM (#10767223)
    Why don't they put in in a room with ALL the available data on HIS condition (autism), let him make autism his latest subject to be a "mega-savant" about; then ASK HIM ABOUT HIS OWN CONDITION ?
  • by acherrington (465776) <acherrington.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @01:48PM (#10767375) Homepage
    Kim Peek Versus Ken Jennings on Jepordy.... Wow that would be an episode to remember. Put that on prime time.
  • He's obviously not married with children [hoosiergazette.com].
  • by Kartik3 (590836) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @02:48PM (#10768032)
    I remember watching a documentary or two about autism and something that was repeatedly found was that as an autistic individual tried to remedy their problems with autism (usually getting better with age) their savant like knowledge began to deteriorate. I have always thought that there is almost a finite amount of brain capacity any one individual is able to have. Meaning, while a savant is able to have incredible knowledge of some things, their brain is so devoted to that knowledge that things, like knowing where the silverwear drawer is, get sacrificed. Specifically, I think that the autistic savant's brain begins to lose the amount of speicfic knowledge in their savant areas as they are adapting to a more social lifestyle and expanding the functionality of their brain. (Others have pointed out that Kim doesn't lack the social skills to be considered classically autistic. However I feel that this explaination may still be able to apply to some degree.)
  • by skamuel (829648) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:28PM (#10769086)
    The 53-year-old Peek is called a "mega-savant" because he is a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates.

    Wow! Slashdotters, this guy could probably help us out with the girls!
  • by orcrist (16312) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @04:32PM (#10769133)
    I'm surprised nobody has said this yet. We just have this guy count all the votes!

    -chris
  • by nusratt (751548) on Tuesday November 09, 2004 @09:44PM (#10772639) Journal
    "But he also is severely limited in other ways, like not being able to find the silverware drawer at home or dressing himself."

    So, apparently he has exceptional abilities ONLY in things which are interesting.
    And everything else, someone else has to do it for him.
    How conveeeeeeeenient...

    Slickest scam I've ever seen.

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