From idiots savants to Albert Einstein: A brain-algorithmic explanation of savant and everyday performance
Abstract In this journal, Spitz ( New Ideas in Psychology , 13 , 167–182, 1995) proposed that calendar-calculating savants achieved their astonishing performances by concentrative efforts that developed “smart” unconscious brain algorithms. In this paper I offer argument and examples that support Spitz's contentions. Within the context of a brain algorithm based position I call Neurological Positivism (NP), I argue that all problem solving performances, whether those of savants or anyone else (including Albert Einstein), are the result of common self-organizing, self-referential algorithmic dynamics that connect the powerful algorithms of the phylogenetic brain (for example, those of perception) with algorithmic retoolments developed during ontogeny. Savant performances are described as abnormal outcomes of the evolutionary-driven transformation of phylogenetic algorithms into cultural-level problems. Albert Einstein's experiential account of personal discovery, which he termed intuition, is offered as corroborative support for NP's position that cultural-level performance arises from perceptual algorithms. It is concluded that culture is driven into existence by evolutionary dynamics that are immanent in the phylogenetic brain.
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