.... "If the brain was so simple that we could understand it, then we would be so simple that we couldn't." -- Emerson M. Pugh


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Embracing The Wide Sky"

WOW!! I snapped up autistic savant Daniel Tammet's latest book hot off the bookstore shelves the other day ("Embracing The Wide Sky" here and here), and am about 2/3 of the way through it, but can say I LUV it! Hits on a wide range of cognitive issues. And Tammet's perspective is of course utterly unique, as an articulate, thoughtful savant who can introspectively analyze how his own mind works. The book actually includes a lot of references to more standard journal literature as well, but Tammet never blindingly accepts the conclusions of academic researchers when his own intuitive understanding of how the brain works runs counter to the party line of academics. Plenty of outside-the-box thinking here on subjects where outside-the-box thinking is much needed, and sometimes difficult to come by.

Although he doesn't go into great depth in any given area, Tammet touches upon a shmorgasbord of cognitive subjects including brain plasticity and re-wiring, intelligence testing, memory, language acquisition and processing, number instinct, perception, and creativity. And interestingly, he believes many of the talents of savants are not as special as they appear, and in some cases are even accessible by non-savants.
A very interesting read for anyone interested in the workings of the brain.

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