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The skills and methods of calendrical savants

Cowan, Richard and O'Connor, Neil and Samella, Katerina (2003) The skills and methods of calendrical savants. Intelligence, 31. pp. 51-65. ISSN 0160-2896

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Abstract

Calendrical savants are people with considerable intellectual difficulties that have the unusual ability to name the weekdays for dates in the past and sometimes the future. Three criteria are proposed to distinguish savants whose skill depends on memorization from those who calculate: range of years, consistent deviation from the Gregorian calendar, and variation in latency with remoteness from the present. A study of 10 calendrical savants showed 5 met one or both of the criteria concerning range and deviation and 9 met the third criterion. The second study assessed their arithmetical abilities using tests of mental and written arithmetic. This broadly validated the attribution of calculation as the basis for some savants? skills. The results are discussed in relation to views that calendrical savants imply the existence of a modular mathematical intelligence or unconscious integer arithmetic.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: a. Savant syndrome b. Cognitive psychology. Assessments of calendrical and arithmetical skills of calendrical savants. c. Only study of arithmetical skills of calendrical savants using standardized and customized measures. Establishes that they possess arithmetical skills beyond those suggested by intelligence test arithmetic subscales. d. Judged a ‘wonderful’ article by the editor of Intelligence (Professor Detterman). Referees applauded the design, analysis and sample size, unusually high for savant research, and contribution to knowledge about savants and mathematical cognition. Intelligence has an impact factor of 2.235 (2005 Thomson Journal Citation reports) e. Individual assessments of 10 calendrical savants. Analyses established response time variation with remoteness from the present, covariation of calendrical and arithmetical skills, and discrepancies between tests of pure calculation and tests of arithmetical story problems f. Double blind peer-reviewed. g. The paper was wholly written and revised by first author, based on research conducted in collaboration with other authors.
Controlled Keywords: Adults , UK , Numeracy
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2009 13:20
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 11:25
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/406

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