Daniel Tammet’s Reflections on Being an Autistic Savant

Scientific American has a wonderfully intriguing interview with autistic savant, Daniel Tammet available on their site. I’m so fascinated by his descriptions of his own mental processes that I can’t wait to read his books – starting with Born on a Blue Day.

In the interview he describes briefly how he was able to recite the first 22,514 numbers of Pi:

“… numbers to me have their own shapes, colors and textures. Various studies have long demonstrated that being able to visualize information makes it easier to remember. In addition, my number shapes are semantically meaningful, which is to say that I am able to visualize their relationship to other numbers. A simple example would be the number 37, which is lumpy like oatmeal, and 111 which is similarly lumpy but also round like the number three (being 37 x 3). Where you might see an endless string of random digits when looking at the decimals of Pi, my mind is able to “chunk” groups of these numbers spontaneously into meaningful visual images that constitute their own hierarchy of associations.”

Amazing, considering I’ve been struggling with my new work and home phone numbers all of this past year. [via BoingBoing]

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