Daniel Tammet Is The Autistic Savant Who Can Explain His Thought Process
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People with savant syndrome suffer from a mental disability, yet demonstrate extraordinary abilities in one specific area that go far beyond what is considered normal. The rare syndrome exists in people with all sorts of developmental disabilities and even brain damage, but seems to especially affect those on the autism spectrum. As many as one in 10 people with autistic disorder display savant syndrome to varying degrees. One such person is Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant who, since suffering an epileptic fit at age 3, has had extraordinary mathematical and language learning capabilities.
These College Majors Are Unusual, But They're Totally Real
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When it comes to secondary education, there is truly something for everyone. We're talking about the real college majors and programs that are so unusual and niche, they almost seem made up. Think turf grass science and bakery studies. You can thank us for telling you about The Beatles, Popular Music & Society degree at Liverpool Hope University later.
Brain-Training Games Just Make You Good At Brain-Training Games
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In 2014, there was big-time drama in the scientific world. An international group of scientists published an open letter claiming there was no science to back up claims that brain-training games could improve mental function. A few months later, another group of scientists published their own open letter arguing the exact opposite—there's plenty of evidence that brain training works. Add in the fact that both groups used many of the same studies to back up their claims, and you have an old-fashioned scientific feud on your hands.
Drawing Something Will Help You Remember It
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If you're trying to memorize something—say, your grocery list—research says you're better off drawing the items than you are writing them down. In a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers from the University of Waterloo presented participants with a list of simple words, like apple, and gave them 40 seconds to either draw or write the word. Later, they gave participants 60 seconds to recall as many words from the list as possible. "We discovered a significant recall advantage for words that were drawn as compared to those that were written," the study's lead author, Jeffrey Wammes, said in a press release. "Participants often recalled more than twice as many drawn than written words." Drawing even beat out writing when participants added visual details or doodles to the letters. And you don't need to be a brilliant artist or have a lot of time to devote to drawing to reap the memory benefits, research says. In the study, the quality of the drawings was irrelevant, and the memory improvement kicked in even when participants only had 4 seconds to create their sketch. Learn more techniques for improving your memory with the videos below.
Whether You Read or Listen, Your Brain Processes Books The Same Way
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As more books become available in audio format, more and more diehard readers seem to reject the audiobook as "cheating." But science says that your brain does just as much work—and receives just as much benefit from—listening to a book as it does reading one. According to a New York Magazine interview with psychologist Daniel Willingham, two processes take place when you read a book. One is decoding, where your brain translates letters on a page into words that have meaning, and the other is language processing, where you figure out what the words mean together in the context of the story. When it comes to language processing, the mental processes between reading and listening are identical: a 1985 study found that if you read books well, you also listen to them well, and vice versa, and a 1977 study found that college students were able to summarize a story equally well after reading it as after listening to it. Decoding, for its part, is unique to reading. But this doesn't really matter, since after you've passed a certain reading level—around late elementary school or so—decoding becomes second nature and doesn't require any extra mental power. Discover what reading—and listening to—books can do for your brain with the videos below.