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Becoming obsessed with the brain

  1. May 5, 2012 #1
    I'm starting to develop some kind of obsession with being smart and some of you may have read my previous posts about it lol but I do have one question.

    What makes brains like that of Daniel Tammets to be incredible behond scientific understanding? How can he solve extreme mathematical equations without even knowing the answer?

    Like 316 in a matter of seconds? He says he sees for example the 31 in one shape and the power 6 in the other shape, he said they slowly come together and another shape forms, that shape is then the answer....

    I mean wtf? seriously.... and also I've heard of cases where people get a knock on the head and suddenly become math genius'.

    There must be a way to surgically alter someone's brain so it functions the same as someone with a disability? There must be a way to stimulate the part of the brain that's responsible for calculation, (just like a computers arithmatic logic unit) and alter the way it works.

    I'd sacrifice being social and understanding for insane intelligence in a heart beat.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2012 #2
    For one Tammet has aspergers syndrome and he really gets off on doing math like that, so theres a strong motivation factor involved. He also has synthesia in which there are abnormal connections between parts of the brain which are normally more autonomous. There are a zillion other factors - I would guess that he has pretty thick myelin sheaths.
  4. May 5, 2012 #3
    But there must be a way that scientists can emulate that? "abnormal connections between parts of the brain" surely somehow we can alter how a brain works?

    I read something once about scientists who guided a fish around a maze by using little electrodes attached to his brain and stimulating them to make him turn left or right.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2012
  5. May 5, 2012 #4
    As of yet, we don't know exactly what sort of structures in the brain are correlated with the various functions that it performs eg. memory, information processing (this is a very simplified picture). Even if we did know about those, using them to actually alter a brain and still preserve its functional viability would be insanely difficult. And when we do achieve that, a number of ethical issues will have to be dealt with.
  6. May 6, 2012 #5


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    Whilst some questions about brain function can be answered with the technology we have now we lack the technology to accurately examine a living brain at a fundamental enough level to answer questions like this. You may find this TED talk about connectomes and how in future we may be able to map them;

    Of course if it turns out that connections are only part of the story then we'll have to wait longer for those answers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. May 6, 2012 #6
    Wow that was interesting :D Would be good if someone could explain how someone can take a head injury and wake up a smarter person lol
  8. May 13, 2012 #7
    I'm told that real geniuses are incredible. I've never met one. They themselves don't understand how they do it. Richard Feynman said he saw strange things like numbers floating around in different colors. Poincare could answer questions instantly. "It came like an arrow," he said.
  9. May 13, 2012 #8
    Yes, they do the math without even having to think. It just happens naturally. The numbers appear in shapes and colours and they just put them together and the shapes merge into 1 large shape which is the answer.
  10. May 16, 2012 #9
    ^^ I wonder why do we call people like them "GEnius".I think They should rather be termed "gifted" , not intelligent and genius.
    They don't even have to put efforts in order to memorise and solve questions.

    THere are people who struggle with their brain and develop mechanisms to learn new things in a very fast and tactical manner .IMO , they should be termed real genius.
  11. May 17, 2012 #10


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    Sounds like synesthesia.
    Not all people labelled genius are mathematicians.
    There is no test nor objective definition for genius. People who are intellectually exceptional and capable of great original feats are usually labelled genius regardless of if they are the type of person who it "comes naturally to" or because they worked hard for years.
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