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Mental calculators?

  1. Oct 19, 2009 #1
    Hi there, i told this to a friend but he only looked at me weirdly so the internet seems proper to post such a strange story.

    My post relates to people who have incredible abilities at mental calculations, autistic savants or anything of the kind.

    Last year around August i was sitting in a cafe with two of my friends and we were laughing about something. At that moment i looked up towards the ceiling and suddenly i had saw 'something' that i don't how to explain. What i saw was a multitude of shapes in a hazy orange type of tinge. Three shapes stood out amongst them all, a square, triangle and then a circle. There were two three digit numbers in the square and triangle, and at that instant i 'pictured' the answer if the two were to be multiplied, in the circle and i just knew it was the answer. At the same time i was over come by this feeling of 'knowing', of 'clarity', i'm not sure how to describe it, but you know when you're on a roll in solving difficult maths problems and you reach this type of 'high' well it was like that but much better. Also at that moment, i thought back to some problems i had at the time in solving maths related problems and it all made perfect sense to me, everything was just 'clear' when i thought about it. The shapes each had different colours, but the orange tinge 'covered' them all.

    Then in a brief moment, i suddenly felt as if the 'vision' i had was suddenly drifting away and i somehow tried to 'hold' onto it but it just 'faded' away and i was back again at staring at my friends. It happened so fast they didn't notice, what felt to me, that i had zoned out for a short while.

    Ok i know that sounds very strange, i don't know how to describe it, i don't know whether i was going crazy at the time (i was only 20 then), i'm a rational person but i don't know what this was. I don't have autism nor any other related syndrome. By medical standards i guess i'm healthy, and i'm just an average student in maths (studying engineering). I'd say i have a rather good memory, but that's about it. Thing is, this has been bothering me since then, and like i said i tried telling one of my friends a while ago, one of them who was sitting there, but he didn't seem to take me seriously and didn't say much.

    I know such people exist who have unusual abilities at performing complex mental calculations, and i know of one guy in the UK who's an autistic savant, who can do complex calculations, and he also has an amazing memory too (i saw a documentary on him, he learnt Icelandic in a week!), i emailed him a few months ago but he never replied. So while i was very hesistant in posting on some online forum i figured i don't have anything to lose.

    So is anyone familiar with this type of stuff? Anywhere that i can be directed to, to 'find' out more, some explanation of what happened to me? I've tried to analyse all possible reasons that lead to what happened, and i simply don't know what...the only conclusion i can come up with is that my mind/brain imagined it all or something. It's only happened once btw, never as a child, only then when i was 20, i've tried 'thinking' it back but nothing's ever happened. It's either that my brain/mind brought this about somehow, a delusion of sorts, or i have some sort of feint potential in complex mental calculation that has never fully developed. I know that guy in the UK sees numbers as some form of colours, so i'm not too far off.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2009 #2
    Thats cool, too bad it's never happened again. In order for me to get to the point now where I can multiple most in my head took A LOT of practice. (My calculus teacher made the class do I think it was 5 minutes of mental multiplications there was a chart and you had to fill it out and see how many you got correct after. At first I made so many mistakes but by the end of the year I could finish the entire chart with close to 0 mistakes everytime.)
  4. Oct 19, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Must have been in Amsterdam.
  5. Oct 19, 2009 #4
    I guess like with anything, practicing something, you'll eventually master it. I'll give such methods a go on my summer break.

    lol no :p but for the record, i've never had any type of drugs.
  6. Oct 19, 2009 #5


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    Gold Member

    I think you should go see a doctor, no joke.

    It sounds like you have Charles Bonnett syndrome
  7. Oct 20, 2009 #6
    Do you still have this chart? Or can you describe in more detail what was on the chart? (e.g. random two-digit pairs to multiply, three-digit pairs, etc.) I'd be interested in seeing it: mental exercise and practice are good things!
  8. Oct 20, 2009 #7
    I read up on that, and it sounds sort of similar actually, thanks.
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