In past chapters we have presented a model of the human memory system based on physical and logical concepts in an attempt to shed light on such everyday events as memory searching, direction of attention, memorization, and learning. The model is built on neurons as logic devices activated by ions and ferroelectric membranes. The modeling effort points to a brain circuit that could conceivably be built in solid-state technology. However, it is doubtful that any such machine would ever be considered gifted, although a robot might be considered quite intelligent, especially if it has the ability to learn. But how can a machine be designed to be gifted, equivalent to a special talent in some narrow area? In seeking an answer this question, it is helpful first to consider gifted humans.

To gauge giftedness, the abilities of savants are now investigated. The causes of savant syndrome are not the focus in this chapter except to say it is often associated with autism and occasionally with head injuries. What is important here is that savants sometimes have unusual mental abilities far beyond those of the average person. Often, their abilities are in a very narrow area, so are termed splinter skills. Some savants have photographic memories and are able to recall vast amounts of information after seeing it only briefly. Indeed, this fact takes us away from the synaptic-growth theories of explicit memory and to models ...

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