acquired savant syndrome

Rhett & Link Only Ear Biscuits!

In this special Rhett & Link-only episode, Rhett & Link discuss some of the rare cases of “Acquired Savant Syndrome,” a diagnosis given to someone who sustains a terrible injury to their brain that miraculously unlocks a hidden genius, like the orthopedic surgeon who was struck in the head by lightning and was then able to masterfully play the piano, or the 20 year old Australian who was in a car accident that put him in a coma for one week only to wake up speaking fluent Mandarin. This fascinating conversation leads Rhett & Link to ask the question, does everyone have these hidden abilities buried in their brain, and if so, will we ever be able to unlock them?

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After enduring a brain injury to the head, Jason Padgett woke up with acquired savant syndrome. He now sees patterns in nature and the underlying geometry of reality. He describes his vision as “discrete picture frames with a line connecting them, but still at real speed.” If you think of vision as the brain taking pictures all the time and smoothing them into a video, it’s as though Padgett sees the frames without the smoothing. In addition, “everything has a pixilated look,” he said.