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Is it Possible to Unlock our Inner Savant?

Do Savants miraculous abilities come from unlocked vaults in their grey matter, or are they accessing those skills from a greater pool of knowledge?

Scientists have spent entire careers, focusing their efforts on unlocking the brain’s potential. Long running studies on those who have regained normal lives following horrific brain injuries or damage that has left the patient with unusual gifts. Dr Darold Treffert, is one such scientist, who has many case studies from which to draw his conclusions. He speaks of two distinct categories of savant: those who were born with gifts, and those who have acquired gifts, mostly through some form of damage to the brain.

We have all seen, or heard of, the blockbuster film starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. The memory savant in the film was based on Kim Peek, who could recall an astounding level of detailed historical and geographical facts. Before his sudden death in 2009, Peek had started to link them together in an even more incredible fashion, showing that his skills were dynamic and as plastic as his neural capabilities. Other famous savant’s skills include overnight genius in maths, physics, music, artistic abilities and knowledge of the calendar.

One fortuitous patient, Derek Amato, was treated in hospital for severe concussion after jumping head first into the shallow end of a swimming pool. Despite his initial headaches and blurred vision, Derek was released with his brain scans showing no significant damage or lesions to his brain, other than a mild impacted region in the left frontal lobe. A short time after returning home, he had an urge to play the piano. With no previous lessons, he sat down and played a fluent and structured piece. This story is not uncommon among those exhibiting savant style gifts. The question remains, where is this unlearned memory coming from?

Dr Treffert calls this phenomenon, Genetic Memory. Others have labelled it, Collective Unconscious (Jung), Congenital Gifts or Intuition (Carpenter), Racial Memory (Penfield), Inherited Math Module (Butterfield) and even that the Brain Comes Loaded (Gazzaniga). All these theories assume that somehow, DNA is able to retain hidden memories. How can a chemical achieve this? How can scientists and psychiatrists make such bold theories when they have yet to isolate how a memory is stored? Admittedly, they are making great strides in this direction, (studies into cell microtubules and connected neuronal pathways) but it seems presumptuous to assume that our grey matter stores things we have not learned.

Luc Montagnier, has recorded infinitesimal electromagnetic emissions between DNA molecules. The frequency is 7.83Hz, the same frequency that our Earth emits. It is known as the Schumann Resonance. Could it be that this is more than a coincidence?

Would it, perhaps, be more sensible to consider the possibility that a knock to the head could trigger an ability to tap into a much larger memory repository? A bank of collective memories stored outside our bodies in an area of our atmosphere teeming with charged particles which could be polarised like the magnetic video tape of the past? Is it too fantastic to consider that our ionosphere could retain a holographic copy of everything we see, hear or experience? One or two scientists have at begun the hunt for evidence to support this hypothesis.

Dr Roger Penrose, separates conscious computation of the brain with unconscious mechanics of thinking. He suggests that until conventional physics and quantum theories of physics comes up with a grand unified theory that explains everything, we may not get to the bottom of how our thoughts are transferred and our memories stored.

Until then, I would like to think that I can access the giant server in the sky and upload my memories for my old age. You never know, it might allow me to download the ability to speak another language, play the piano or balance my bank account. One thing is for sure, I won’t be bashing myself over the head to find out.

Sam Nash is the author of the sci-fi conspiracy thriller, The Aurora Mandate. Release date TBA. You can find her at or on Twitter @samnashauthor or

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