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‘Autistic savants' are individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills. Brain mechanisms underlying such capacities are still unknown.
To map the exceptional calendar capacity of a man with primary autism.
Positron emission tomography was used to map brain activity in a man who is able to associate a day of the week with the corresponding calendar date.
During the calendar task, the left hippocampus, the left frontal cortex and the left middle temporal lobe were activated.
The cerebral circuit involved in this man's prodigious calendar skill is similar to that normally involved in memory retrieval tasks. These results suggest that the prodigious capacities may be sustained by memory processing.
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