"Brain injuries can sometimes reveal extraordinary talents in people. Now, savant syndrome is helping to create whole new fields of scientific discovery.
Wikimedia CommonsFor a long time, it was a mystery as to how horses galloped. Did all four hooves at some point leave the ground? Or was one hoof always planted? It wasn't until the 1880s when a British photographer named Eadweard Muybridge settled the debate with a series of photographs of a horse in midstride. Muybridge took a great interest in capturing the minute details of bodies in motion. The images made him famous.
Muybridge could be obsessive -- and eccentric, too. His erratic behavior was blamed on a head injury he'd sustained in a serious stagecoach accident that killed one passenger and wounded all the rest. Now, researchers believe that the crash, which gave Muybridge a permanent brain injury, may actually have been partially responsible for endowing him with his artistic brilliance.
Muybridge may have been what psychiatrists call an acquired savant, somebody with extraordinary talent but who wasn't born with it and who didn't learn the skills from someplace else later. In fact, Muybridge's savant abilities had evidently been buried deep in the recesses of his mind the whole time, and the stagecoach incident had simply unlocked them........"