Daniel Tammet is known as a British writer and outstanding mathematicians with incredible memory. He is also regarded as one of the world’s known savants who can memorize hundreds figures at a time. At the same time, the young genius has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, a rare form of diseases which prevents a person from normal social functioning and adjusting to a new environment.
His extraordinary computational skills and ability to calculate figures and recognize primes, however, cannot be explained by sciences. As a result, many psychological theories, such as the triarchic theory of intelligence introduced by Sternberg and Gardiner’s theory of multiple intelligences, call Tammet’s brilliant mind in question.
Because these theories are premised on the need of a person to possess different cognitive abilities, including use of experience, cognitive abilities, and apply them in practice, Tammet is often considered as a person who has mental disabilities due to a different type of thinking he applies. In fact, this genius cannot be considered mentally handicapped because he still takes advantage of his tremendous activities to adjust to a new environment, use experience and put in practice.
According to the triarchy of intelligence, an individual should have enough mental abilities to meet the requirements of the present social environment. Positive adaptation to a new context and ability to survive and act in a new situation is possible through having effective problem solving skills, realizing the seriousness of the problems, referring to personal experience and applying knowledge in practice.
In this respect, Daniel Tammet can be considered intelligent because all these components are presented and reproduced in a completely different way. Hence, despite the fact that autists lack social skills, the young savant has other approaches to adapt to a new environment.
For instance, he applies to the images sent by brain impulses to calculate figures and memorize. What is more interesting, he turns images and words into figures to be able to adjust to social contexts, though his methods differ significantly from those used by people with accepted mental skills.
Due to the fact that the parts of brain that are responsible for number manipulation and shapes and textures have been merged, which is not typical of normal brain functioning. That explains why Tammet associates figures with specific splashes of images and forms.
According to Garniner’s theory of multiple intelligences, an individual should possess different types of cognitive abilities which are rarely connected among each other. In this respect, though Daniel Tammet is not conscious about the way he makes calculations; instead, he sends ‘an image’ or ‘shape’ of specific figures to his brain to find out how these figures can be connected to present another image, the result of calculations. Though his perception of task is different, he introduces incredible results that surpass all existing methods of calculation.
In conclusion, despite the narrowness of the presented theories, Daniel Tammet is intelligent because he can take advantage of his extraordinary skills to fit the social context and adapt to a new environment. Though the work of his brain differs much from the common outlook on normal brain functioning, the young scientist manages to make use of images to form new visions of the community.
Therefore, his skills cannot be called disabilities because they do not prevent him from leading a normal life. His mind belongs to new types of intelligence.