Wednesday, January 27, 2010

child prodigy

A child prodigy is defined as someone under the age of 13 who is capable of excelling in at least one area of skill at a level that is considered to be an adult level in that field. There are child prodigies in all different skills areas including music, math, chess, the arts and even humanities. As long as the child shows demonstrable adult-level skill in one of these areas prior to that age 13 mark, he or she is considered a prodigy in that area. The most famous child prodigies include Mozart for music and Picasso for art.Until now, almost nothing was knownabout the neural basis of exceptional cognitive ability. In a pioneering study in this issue, Pesenti and colleagues have now used functional brain imaging to examine the calculating prodigy RüdigerGamm, and to compare his brain activity with that of normal control subjects asthey perform mental arithmetical calcu-lations. Gamm is remarkable in that he is able (for example) to calculate 9th powers and 5th roots with great accuracy, and he can find the quotient of 2 primes to 60 decimal places. The authors found that Gamm’s calculation processes recruited a system of brain areas implicated in episodic memory, including right medialfrontal .They suggest that experts develop a way of exploiting the unlimited storage capacity of long-term memory to maintain task-relevant information, such as the sequence of steps and intermediate results needed for complex calculation, whereas the restof us rely on the very limited span ofworking memory.A child prodigy is someone who at an early age masters one or more skills at an adult level.Some researchers believe that prodigious talent tends to arise as a result of the innate talent of the child, the energetic and emotional investment that the child ventures, and the personal characteristics of the individual. Others believe that the environment plays the dominant role, many times in obvious ways.

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