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frelkins comments on Growing Up is Hard - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 January 2009 03:55AM

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Comment author: frelkins 04 January 2009 04:26:04PM 1 point [-]

@James

"overclocking"

Forgive me, I don't see how any of your list displays overclocking, or increased speed.

I was speaking just Friday to a shrink acquaintance of mine on the subject of Asbergers. He in fact argues these autism spectrum disorders are due to underclocking and poor brain region synchronization, as based on recent discoveries from brain imaging studies. That is, austism spectrum people may have a lot of stuff up there, and parts of it may seem overconnected, but those links seem weak and underperforming, while other parts of the brain are underconnected and underperforming.

High functioners and idiot-savants have lucked out in that the parts that are overconnected for them perform normally - thus their ability - but the rest is still underwired and underperforming. Or so he argues.

In contrast, I ponder about all the truly overclocked I have known. These are people who really do think much faster than the rest of us. Due to my background, they have tended to be physicists and applied mathematicians. Since it seems unlikely that their wetware actually has higher hertz, I wonder if what we term "overclocking" is really the re-use of certain brain areas for calculation.

For example, they may repurpose areas other people use for short-term memory, resulting in what is often called "absent-mindedness." Or they may not have as well-developed visual senses, again repurposing that giant area of our brains for calculation. They may have also found a way to improve their pattern skills. Several in fact have suggested this to me as the key to the way they think when I have asked them.

The majority of the overclocked do seem to be male, but I have been introduced to a few female overclockers, who were mostly in the biological sciences, such as pharma research. Thus I speculate there is some link to testosterone in very early utero development, but of course no one knows. Intelligence is only moderately valued our society, as OB readers will themselves attest, so I doubt we will solve this mystery soon.