High functioning autistic people can exhibit excep- tional skills with numbers, eidetic imagery and recall of concrete detail, as brought to popular attention in the film Rain Man. However, it now transpires that these skills are to some extent latent within all of us. We do not have access under normal circumstances to this concrete detail, because it is dynamically inhibited by higher level concepts. Brain stimulation using Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation or Direct Current Stimulation, which blocks this inhibition, releases savant-like skills in non- savants. This paper proposes that one of the reasons for this lies in the brain’s need to conserve energy. Computer simulations using a spiking neural network support this hypothesis. A spiking neural network was set up with a number of feature detectors feeding an output unit, which in turn generates inhibition of the input neurons. This reduces the spike activity of the input, and thus overall energy usage. We introduce a theoretical analysis for the gains, which might be made. Thus, we demonstrate that energy conservation is a possible cause of inhibition of sensory detail by high level concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems
Issue number1 & 2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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