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The development of calendrical skills

By Richard Cowan, Rhona Stainthorp, Sophia Kapnogianni and Maria Anastasiou


Calendrical calculation is the unusual ability to name days of the week for dates in the past and sometimes the future. Previous investigations of this skill have concerned savants, people with pervasive developmental disorders or general intellectual impairment. This research has yielded a hypothesis about how calendrical skills develop but no direct evidence. This study attempts to learn about the development of savant skills by investigating the development of calendrical skills in two boys (aged 5 and 6) along with more general cognitive and social assessments. Consistent with the hypothesis, they initially demonstrated knowledge of regularities but limited range and accuracy in answering date questions and they were slower than many adult savants. At follow up, neither had improved their calendrical skills and they were less willing to answer date questions. Possibly this is because, unlike savants, they had developed interests more commonly shared by their peers and they now received praise for more conventional achievements

Year: 2004
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