I have heard stories about people acquiring skills after being hit in the head, here is one of them. In this particular story the man was assaulted and knocked unconscious and after he awoke he could see lines emanating from some objects. My understanding of the story is that to understand these lines he rigorously studied math. I found some parts of the story misleading as it implied the blow to the head is what caused his heightened mathematically ability.

Have there been any studies done to prove or disprove that people can actually learn something or acquire a new skill or improve upon knowledge they already know by receiving a blow to the head?

I'm not asking about cases where someone concisely decides to make an effort to learn something after a harrowing experience.

  • This story has a pretty flimsy premise: he got knocked on the head, then became interested in maths and studied. Perhaps we could redirect the question to ask whether "acquired savant syndrome" is a thing (whatever that means), as claimed by Treffert. – Oddthinking Apr 25 '14 at 10:50
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    Your title asks about being "smarter"; your post asks about "acquiring skills"; your example is claiming an "altered state of perception"; and the tags note "iq". Your final sentence seems to focus on acquiring skills which makes me think that's what you really care about. Is it okay if we edit your question title to match? – MrHen Apr 25 '14 at 14:52
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    @MrHen/Celeritas: I am concerned about stories that conclude "Since the accident in which I almost died, I've learnt to stop and smell the roses, not to take life for granted, and to take up painting." A person may acquire skills after an accident as a direct result of experiencing the accident, without it being some neurological phenomena. The example cited in the question doesn't seem that much different to this. – Oddthinking Apr 25 '14 at 16:10
  • @Oddthinking: I agree completely. My comment was mostly addressing how the question is being formed; not the validity of the question/example/claim. – MrHen Apr 25 '14 at 16:16
  • Related: Post hoc ergo propter hoc – user5582 Apr 25 '14 at 19:10

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