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Theory:Intuitive aptitude

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The following fan theories are about intuitive aptitude.

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Theory Citations Notes
"The Hunger" is not an "ability" that comes prepackaged with intuitive aptitude. Rather, it is a natural condition that often occurs in people who are overwhelmed with responsibility, are pressured by their friends and loved ones, and have a deep-seated fear of failure. It may be simply megalomania, or a relative of megalomania. Several characters on the show have displayed this condition; Sylar merely decided to give it a name. Sylar lost all of his abilities to the Shanti Virus during Season 2, including intuitive aptitude. However, the Hunger still encouraged him to try to take an ability from Candice Wilmer. He also planned to take abilities from Maya and Alejandro Herrera and possibly from Molly Walker. The Hunger is clearly not dependent on his intuitive aptitude. - He could have just killed Candice Wilmer because that was the only way he knew how to take powers.

+ Virginia Gray pressured Sylar to overachieve while Chandra Suresh presented a possibility of failure. The overwhelming responsibility came from his power, which is a far greater duty than most of the other abilities seen on the show. After all, to have intuitive aptitude is to have the power to fix or to break just about anything.

+ In the Explosion Future, Sylar confessed to Claire that "I don't need any more power, especially not after you." He also shows enough restraint to avoid taking powers from his associates, namely Matt Parkman and the Haitian. This indicates that he has mastered the Hunger, but it should be noted that he only mastered it after he completed the task he was pressured toward by his mother--that he "could even be President".
+ In the Exposed Future, Sylar has mastered the Hunger by throwing off the responsibility that comes from his power instead of throwing off the pressure from loved ones. He refuses to use his powers and dedicates himself entirely to raising his son.
+ In Villains (the episode), Sylar's Hunger subsides as Elle begins to make him feel that "Maybe I don't have to be so special". After Elle appears to favor someone more "special" over Sylar, thereby pressuring him to prove himself more "special" than the man in question, the hunger returns.

+ Peter Petrelli did not absorb the Hunger from Future Gabriel, but simply developed it on his own due to similar circumstances. Like Sylar, he was under pressure from his loved ones and he was deeply afraid of the consequences of failure.
+ Many other characters are quite unscrupulous about their methods, and would not hesitate to cut open people's heads if they had intuitive aptitude and could learn anything useful from brain study. A lot of the Company Founders seem this way.

+ Under pressure to protect his country and end the War in Vietnam, Arthur Petrelli killed an innocent girl and forcibly prevented Daniel Linderman from healing her.
+ Under pressure to keep his family safe, Noah Bennet murdered several members of the Company and contemplated killing Molly Walker.
+ Under pressure to understand the science of evolved human abilities and with a perceived responsibility to help the world, the various leaders of the Company ordered countless controversial procedures--including human vivisection, synthetic ability implantation, and the development of weaponized viruses.

+ Because someone with intuitive aptitude can know something, they may feel that they should. "The Hunger" may just be a natural realization rather than a side affect. This fits in with the line "with great power comes great responsibility" which is used frequently in super-hero stories.
- Peter Petrelli exhibited "the hunger" after he copied Sylar's intuitive aptitude ability in I Am Become Death. Prior to gaining this ability and after it is taken away he does not, implying that the hunger and the ability are linked.
- During the second eclipse in The Eclipse, Part 1 and The Eclipse, Part 2 when Sylar temporarily loses his ability he no longer feels "the hunger".

Sylar's intuitive aptitude is actually Heroes' version of "super intelligence". None + Sylar is very intelligent and can find very quick solutions to seemingly difficult problems.

- Charlie Andrews and Matt Neuenberg's enhanced memory could be seen as the Heroes version of super intelligence.

+ Not really, no. It only lets them remember things. They can't figure out how a clock works just by looking at it like Sylar can.

+ Intelligence is literally the ability to understand. Sylar can do that pretty well...

A person with intuitive aptitude may be a small-scale version of Laplace's Demon. Laplace's Demon is a hypothetical intellect that would know the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe. With this knowledge, it would know every event in the universe's past, present, and future. + One of the main criticisms of Laplace's Demon is that the intellect would have to be capable of computing the future states of the universe faster than they actually occur. However, this is not a problem with small-scale systems such as a watch or a human brain.

+ Another criticism of Laplace's Demon is that the slightest uncertainty of a single electron would make its prediction impossible. But this is not a problem for a regular, mechanical system that performs the same functions repeatedly.

If Sylar were to take Peter Petrelli's ability, he would also gain all of the abilities Peter has absorbed. When he fought Peter in Mohinder's apartment, after Peter turned invisible, Sylar said "Interesting, I can't wait to try that one." (.07%) + With Sylar's ability he would understand how Peter's ability worked, and be able to gain access to his absorbed abilities as well.

- Sylar could be mistaken about the nature of Peter's ability as he hasn't examined Peter's brain and could simply think he will get all Peter's powers when he kills him.
+ Future Sylar could understand Knox's ability without having to kill him or analyze his brain so he knows how abilities work and wouldn't be mistaken about Peter's power.
+ Arthur was able to take all of Peter's abilities.
He did not examined Arthur's full with abilities.

If Sylar were to encounter another person with this ability, such as Peter Petrelli, he could understand how his own ability works and thus stop his hunger. Gabriel seems to have suppressed his ability. (I Am Become Death) He may not understand his own ability.
+ Sylar always needed physical access to the brains of other evolved humans to duplicate their powers. It is possible that he needs to do this with his own ability to understand it.

Sylar doesn't want the hunger to stop, or he would have examined Arthur's and Samson's brains.
- The hunger may not be part of intuitive aptitude.

+ Everyone who has used the ability developed the hunger. BTE said that if Arthur accessed intuitive aptitude he'd feel the hunger.
Gabriel's ability of intuitive aptitude was mutated when Gabriel became Sylar; this transformation was what caused the "hunger" to come to life. None + It is possible that intuitive aptitude never really was a "dark" power; it was Gabriel's obsessive longing to be special that caused him to commit his first murder, and he just went downhill from there.

+ Peter attempts to cut open his own brother's skull, very much like Sylar. It is possible that some of Sylar's actions and characteristics carried over into Peter when he absorbed the ability.

+ Peter also attempted to kill his own mother in this way.

- Sylar's father also displayed the "hunger". Samson Gray is, chronologically, the first known evolved human with this ability.

+ Samson Gray is a sociopath monster. It's quite conceivable that simple insanity can cause the ability to mutate.
- No one's ability ever mutated because they were crazy, however emotional distress was shown to make abilities unstable.
Kaito's ability was a variation of intuitive aptitude. Four Months Later... deleted scene and I Am Become Death. + Future Gabriel said that Peter would be able to understand "cause, effect, action, reaction, how to change the future". Kaito said that he takes the variables of a given situation and predicts the outcome.

- The scene was deleted, possibly because they didn't want that to be Kaito's power.
- Santiago's ability is completely different than Sylar's.

+ Kaito's ability isn't actually accelerated probability; that is a placeholder term because his ability has not been demonstrated in the show.
Intuitive aptitude is a synthetic ability. None + Intuitive aptitude has a side effect - the Hunger. Mohinder's ability has its flaws as well.
- Flight is held both naturally and synthetically and there's no discernible difference between them.

Side effects only happen when an imperfect formula is used.

Rapid cell regeneration has the side effect of making the immune system weak.
The side effect happens only when the ability is removed, side effects here are considered flaws caused by having the ability while having the ability.
Sylar could have been injected with an imperfect formula or he could have absorbed this imperfect ability from an unknown source long before he even knew anything of powers - provided he indeed can absorb powers, not take them by studying brains.
- Sylar is clearly younger than Nathan, and a perfect formula gave Nathan his ability, no reason for Sylar to have been given an imperfect version of it.
But the formula could - and most definitely has been tested on other subjects before Nathan, Niki and Tracy were injected. So the imperfect intuitive aptitude could have been created - and young Sylar absorbed it (again, if he really can mimic powers like Peter).
- Peter was exposed to an ability caused by an imperfect formula, yet he showed no ill effects.
+ Neither was he able to use Sylar's ability and suffer the Hunger until Sylar taught him.
- Matt Parkman has the same ability his father had, so we can presume that the same situation happened to Gabriel Gray with his father.

- So far, every use of the imperfect formula have been shown to cause physical mutations of some sort.

The "hunger" simply refers to the desire for answers and knowledge to satisfy the ability. It drives one to perceive and seek to reverse engineer any technical marvel. The brain, being a machine more amazing than any watch or manmade creation captures the fascination of someone with intuitive aptitude to the extent that he/she can no longer see it as anything other than a machine. The bearer is drawn to it's allure and seeks to analyze and decipher its inner workings. "...You're broken..." - Sylar, to Brian Davis before killing him and analyzing his brain.

Sylar talks about nothing but how amazing brains are to Claire while analyzing hers.
+ Sylar rips open Elle's head when he already has her power, so clearly it's not just about acquiring a power.
- He didn't remove the top of her head, he simply killed her.
+ He still killed her without there being a real need for it.

- Sylar seems only interested in the brains of those with abilities.

He may also strongly desire powers on his own (without the hunger), and he would rather work on finding a new victim with an ability than kill random people.
+ Brains of evolved humans may be more fascinating, making ordinary brains lame by comparison.

- Arthur said that all Sylar wants is power, not knowledge (Eris Quod Sum).

- In Dying of the Light, Peter said to Sylar: "I understand why you are doing this now. All this power - it feels good".
By taking powers Sylar improves the original evolved human's power. Claire Bennet's power improves after Sylar takes it, she gains the ability to no longer feel pain. - This hasn't happened to anyone other than Claire.
+ Claire was the only person able to survive the process, if the other characters could have survived perhaps they would have also experienced increased abilities.

+ It's all in the name, Sylar automatically knows how to fix things, or even improve them.
Perhaps Sylar doesn't take abilities but replaces them with more advanced versions, sort of like an ability tune up, i.e. he replaces Claire's regeneration with a more advanced version (not being able to feel pain) and takes her old, painful regeneration for himself.

This may explain the frozen body of James Walker, although we are told Sylar tests his freezing ability on the body it would be interesting to think of the frozen corpse as the upgrade to James Walker's ability (his body turning to ice in a similar fashion to Iceman).

- Claire's ability just adapted to a trauma, in a way it made her unable to feel pain.

- Pain is the body's way to tell the body that something is harmful to it, with her ability, most things aren't harmful to her, so she doesn't feel pain, it started as recovering quick from pain and it went all the way to not feeling pain at all.
It could be possible that with the understanding granted by this ability, it could be used to perform adoptive muscle memory. None. + Due to the fact this ability is simply the concept of increased understanding, it is very possible that the possessor could mimic actions that are seen. Sylar can quickly understand the mechanics of a watch, or understand the psychology behind a person's actions via observation. Therefore it is an immense possibility that he could also perform a feat performed by someone he observes. Therefore acting just like adoptive muscle memory, within its limits.

- Understanding how to perform a trick is only one step in the learning process. Sylar's powers would not automatically condition his muscles like Monica's; if he watched somebody do a split, he would still have to stretch his muscles out before beind able to copy them and would still have to practice it several times before his body would be used to the new motion.
Intuitive aptitude would thus allow a more roundabout method of mimicking others' movements.

If someone with intuitive aptitude understands a mentally based ability, they can become resistant to it. None + Future Gabriel was able to resist Peter's telepathy.
- He had collected at least two new abilities in that future, it's possible he acquired some sort of previously unseen mental defense ability.

+ Sylar eventually overpowered Doyle's ability.

Doyle's ability may not be a mind affecting ability, it appears as if he applies physical force to a person's joints.
- Future Gabriel recollected precognition and induced radioactivity, it's possible he gained telepathy from somebody as well.
Sylar does not understand these abilities because he does not have them; however he may understand through observation.
He does.
Not the way he usually does.
Intuitive aptitude is linked to adoptive muscle memory. None + Intuitive aptitude allows the user to understand how things work without any special training or knowledge. Adoptive muscle memory allows the user to figure out how to replicate physical actions without any special training.
Adoptive muscle memory deals more with instant physical replication than actual cognitive understand.
Intuitive aptitude involves some form of extra-sensory perception. None + He was able to tell Charlie had an aneurysm, which could not be observed with any of the original five senses. Also, right before killing Brian Davis, Sylar appeared to realize that he could take Brian's ability, without any obvious explanation.
+ He could also tell that Hiro had a brain tumor.
- Sylar could have analyzed body language, speech patterns, etc., to determine she had a blood clot in her brain.
+ Unless Sylar can read minds, there is no way to say someone has a neurological issue if there are no symptoms. Charlie only showed symptoms when she was alone with Hiro.
- All neurological problems have symptoms. However, many of these symptoms would only be noticeable if you had a perfect understanding of how someone's body and mind are supposed to work. That is exactly what Sylar's ability does.
- Sylar's ability grants him deductive ability beyond any doctor. It's possible that the blood clot produced pressure on parts of her brain, magnifying certain behaviors/emotions such that he could notice. From there, he could theorize that a blood clot might be present, especially if the clot was somewhere that a tumor could be removed from.
+ Sylar had not (nor would he) acquired enhanced memory, so it is unlikely that he would have remembered every individual detail that would be required to diagnose a blood clot through mere behavioral observation.
- That doesn't matter. Even if Sylar couldn't tell a tourniquet from a chainsaw, his intuitive aptitude would allow him to figure out what was wrong, given sufficient time.
+ Exactly, he may be able to figure out that there is a problem but he wouldn't be able to pull a name out of the blue.
- That might be true, if Sylar didn't have an interest in (or, one could argue, was obsessed with) the workings of the human brain. He studied it, it's likely he is familiar with other brain related subjects.

- Sylar took a minute or two to analyze Charlie's head before removing the clot, heavily implying that he didn't have any instantaneous knowledge to its precise location. He had to take some time to scan for its exact location.

Intuitive aptitude could be used to improve systems, in addition to understanding them. None + Intuitive aptitude works by puzzling out the basic functions of each part of a system. In theory, the ability could be used to create more efficient versions of existing machines, such as more cost effective or more environmentally friendly processes.
The hunger eventually goes away. None + Samson went years without suffering the hunger and it only came back when he saw Sylar regenerate.

+ In the future, Gabriel was able to go Noah's entire life without the hunger affecting him.
- Gabriel said that the hunger haunts him every day, but fights it for Noah.
- Despite going years without giving in, Samson did eventually succumb to the hunger, meaning that if the hunger actually does go away, it could eventually come back.

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See Also: 9RedTime travelIntuitive aptitude