Part 1 Essay
The case study of Phineas Gage,referred as being within the subject of Biological Psychology. As we human beings are a “biological species”, we need to be able to understand our biological make-up, to further study the Physiological field, only once we can fully understand the different part of our bodies, including the brain can we then apply Psychological research methods to study & develop understanding .
Science constantly evolves to study and gain understanding, which then can lead to data interpretation methods like Psychological .The Theorist Crick,-: His belief and scientific approach called “Reductionism” (Mapping Psychology, Pg 230) Suggests that “Potentially all psychological events and experiences can fully and only explained in terms of the activity within the components of the brain”. Other Scientists do however argue that there should be a much broader view taken, and other views et should be considered.(Bolton and Hill, 1996, Stevens, 1996: Toates, 2001) These other theorists, and studies are suggested (Mapping Psychology, Pg 230) as having equally possible explanations of how our brains components affect our actions and how we are.
Phineas Gage, the study and interpretation of why his behaviours changed, relates hugely to beliefs of that era. Nowadays Phrenology is dismissed as Pseudo-science, due to scientific advances, developing a further understanding Phrenology :
Franz Joseph Gall (9 March 1758 – 22 August 1828) was a neuroanatomist, physiologist, and pioneer in the study of the localization of mental functions in the brain defined as a method of interpreting & “mapping” of the brain , which is an organ of the mind-into different zones being related or responsible for differing actions and behaviours. A variety of theories in 19th and 20th Century exist as to the reliability of such interpretation. Phineas Gage received damage equivalent to that of a patient having had a frontal lobotomy it is suggested (Mapping Psychology, Pg 230) also that Gall believed that the brain was made up of 27 different organs or modules in humans.
In works of fiction that I have read myself, Phrenology is mentioned or used by the writer and author also, to attempt to explain or clarify why certain characters may have done certain thing;s, often explaining dramatic changes in behaviour or destructive behaviour. Bram Stokers Dracula and Moby Dick, being two novels for example. Even such fictitious characters as Sherlock Holmes attempt to explain behaviours in such a manner.
To show example of the belief in Phrenology and relate to Biological understanding, particularly at Phineas Gage's time- Phrenologist's believed in “Mental Faculties”-thinking of the mind as a group of modules each one directly related to a particular task. These modules each being in different areas within the brain.Some theories even gave credence to size of brain and areas, as to the individuals abilities. In relation to the damage to Phineas Gage, an effective frontal labotomy.
It is suggested that the frontal lobes “executive functions” include the ability to understand the consequences of chosen actions or behaviour, and the ability to choose and decide between good or bad. Also the ability to control and suppress bad behaviours or choices, being within the higher mental functions group clearly Phineas Gage's behaviour often did change for the worse..(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontal_lobe#Damage)The frontal lobes also play an important part in retaining longer term memories which are not task-based. These are often memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain's limbic system. The frontal lobe modifies those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms.
Damage to frontal lobes can linclude:(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontal_lobe)
Mental flexibility and spontaneity impaired, but IQ is not reduced.