December 5, 2011
Phineas Gage and the Role of the Brain in Cognitive Functioning
The brain plays a key role in cognitive functioning. Of the many areas in the brain, only certain areas have an impact on cognitive functioning. The case of a man named Phineas Gage showed key elements of specific areas in the brain that support certain cognitive functions. The traumatic brain injury that Phineas Gage suffered in 1848 has aided cognitive and neuropsychologists in making large strides in understanding the human mind. In the following work, the role of the brain in cognitive functioning will be examined and better explained. Examples of specific brain areas will be given to form a more concrete understanding of their cognitive functions, and one will begin to understand the importance of Phineas Gage in the field of cognitive and neuropsychology.
In cognitive functioning, the brain plays an important role. A cognitive function is a person’s ability to process thoughts and information (Willingham, 2007). Examples of cognitive functions are learning, perception, and memory (Willingham, 2007). There are specific areas in the brain that support certain cognitive functions. For example, the area in the brain that is more dorsal and anterior than any other area in the brain is known as the frontal lobe. According to Grieve (2010), the frontal lobe supports many cognitive functions. Examples of the cognitive functions that are supported in the frontal lobe are elimination of inappropriate social responses, understanding impending outcomes, and blunting emotions (Grieve, 2010). Another area in the brain that supports cognitive functioning is the amygdala (Grieve, 2010). The amygdala supports the cognitive function that allows one to process emotions (Grieve, 2010). The frontal lobe and amygdala are but two of the many areas in the brain that support...