Phineas Gage Paper

Topics: Frontal lobe, Brain, Psychology Pages: 2 (851 words) Published: January 31, 2011
Phineas Gage
Perhaps one of the most well known cases in cognitive psychology is that of Phineas Gage. A man who suffered from an injury to his prefrontal lobes thirty years before the field of Psychology even began (Moulin, 2006). However, psychologists’ continue to study his brain and the effects of his injury and its role in cognitive functions years later. Phineas Gage was a foreman at a railroad who suffered damage to his prefrontal lobes as a result of an accidental explosion in the year 1848. This explosion caused an iron bar about a meter long to be launched completely through Gage’s head and supposedly land about nine meters away. As a result of this accident Gage suffered severe brain damage to his prefrontal lobes, with the left side being almost completely destroyed (Moulin, 2006). There is not documentation of what Gage’s personality was like before the accident and few reports of the changes after the incident, many believed to be exaggerated. Two of the reports that do exist regarding Gage are written by John Martyn Harlow. Harlow was the physician who treated Gage and followed his case (“III. The Damage to Gage’s Skull and Brain”, 2002). Following his recovery of the accident there were no reports of apparent loss of interllectial function, yet his personality changed drastically. In fact Gage behaved so different that he while he went back to work for the railroad he never was given his job back as foreman (“II. The Sequelae of the accident, 1848-1868,” 2002). In fact, when asked his friends and acquaintances said he was “no longer Gage” (Moulin, 2006). Gage lived about eleven years after his accident before dying in 1860 which left people in the medical field curious about him and his condition (Moulin, 2006). In fact the changes in his behavior that were described was the first time that it was revealed that complex functions might be located in the brain. During the time and the immediate time after Gage lived there is...
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