The brain plays a significant role in cognitive functioning. The human brain is made up of various structures, and each of these structures is responsible for specific cognitive functions. Scientists and psychologists have conducted many studies and experiments in an effort to pinpoint which brain structures are responsible for certain cognitive functions. In the past, technology was quite limited which left few options for studying the human brain. The only way to study the brain at this point in time was to perform studies on subjects that were already deceased. While this did help shed some light on cognitive functioning there were still many unanswered questions and misunderstandings about the brain and its functions. One particular case that has been linked to the brains role in cognition is that of Phineas Gage. Gage suffered a traumatic brain injury which altered his original cognitive functioning abilities. The case of Phineas Gage has left a lasting mark on the world of cognitive psychology and has been used as a prime example of how the brain affects cognitive functioning.
Cognitive Functioning The cerebral cortex is divided into four lobes as well as into left and right hemispheres. Martinez (2010, pp.237) states that, “The cerebral cortex is the anatomical origin of the mind’s higher-order functions—reasoning, intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving—as well as the coordination of sensory input and motor control that helps us relate skillfully to our environments.” By segregating each structure of the cerebral cortex a greater understanding is achieved as to which section is responsible for certain cognitive functions. One important discovery was that the left and right hemisphere of the brain actually process information differently.
Phineas Gage’s Life Changing Accident Phineas Gage’s life changing accident took place in the year of 1848. Gage worked on a railroad construction crew. When the accident
References: Deakin University. (2010). Phineas Gage’s Story. Psychology: Phineas Gage Information. Retrieved June 18, 2011 from http://www.deakin.edu.au/hmnbs/psychology/gagepage/Pgstory.php Martinez, M., E. (2010). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. Wickens, A., P. (2005). Foundation of biopsychology. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson & Prentice Hall Inc.