Phineas Gage

  • Published24 Jun 2020
  • Author Calli McMurray
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Railroad foreman Phineas Gage survived a horrific brain injury that left him with an altered personality. His story revealed the complex functions of the frontal lobe decades before scientists began studying it in animals.

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Phineas Gage Brian Byte
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Design by Adrienne Tong.

Image: Originally from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus, and now in the Warren Anatomical Museum, Harvard Medical School.

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BrainFacts/SfN

Damasio, H., Grabowski, T., Frank, R., Galaburda, A., & Damasio, A. (1994). The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient. Science, 264(5162), 1102–1105. doi:10.1126/science.8178168

O'Driscoll, K. & Leach, J. P. (1998). “No longer Gage": an iron bar through the head. Early observations of personality change after injury to the prefrontal cortex. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 317(7174), 1673–1674. doi:10.1136/bmj.317.7174.1673a