Phineas Gage Essay

1472 WordsMar 17, 20116 Pages
Running head: PHINEAS GAGE Lisa Dickens Phineas Gage University of Phoenix Historically, there have been two mayor views on the localization of higher cognitive functions, the phrenology and the reaction to phrenology, the holistic approach. Today, however, due to new evidence coming in, such as the case of Phineas Gage's accident, most scientists take a more center ground approach (Cognitive Functions, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to describe the role of the brain in cognitive function. One view, in its extreme form, is phrenology, which postulated that all cognitive abilities and personality traits had specific areas of the brain that controlled each one separately. This view was discarded in the first decades of this century, mainly because most of the proponents of phrenology did not follow rigorous scientific methods (Cognitive Functions, 2008). The second view, hence derived from opposition to the phrenologists, postulated that higher cognitive functions and traits could only be localized in the cerebral cortex, but that the cortex functioned as a whole, with any part of it could substitute for the functions of another. It also postulated that the effects on cognitive functions due to cortical lesions were due to the extent of damaged tissue, but not on the localization of it. This holistic view gained much acceptance, and nearly neutralized all of the phrenologists postulates (Cognitive Functions). However, soon clinical observations contradicted the holistic view, particularly the consistent observation that aphasias (language distinctions) occurred when either of two specific brain regions were lesioned. These areas are the Brocca and Wernicke areas of the cortex. These areas are localized only in the left hemisphere of the brain in over 80% of the population, and can be anatomically localized. Broca's

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