Phineas P. Gage is one of the most famous named cases in the history of psychology and neurology, owing to brain damage suffered in a construction accident which reportedly resulted in a marked alteration in his personality. Gage was the foreman of a gang of workers excavating rock while preparing the bed of a railroad in 1848 near what became Cavendish, Vermont. His survival of a massive injury to the left side of his brain immediately turned him into a medical curiosity. Later reports of changes in his behavior contributed to physiological, psychological, and philosophical debates that continue today over the localization of functions in the brain.
Phineas Gage was born on approximately July 9, 1823, in or around Lebanon, New Hampshire, and died on May 21, 1860 in San Francisco (both the date and place of his birth are uncertain; for an authoritative account of Gage’s life and medical history, see Macmillan 2000a, 2012). What detailed knowledge we have of Phineas Gage is limited,...
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