Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Gage, Phineas

  • Malcolm MacmillanEmail author
  • John F. KihlstromEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1716-2

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,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Barker, F. G. (1993). Treatment of open brain wounds in America, 1810–1880: A survey. Journal of Neurosurgery, 78, 364A.Google Scholar
  2. Barker, F. G. (1995). Phineas among the phrenologists: The American Crowbar Case and nineteenth century theories of cerebral localization. Journal of Neurosurgery, 82, 672–682.  https://doi.org/10.3171/jns.1995.82.4.0672.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Putnam Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Damasio, H., Grabowski, T., Frank, R., Galaburda, A. M., & Damasio, A. R. (1994). The return of Phineas Gage: Clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient. Science, 264, 1102–1105.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.8178168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. de Schotten, M. T., Dell’Acqua, F., Ratiu, P., Leslie, A., Howells, H., Cabanis, E., Ib-Zizen, M. T., Plaisant, O., Simmons, A., Dronkers, N. F., Corkin, S., & Catani, M. (2015). From Phineas Gage and Monsieur Leborgne to H.M.: Revisiting disconnection syndromes. Cerebral Cortex, 25(12), 4812–4827.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhv173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Della Sala, S. (2011). A daguerreotype of phineas gage? Cortex, 47(4), 415.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2010.07.013.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferrier, D. (1886). The functions of the brain (2nd ed.). London: Smith, Elder & Co.Google Scholar
  8. Fodor, J. A. (1983). The modularity of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gall, F. J. (1822–1825/1835). On the functions of the brain and each of its parts: With observations on the possibility of determining the instincts, propensities, and talents, or the moral and intellectual dispositions of men and animals, by the configuration of the brain and head. Boston: Marsh, Capen, & Lyon.Google Scholar
  10. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Griggs, R. A. (2015). Coverage of the Phineas Gage story in introductory psychology textbooks: Was Gage no longer Gage? Teaching of Psychology, 42(3), 195–202.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0098628315587614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harlow, J. M. (1868). Recovery from the passage of an iron bar through the head. Publications of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 2, 327–347.Google Scholar
  13. Kihlstrom, J. F. (2010). Social neuroscience: The footprints of Phineas Gage. Social Cognition, 28(6), 757–783.  https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2010.28.6.757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Luria, A. R. (1962/1966). Higher cortical functions in man. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  15. Macmillan, M. (1992). Inhibition and the control of behavior: From Gall to Freud via Phineas Gage and the frontal lobes. Brain and Cognition, 19(1), 72–104.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0278-2626(92)90038-N.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Macmillan, M. (1996). Phineas Gage: A case for all reasons. In C. Code, C. Wallesch, Y. Joanette, & A. R. Lecours (Eds.), Classic cases in neuropsychology. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  17. Macmillan, M. (2000a). An odd kind of fame: Stories of Phineas Gage. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Macmillan, M. (2000b). Nineteenth-century inhibitory theories of thinking: Bain, Ferrier, Freud (and Phineas Gage). History of Psychology, 3(3), 187–217.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1093-4510.3.3.187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Macmillan, M. (2000c). Restoring Phineas Gage: A 150th retrospective. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 9, 42–62.  https://doi.org/10.1076/0964-704X(200004)9:1;1-2;FT046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Macmillan, M. (2001). John Martyn Harlow: “Obscure country physician”? Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 10(2), 149–162.  https://doi.org/10.1076/jhin.10.2.149.7254.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Macmillan, M. (2004). Inhibition and Phineas Gage: Repression and Sigmund Freud. Neuro-psychoanalysis, 6(2), 181–192.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15294145.2004.10773459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Macmillan, M. B. (2012). The Phineas Gage information page. Retrieved 11 August 2018, from https://www.uakron.edu/gage/
  23. Macmillan, M., & Lena, M. L. (2010). Rehabilitating Phineas Gage. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Psychology, 20(5), 641–658.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011003760527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ratiu, P., Talos, I. F., Haker, S., Lieberman, D., & Everett, P. (2004). The tale of Phineas Gage, digitally remastered. Journal of Neurotrauma, 21, 637–643.  https://doi.org/10.1089/089771504774129964.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Thomsen, I. V., Waldemar, G., & Thomsen, A. M. (1990). Late psychosocial improvement in a case of severe head injury with bilateral fronto-orbital lesions. Neuropsychology, 4, 1–11.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0894-4105.4.1.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tyler, K. L., & Tyler, H. R. (1982). A “Yankee Invention”: The celebrated American crowbar case. Neurology, 32(4(Part 2)), A191.Google Scholar
  27. Van Horn, J. D., Irimia, A., Torgerson, C. M., Chambers, M. C., Kikinis, R., & Toga, A. W. (2012). Mapping connectivity damage in the case of Phineas Gage. PLoS One, 7(5), e37454.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037454.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Wilgus, J., & Wilgus, B. (2009). Face to face with Phineas Gage. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 18, 340–345.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09647040903018402.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • April Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and CounselingNortheastern State UniversityBroken ArrowUSA