Learning about Brain Science from Phineas Gage

Friday, July 7, 2017

Story Description
In the mid 1800s our understanding of the brain was radically changed as a result of a freak accident. Phineas Gage survived an accident that drove an iron rod through his head, but he had some changes in his personality. This case highlighted the relationship between the structural parts of the brain and changes in behavior. Listen to hear more about what this case can tell us about the brain and personality.
Listening Comprehension Questions
  • What was unusual about this injury?
  • How did this case help people understand the brain?
  • Why have scientists continued to return to this case in their research?
  • Why is it important that Gage went on to work as a stagecoach driver?
Classroom Discussion Themes
  • Do you believe cases over 100 years old should still be studied? Why or why not?
  • What message do you think can be drawn from the life of Phineas Gage?

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