The Phenomenon of Phineas Gage Analytical Essay by jlatigue

The Phenomenon of Phineas Gage
An analysis of the case of Phineas Gage, who survived a devastating brain injury and, as a result, greatly advanced medical understanding of the human brain.
# 129094 | 1,002 words | 3 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper provides an analytical discussion of the case of Phineas Gage, who survived a traumatic brain injury in an unusual fashion. The paper explains that nearly one hundred years before cognitive psychology was introduced, a fluke accident involving Phineas Gage gave medical personnel an early insight into the brain and its impact on a patient's behavior. The paper notes that Gage is widely known as the most famous person to have survived severe brain damage; he also stands out as the first patient to demonstrate the relation between personality and the function of the frontal brain. The paper questions whether medical knowledge would have advanced as quickly without Phineas Gage's amazing and curious survival of this accident. The paper concludes that Phineas Gage, although not a medical man himself, contributed to a series of dramatic revelations in the early medical world that are still used today in the 21st century.

From the Paper:

"On September 13, 1848, then 25-year-old Phineas Gage was working as a railroad construction foreman outside of a Cavendish, Vermont. While working with his team blasting rock and preparing the roadbed, an accident occurred in which a large iron tamping rod (3 feet 7 inches long, weighing 13 1/2 pounds, and 1/4 inches in diameter) was sent right through his skull. According to Deakin University (2010), "The tamping iron went in point first under his left cheek bone and completely out through the top of his head, landing about 25 to 30 yards behind him. Phineas was knocked over but may not have lost consciousness even though most of the front part of the left side of his brain was destroyed" (Phineas Gage's Story, para. 3). According to Dr. Edward H. Williams and Dr. John Martyn Harlow, the first doctors on the scene of Gage's accident, at first he didn't seem to be in that terrible of a state. Within a few minutes of the accident Gage was able to speak, walk with little or no assistance and sat upright on the 3/4 mile carriage ride to his lodgings in town."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Deakin University. (2010). Phineas Gage Information. Retrieved from
  • Harlow J. M. (1848). Passage of an iron rod through the head. Boston Med. Surg. J. 39: 389-393.
  • Ferrier, D (1878). The Localisation of Cerebral Disease (Goulstonian Lectures, 1878) (London, 1878)

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Phenomenon of Phineas Gage (2010, August 31) Retrieved September 20, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Phenomenon of Phineas Gage" 31 August 2010. Web. 20 September. 2020. <>