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MEDICAL HISTORY
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 280-286

Footprints of phineas gage: Historical beginnings on the origins of brain and behavior and the birth of cerebral localizationism


Department of Neurology, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Bhaskara P Shelley
Department of Neurology, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.196182

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The intellectual revolution led by ancient Greek philosophers and physicians witnessed the extraordinary evolution of the birth of neuroscience from speculations of cardiocentrism (Aristotelism) and encephalocentrism (Galenism). Later further development of neurosciences was hallmarked by the development of anatomic theories of phrenology by the German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796. Although phrenology was a pseudoscience, it was Gall who laid the foundations for the subsequent biologically based doctrine of brain behavior localization. The amazing story of Phineas Gage is a classic case in the nineteenth-century neurosciences literature that played a pivotal role in the concept of cerebral localizationism, a theory that moved beyond phrenology. This iconic case marked the historical beginnings of brain origins of human behavior and elucidated a link between brain trauma, prefrontal brain damage and personality change.


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