In 1848, a 25-year-old railroad worker named Phineas Gage blew up rocks to clear the way for a new rail line in Vermont. He drilled a hole, placed an explosive charge, and then packed in sand using a 13-pound metal bar (known as a tamping iron). However, an explosive detonated and sent the iron rod through Phineas’ brain.
Before his accident (according to the doctor’s reports) Phineas “possessed a well-balanced mind, and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart business man, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of operation.”
After his accident, Gage’s personality changed. Some described him as restless, disrespectful, unreliable, and had more emotional outbursts than before. His ability to produce speech and understand it was not impaired. Later, Gage acquired a job and died 12 years after the accident. The case of Phineas Gage helped neuroscientists understand the specialization of brain functions.
1. Which part of the brain was damaged or removed in this scenario? Explain how you know: (Frontal Lobe, Amygdala, or Thalamus)
2. Explain why the other options are not the answer:
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