Brain Byte

Phineas Gage

  • Published24 Jun 2020
  • Author Calli McMurray
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Railroad foreman Phineas Gage survived a horrific brain injury that left him with an altered personality. His story revealed the complex functions of the frontal lobe decades before scientists began studying it in animals.

Brain Bytes showcase essential facts about neuroscience.

Phineas Gage Brian Byte
Design by A.Tong

Design by Adrienne Tong.

Image: Originally from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus, and now in the Warren Anatomical Museum, Harvard Medical School.

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Damasio, H., Grabowski, T., Frank, R., Galaburda, A., & Damasio, A. (1994). The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient. Science, 264(5162), 1102–1105. doi:10.1126/science.8178168

O'Driscoll, K. & Leach, J. P. (1998). “No longer Gage": an iron bar through the head. Early observations of personality change after injury to the prefrontal cortex. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 317(7174), 1673–1674. doi:10.1136/bmj.317.7174.1673a