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Phineas Gage

  1. Daniel Tranel,
  2. David Cordry

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0678

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Tranel, D. and Cordry, D. 2010. Phineas Gage. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Iowa College of Medicine

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


On September 13, 1998, a group of brain scientists, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, and neurosurgeons, gathered in the hamlet of Cavendish, Vermont, to commemorate a bizarre anniversary. It was the 150th anniversary of an accident in which a young man named Phineas Gage suffered a brain injury when an iron bar was shot through the front part of his head. The accident itself was remarkable enough—immediately afterward, despite a gruesome wound to the front of his head and brain, Gage was conscious, alert, and talkative, and it seemed rather a miracle that he had even survived. But what followed over the next few decades, and then over the many years since, is what put Cavendish, Vermont, on the scientific map and became the reason for scientists to travel from around the world that late summer day in 1998 to commemorate the anniversary (see Macmillan, 2000).


  • personality;
  • frontal lobes;
  • sociopathy;
  • brain;
  • neurology;
  • social behavior