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The Norton Psychology Reader. Home · The Norton DOWNLOAD PDF The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Psychology of Education (Readers in Education). The NortonPsychology Reader EDITEDBYGaryMarcus NEW YORK UNIVERSITYW. The Norton Psychology Reader EDITED BY GaryMarcus NEW YORK. Norton Psychology Reader - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or view presentation slides online. Norton.

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The Norton Psychology Reader Pdf

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McCloskey found that one-third of the college students who were given this problem thought, incorrectly, that the ball would fly in a curved trajectory see also, Catrembone et al. The bomb should actually be dropped five miles before the plane reaches the target.

The subjects' errors were not causedby the imaginary natureofthe problem. When subjects were askedto walk across a room and, while moving, drop a golf ball on a target on the floor, the performance of more than half of them indicated they did not BilkeD! William Langewiesche noted that pilots in rhe early part of the twen- You can assess your own performance on this little quiz. Chances are that you missed at least one if you have not had a physics course recently.

Enough crashes and near crashes finally taught pilots a sobering lesson: No amount of instinct would tieth century resisted the use of instrumentation such as gyroscopes because theybelieved in "instinctive balance. This quiz is unfair! Why should you need a physics course? You have seen literally hundreds of falling objects in your lifetime. You have seen them fall under naturally occurring conditions. Moving Intuitive Psychology Philosopher Paul Churchland argued that, if our inruitive or "folk" objects surround you every day, and you are seeing them in their "real-life" theories about objects in motion are inaccurate, it is hard to believe that our state.

You certainly cannot claim that you have not experienced moving and folktheories in the more complex domain of human behavior could be correct: Granted, you have never seen anything quite like rhe bullet ex- ample. But most of us have seen children let go of whirling objects, and many Our earlyfolktheoriesof motion wereprofoundly confused, and wereeventu- of us have seen objects fall out of planes.

And besides, it seems a lirtle lame to ally displaced entirely bymoresophisticated theories. Our early folktheoriesof protest that you have not seen these exact situations. Given your years of ex- the structure and activity of the heavens werewildly off the mark, and survive perience with moving and falling objects, why can't you accurately predict what will happen in a siruation only slightly out of rhe ordinary?

Our folktheoriesof the na- McCloskey's work demonstrates something of fundamental importance in understanding why scientists behave as they do. Despite extensive since the vast majority of our past folk conceptions have been similarly ex- ture of fire, and the natureof life,weresimilarly cockeyed. Andone couldgoon, ploded Butthe phenomenonof conscious intelligence issurelya morecom- experience with moving and falling objects, people's intuitive theories of mo- plexand difficult phenomenon than any of those just listed.

So far as accurate tion are remarkably inaccurate. Thus, if you missed a question on the little quiz at the beginning of the chapter, don't feel ignorant or inadequate. Simply remember that some of the world's greatest minds observed falling objects for centuries without formulating a physics of motion any more accurate than that of the average high-school sophomore.

In an article in Scientific American, McCloskey ' observed that many of his subjects had held an incorrect theory about motion that Biologist E. Wilson suggested the reason why Churchland's speculation is probably correct when he pointed out that "the brain is a machine assembled not to understand itself, but to survive.

Because these two ends are basically different, the mind unaided by facrual knowledge from sci- ence sees the world only in little pieces. It throws a spotlight on those por- was very similar to one held to be true some three centuries before Newton. That is why even today people know more about their automobiles than they do McCloskey's modern subjects and medieval philosophers had somerhing in about their own minds-and why the fundamental explanation of mind it!

In Chapter I, we Even large amounts of personal experience are insufficient to prevent misconceptions about the nature of physical motion. Writing about the his- illustrated that a number of commonsense or folk beliefs about human be- tory of the development of knowledge about banked turns in aircraft, pilot You Know What They Say. Exploring PopularAssumptions about the Mind and Brain Although written for the general public, both books rely on evidence in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for their conclusions.

Manyof the popular beliefsdiscussed in them concernhuman behavior. Manystudies have indicated that there is no simple relationshipbetween degree of religiosityand the tendencyto engage in charitable acts, to aid other people in distress, or to abstain from cheating other people Paloutzian, Indeed, within a large research literature, there is no indication at all that people high in religiosityare any more likelyto be charitable or to help their fellows than are people who identify themselvesas atheists.

The list of popular beliefsthat are incorrect is long. Forexample, many people believe that a full moon affects human behevior. Some people believe that "opposites attract. Some people believe that "familiarity breeds contempt. Some people believe that blind people are blessed with supersensitive hearing. And the list goes on and on and on. Consult Kohn's book for a readable account of a couple of dozen popular beliefs about behavior that are not supported by empirical evidence all of the trends listed hereare probabilistic, of course.

The many inadequacies in people's intuitive theories of behavior illustrate whywe need the controlledexperimentation of psychology: Find a report of a psychological or medical study in your daily newspaper. Doesthe storymake anyof the mistakes thatHuffpointsout? Howwouldyou rewrite report to make it morelogically sound? Comp,ariSOll, control, and manipulation might be of little use if comcould tell us all we needed to know about the mind and be- But, according to Sranovich, popular beliefs are often wrong "weneed the controlled experimentation ofpsychology Whyorwhy not?

In the firstselectionin this chapter, StevenPinker, one of the world's leading advocates of the field known as evolutionary psychology, argues that we will never trulyunderstand the mind until we understand the tasks for which it evolved. In his book How the Mind Works , Pinker argues that natural selection has shaped just about every aspect of psychology jou might itnagine: If evolution truly did shape the mind, it must have done so by shaping our genes.

But what is the relationship between genes and psychology? Cartoons joke of genes for specific traits-music genes, sports genes, even genesforpropensity to talkabouttheweather-s-bur real genesbuildproteins, not specifictraits Otbehaviors. In myown book, The Birth ofthe Mind 2 0 0 4 , I wrestle with thesequestions,askingwhat the growing literature in developmental neurobiology can tell us aboutthe originsof the humanmind.

In the selection included here, I take the first step toward connecting these previously disparate fields by clarifyingthe power and limits of individual genes. Its keyidea can a S 'srem or organs of computation, debv natura1selectionto solvethe kinds ourancestors faced animals, plants, and other people.

The summary can be unpacked several claims. The mind is what the brain does; specifically,the brain pro'cesses information, and thinking is a kind of computation. The mind is organized into modules ormental organs, eachwith a specialized design that it an expert in one arena of interaction with theworld. The modules' logicis specified byour genetic program.

Their operation wasshapedby selection to solve the problems of the hunting and gathering life led ancestors in mostof ourevolutionary history. The various problems for ourancestors weresubtasks of one big problem fortheirgenes,maximizing of copiesthatmade it into the nextgeneration. On this view; psychology is engineering In reverse. The no engineer can duplicate.

How could the forces that shaped that system, an and the purposes for which it was designed, be irrelevant to understanding shapes and arrangements of the springs, hinges, blades, levers. We even understand why canned olives have an X-shaped incision at one end. In the seventeenth century William Harvey discovered that veins had valves and deduced that the valves must be there to make the blood circulate.

Since then we have understood the body as a wonderfully complex machine, an assembly of struts, ties, springs, pulleys. Even today we can be delighted to learn what mysterious parts are for. Why do we have our wrinkled, asymmetrical ears? Because they filter sound waves coming from different directions in different ways. The nuances of the sound shadow tell the brain whether the source of the sound is above or below, in front ofor behind us.

The strategy of reverse-engineering the body has continued in the last half of this century as we have explored the nanotechnology of the cell and of the molecules of life.

The stuff oflife turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods; sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded, and scanned.

Evolutionary thinking is indispensable, not in the form that many people think of-dreaming up missing links or narrating stories about the stages of Man-but in the form of careful reverse-engineering. Without reverseengineering we are like the singer in Tom Paxtons "The Mervelous Toy," reminiscing about a childhood present: Evolutionary psychology brings together two scientific revolutions.

One is the cognitive revolution of the S and s, which explains the mechanics of thought and emotion in terms of information and computation. The other is the revolution in evolutionary biology of the s and S, which explains the complex adaptive design of living things in terms of selection among replicaters.

The two ideas make a powerful combination. Cognitive science The rationale for reverse-engineering living things comes, of course, helpsusto understand how a mind is possible and what kind of mind we have. Evolutionary biology helps us to understand why we have the kind of from Charles Darwin. He showed how "organs of extreme perfection and complication, which justly excite our admiration" arise not from God's fore- mind we have. The evolutionary psychology of this book is, in one sense.

But in another sense it is a radicalthesis that discards way issues about the mind have been framed for almost a century. The tend to accumulate over the generations. Plants and animals are replicators, premises of this book are probably not what you think they are.

Thinking is computation, I claim, but that does not mean that the computer is a good and their complicated machinery thus appears to have been engineered to allow them to survive and reproduce.

Darwin insisted that his theory explained not just the complexity ofan animal's body but the complexity of its mind. The mind is a set of modules, but the modules are encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the new foundation," he famously predicted at the end of The Origin ofSpecies. The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic pro": More than a century after he wrote jhose words, the study. The mind is an adaptation deselection, but that does not mean that everything we think, ten defiantly so.

Evolution is said to be irrelevant, sinful, or fit only for speculation over a beer at the end of the day. The allergy to evolution in the so- is biologically adaptive. We evolved from apes, but that does not have the same minds as apes. And the ultimate goal of natural se- cial and cognitive sciences has been, I think, a barrier to understanding. Let me show you why not. Many titles of books on human evolution remind us of this fact: The first whale evolved in something like ten million years from its common ancestor with its closest living relatives, ungulates such as cows and pigs.

A book about whales could, in the spirit of the human-evolution books, be called The Naked Cow, but it would be disappointing if the book spent every page marveling at the similarities between whales and cows and never got around to discus'sin. Some authors are militant that humans are barely different from chimpanzees and that any focus on specifically human talents is arrogant chauvinism or tantamount to creationism. For some readers that is a reductio ad absurdum of the evolutionary framework.

If the theory says that man "at best is only a monkey shaved," as Gilbert and Sullivan put it in Princess Ida, then it fails to explain the obvious fact that men and monkeys have different minds. We are naked, lopsided apes that speak, but we also have minds that differ considerably from those of apes.

The outsize brain of Homo sapiens sapiens is, by any standard, an extraordinary adaptation. It has allowed us to inhabit everyecosystem on earth, reshape the planet, walk Onthe moon, and discover the secrets of the physical universe.

Chimpanzees, for all their vaunted intelligence, are a threatened species clinging to a few patches of forest and living as they did millions of years ago. Our curiosity about this difference demands more than repeating that we share most of our DNA with chimpanzees and that small changes can have big effects. Three hundred thousand generations and up to ten megabytes of potential genetic information are enough to revamp a mind considerably. Indeed, minds are probably easier to revamp than bodies because software is easier to modify than hardware.

We should not be surprised to discover impressive new cognitive abilities in humans, language being just the most obvious one. None of this is incompatible with the theory of evolution. Evolution is a conservative process, to be sure, but it can't be all that conservative or we" would all be pond scum. Natural selection introduces differences into descendants by fitting them with specializations that adapt them to different niches.

Any museum of natural history has examples of complex organs unique to a species or to a group of related species: Natural selection is not a guardian anhovers over us making sure that our behavior always maximizes biotogrcar fitness. Until recently, scientists with an evolutionary bent felt a responsibility to account for acts that seem like Darwinian suicide such as celibacy, adoption, and contraception.

Perhaps, they ventured, celibate peohave more time to raise large broods of nieces and nephews and thereby propagate more copies of their genes than they would if they had their own children. This kind of stretch is unnecessary, however. The reasons, flrsr articulated by the anthropologist Donald Symons, distinguish evolutionary psychologyfrom the school of thought in the 'S and s called socioethough there is much overlap between the approaches as well.

First, selection operates over thousands of generations. For ninety-nine of human existence,people lived as foragers in small nomadic bands. They are not wired to cope with anonymous crowds, schooling, written language, govemme police,c0 I1t, modern medicine, formal social institutions, high technology, and urts' newcomers to the human experience.

Since the In0derntnind is adapted to the Stone Age, not the computer age, there is noneed ro strain adaptive explanations for everything we do. It acts by designing the generatot ofbehavior: Our minds are designed to generate behavior that would have been adaptive. Behavior is the outcome of an internal struggle among many mental modules, and it is played out on the chessboard of opportunities and constraints defined by other people's behavior.

A recent cover story in Time asked, "Adultery: Is It in Our Genes? Conceivably a desire for adultery canbe an indirect product of our genes, but the desire may be over-ridden by otherdesires that are also indirect products of our genes, such as the desire to have a trusting spouse.

And the desire, even if it prevails in the rough-and-tumble of the mind, cannot be consummated as overt behavior unless there is a partner around in whom that desire has also prevailed.

Behavior itself did not evolve; what evolvedwas the mind. The Birth ofthe Mind: Howa Tiny Number ofGenes Create the Complexities ofHuman Thought Frn'm GaryMarcus long chains of twenty or so basic molecules known as amino twisted and folded into complex three-dimensional structures tubes, globules,andsheets; Amino adds, in turn.

Your bocv makes many of these amino adds, but nine are "essential" because they onlv come from your diet. Animal meats typicallycontain all the missing amtno acids, but many plant products do not-lysine, forexample,isabsent crains-c-which is why vegetarians must carefullybalance, or "cornplement, sources of protein.

An average cell has thousands of different proteins, and, all told, up more than half the body's dry weight. In addition to enzymes, huge range of other proteins. Others, such as prolactin and insuIin, are h rtn nes for communication between and within organs.

Stillothersserveas """Mn,h;na from motors to couriers such as hemoglobi! Up until then, many scientists thought that genes were just one more special kind of protein, but in a largely unsung American biologist named Oswald Avery discovered otherwise.

His great advance came in a study of the uncomfortably familiar bacterium we know as pneumococcus. True to biology's Daily RacingForm, Pauling, who later won two Nobel Prizes, was first to publish-but his hypothesis turned out to be flawed; his triple helix idea nowadays can only be found in science fiction. Before Pauling could spot his own error, he was overtaken by two ambitious under a microscope.

In the late S, British biologist Frederick Griffiths newcomers, a twenty-five-year-old American who had only recently finished his Ph. But Griffiths had yet to finish his. I am speaking, of course, about James Watson and Francis Crick. What was not able to explain why. Avery cracked the case by a process of elimination, ruling out, one by one, all the substances contained within the S strain famous team discovered, in February ' With the help of critical Xrays were taken by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins , was that the until the only substance left was a mysterious sticky acid that had first been mlA molecule was a double helix: The idea of a helix new.

What was new was the understanding of the way in which the dinary R into deadly R. In modem language, what made transformed R deadly was genetic material incorporated from S-strain DNA. Each individual rung was made up of a pair of"unlike" bases, either an adenine A and a thymine T , or a guanine G and a cyto- The bottom line? Scientists could now point to the material basis of sine C. The reason that the amount of adenine correlated so well with the heredity, to Mendel's factors, to genes.

But rather than being made of some amount of thymine was that they always came in pairs-Chargaff's laws had been explained and the structure of DNA deciphered. To find out more about genes, then, scientists would clearly need to figure out "It has not escaped our notice," Watson and Crick famously Wrote; how this molecule, DNA, worked.

At that point, researchers knew relatively little about DNA. From Miescher's original discovery of the substance in "that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests. An organism could resemble its parent only if Mendel's fac- knew what DNA was made of: A decade and a half later, in , German biologist Albrecht Kossel discovered that DNA included four types of alkaline opposite of acidic molecules -known as "bases," which he named cytosine, thymine, tors could be transferred from parent to child, and that, in turn, required that there be some way to make copies of the factors.

DNA provided for that possibility: Information was contained in the sequence of nucleotides, and guanine, and adenine, and which we now refer to as nucleotides. But the exact composition of DNA, and how those bases related to one another, the two strands of the substance could separate and serve as templatesfor more strands-voila, biological Xerox. For example, the proportion of The conception of genes as templates for proteins grew our of efforts to figure out what all those A, C, G, and T nudeotides were for.

Almost lm- guanine was higher in the thymus of an ox than it was in the thymus of a person. Unexplained were biochemist Erwin Chargaff's "laws": The amount-of cytosine always seemed to match the amount of guanine, and the amount of thymine always seemed to match the amount of adenine.

With Avery's discovery, and independent confirmation from Alfred Hershey and Marrha Chase that followed in , there was soon a race to figure out DNASexact shape and the way that its molecules fit together. Which protein emerged ftom a given DNA sequence would, in Gamows theory, be a matter of which amino acids fit into the crevice between its nucleotides. Tim Fedak templates forprotein building, and many disorders-mental arid physicalwith the DNA and the crevices between nucleotides.

One of the main ways that genes exert their influence is by providing templates for proteins. As became clearin the earlys, sequences of three nucleoddes,known as triplets,or codons, get translated into amino acids,with each triplet standing fora differentamino acid. Seriesof tripletsweretranslated into the chains of amino acids,which in turn foldup into the complex three-dimensional mol: Aficionados willrealize that I'm oversimplifying in several ways.

Furthermore,there aresixty-four codons but only twentyamino adds, so sometimestwo,three, or evensix differentcodons serveas templates for a single. Theconception of genes as protein templates is partly correct, and it's what many people think of when they think of genes.

Sickle-cell anemia, for example, is caused by a single spelling error in the nucleotide-Ionggene building hemoglobin, the four-parr prorein that allowsred blood cellsto Bloodcellswith ordinary hemoglobin look like dimpled discs; so named becausewhen they arenot bearing oxygen crescent, or sickle,shape, the direct consequence change in a nucleotide from an A to a T. Sickled cellshave a front and a back,and lack oxygen they tend to fit together like the top and bottom of a formingchains that can clogarreriesand blockthe flowofbtood.

When only asingle copy copy can do some of the work and the illness is far disorder maypersist in the population becauseeven a single "mutant" gene conveys a resistance to malaria.

Not all genetically influenced disorders, however, can be traced to erin protein templates. Eventhe Protein Template Theorywas incomplete a significant way.

The Protein Template Theory captured only half the real story. Each gene actually has two parts: This final, crucial insight-that genes provide not just templates but also instructions for regulating when a gene should be translated into protein-came in in [acques Monod and Francois[acobs investigations of the eating habits of the bacterium Escherichia coli.

These insights led scientists to refine the Protein Template Theory into the theory of genes that is now considered correct, which I will call the Autonomous Agent Theory. Monod and Iecobs study began with the observation thatE. Nearly every cell contains a complete copy of the genome which is why one can grow a carrot from a clipping orc1one a sheep from a single cell. But most cells specialize for.

In ordinary glucose-rich environments, E. And it is frdm that process of specialization, in the individual deci- to make enzymes for metabolizing lactose. But when glucose becomes scarce, the bacteria switch their diet in the space of a few minutes.

To do that, they sions of the rrillions of cells that make up a body, in how cells spend their lives,in how they grow,slip, slide, divide, and differentiate, that the structure must produce thousands of copies of enzymes, such as galactosidase, a mole- of the body and brain emerge.

Or fail to emerge, for most birth defects stem cule that facilitates the breakdown of lactose to galactose and glucose. What Monod and [acob discovered is that the genes for these lactose in one way or another from errors in these basic processes.

First, the bacterium must have lactose around, and second, the bacterium must not have access to glucose. The logical juxtaposition of these two requirements IF lactose AND NOT glucose should instantly ring a bell with any reader who has computer programming hormone only in the pituitary gland. There is only at spedfic.

Vtfproteins in different ways in different cells. With IFS that are tied to particular times and no form to fill out in triplicate, no waiting for approval.

Patrick Bateson and types of cells, each cell can develop. RrrlFBtiandwhat drives a monkey embryo to become a monkeyir3. What Jacob and Monod had discovered, in essence, was that each gene acts like a single line in a computer program. The net result is a kind ofmass empowerment: With one more trick-regulatory proteins that control the expression of other genes-nature is able to tie the whole genetic system together, allowing gangs of otherwise unruly free-agent genes to come together in exquisite harmony.

Rather than acting in absolute isolation, most genes act as organisms, many of the IF-TIIEN cascades of development are primarily by a cell's history. The growth of the Ca'norhabditis eiegans rOlmclw ,rm is so regular that biologists have taken to drawing "fate maps," "lineages," diagrams that would make a genealogist feet at home. The THEN of one gene can satisfy a set of "hypodermal cells" that lie in a layer beneath the skin's surfew generations are shown in the first figure here.

By the time of another and thus induce it to turn on. In this way, a single gene th" g: In the words of Swiss biologist welter Gehring, such genes can serve as "master control genes" that exert enormous power in a growing system. Pax6, for example, is a regulatory protein that plays a role in eye development, and Gehring has shown that artificially activating that one gene in the right spot on a fruit fly's antenna can lead to an extra eye, right there on the fly's antenna-a simple regulatory protein IF that leads, directly and indirectly, to the expression of approximately 2, other genes.

The African butterfly Bicyclus anyana, for instance, comes in two different forms depending on the season, a colorful wet-season form, and a duller brown dry-season form. Which one develops is determined only late in the larval stage of the butterfly's development, probably on the basis of a temperature-sensitive gene that triggers different cascades depending on the climate. Genetically identical butterflies raised in a warm laboratory tend to take on the wet-season form, whereas those raised in cooler temperatures tend to take on the dry-season form.

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It would be impossible for the genome. In mammals, cells do use a bit of history, but heavily on molecular signposts that tell growing cells where complex, three-dimensional biological structures like the human heart or" arm.

In the arm, the proximal-distal axis starts from the runs down to the fingertips. But the worm will still grow a vulva if inquisitive experimenters use a laser to destroy P6 p ' As developmental biologist Judirh Kimble discovered, there are actually six skin cells that have the potential to give rise to the vulva.

Which one actually does so is determined not by a blueprint but by a signal that is secreted from a cell known as the "anchor cell. If the anchor destroyed by the zap of the laser beam , no vulva grows. Every cell in the arm can be defined in terms is shifted toward the head, the vulva shifts in the same direction, centering around the anchor cell's new position rather than around its orposition.

What triggers the vulva program is thus not an absolute location but a functional one, a triggering of a receptor for a cue of where it is on those three axes: One of the first studies to pit the two against each other from rhe rhumb to the little finger. The contrast between mammals and worms was once thought to be so great that Nobellaureate Sydney Brenner once joked that there were two bask plans of development, the "European Plan" and the ''American Plan": Embryologist John Saunders Jr.

The rransplanted tissue didn't simply fill in the missing part of the wing tip. Neither ancestry nor neighborhoodwon neighbors verymuch. Ancestry is what counts, and once a cellis born in a cer- Instead, claws sprouted from the ends of the chicken's wings. If it dies in from the leg and combined that with the positional cues from its an accident, it cannot be replaced.

The American way is quite the opposite. And itisthatsatlle cestors or where it came from. What counts are the interactions with its calculus that allows presumptive eye cells to become sromachcellsandpresurnptive somatosensory cells to become visual cells: By including position nelghbors.

It frequently exchanges information with its fellowcells and often has to move to accomplish its goals and find its proper place. It is quite flexible and competes with other cellsfor a givenfunction. If it dies in an accident, it can readily be replaced. Like real musicians, what they play depends on both their own artistic impulses and what the other members of the orchestra are playing.

As we will see in the next chapter, every bit of this processfrom the Cellular Big 4 to the combination of regulatory cues-holds as much for development of the brain as it does for the body.

How much can you do with a system like that? Consider the power of groups of simpleminded ants that work together to build a colony. Outside of DreamWorks Studios, individual ants can do little more than folloiv one chemical trail or another, pretty much insensitive to the resr of the world around them, yet their collective action yields great complexity. In a similar way, individual genes are not particularly clever-this one only cares about that molecule, that one only about some other molecule.

The regulatory region that controls insulin production, for example, looks for signs that it is in the pancreas, but it can easily be fooled. It's not smart enough to look around and realize that it might be the victim of a party prank played in a Petri dish. But that simplicity is no barrier to building enormous complexity.

If you can build an ant colony with just a few different kinds of simplerninded ants workers, drones, and the like , think what you can do with 30, cascading genes, deployed at will. What kind s of evidence could scientists use to test hypotheses about the evolution of the mind? People often think of genomes as deterministic blueprints that dictate the details of our lives.

What metaphors does the story use in describing genes? Towhat extent does the story discuss an environmental role for the trait in question? Change someone's brain, through drugs or trauma, and psychology.

Scientists didn't always know this-Aristotle function of the brain was to cool the blood-but nowadays, in and prescription dregs like Prozac, lithium, and Xanax, impOl: The shape of the iron and the way it is played arealso important. Gage, who has had an iron manufactured to his specifications,is a virtuoso of this thing.

NoW for what is going to happen. It is four-thirty on this hot after- From Descsrtes' Error: Damasio Phineas P. Gage It is the summer of We are in New England. Phineas P.

Over the past two weeksthe men haveworked theirwayslowlytoward the town of Cavendish; they are now at a hank of the Black River. The assignment is anything but easy. The terrain is uneven in every directionand is filled with hard. Rather than twist and turn the tracks around every escarpment, the strategy is to blast the stone now and then to makeway for a straighter and more level path.

Gage oversees all these tasks and is equal to them in every way. He is five-foot-six and athletic, and his movements areswift and precise. He looks like a young Jimmy Cagney, a Yankee Doodle dandy dancing his tap shoes overties and tracks, movingwith vigorand grace.

In the eyes of his bosses, however, Gageis morethan just another able body. They say he is "the most efficient and capable" man in their employ. This is a good thing, because the jobtakesas muchphysical prowessas keen concentration, especiallywhen it comesto preparing the detonations. Several steps haveto be followed, in orderly fashion.

First,a hole must be drilledin the rock.. After it is filled about halfway with explosive powder, a fuse must be inserted, and the powder covered with sand. Then the sand must be "tamped in," orpoundedwith a careful sequenceofstrokes from an iron rod. Finally, the fuse must be lit. Gagehas just put powder and fuse in a hole and told the manwho is helping him to cover it with sand.

Someone calls from behind, and Gage looks away, overhis rightshoulder, for only an instant. Distracted, and before his man has pouredthe sand in, Gagebegins tamping the powder directlywiththe ironbar. In no timehe strikes fire in the rock, and the charge blowsupward in his face. The explosion is so brutal that the entiregang freezes on theirfeet. It takesa fewseconds ropiecetogetherwhat is going on. The bang is unusual, and the rock is intact.

Also unusual is the whistling sound, as of a rocket: But this is more than fireworks. It is assault and battery. The iron enters Gage's left cheek,pierces the base of the skull,traverses the front of his brain, and exits at high speed through the top of the head. The rodhas landedmorethan a hundred feetaway, covered in blood and brains; Phineas Gage has been thrown to the ground. He is stunned, in the afternoon glow,silent but awake.

So are we all,helplessspectators. Ioseph Adams": Henry Bigelow, a surgery professor at Harvard, Let me introduce Mr. He is the justice of the peace for describes the iron so: He is taller than Gage, twice as round, and as solicitous as his Falstaff shape suggests. He ap- and a quarter pounds. It is three feet seven inches in length, and one and a proaches Gage, and immediately has someone call for Dr. John Harlow; one being seven inches long, and the diameter of the point one quarter of an inch; they wait, I imagine.

The iron is unlike Mr. Gage, what have we got here? While quarter inches in diameter. The end which entered first is pointed; the taper of the hotel porch, which has been described as a "piazza. And there perhaps Mr. Adams is nowgiving Phineas Gage lemonade, or maybe cold cider. Gage's physician, John Harlow, is well prising.

But just as surprising will be Gage's surviving the inevitable infection An hour has passed since the explosion.

The sun is dedining and the aware6fthe role of disinfection. He does not have the help of antibiotics, but heat is more bearable. A younger colleague of Dr. Harlows, Dr. Bdward using what chemicals are available he will clean the wound vigorously and Williams, is arriving. Years later Dr.

Williams will describe the scene: Adams' hotel, in will be natural and easy. Gage will develop high fevers and at least one Cavendish. When I drove up, he said, 'Doctor, here is business enough for scess, which Harlow will promptly remove with his scalpel. In the end, you. Gage's disposition, about two inches in every direction. I ought to have mentioned above that dislikes, his dreams and aspirations are all to change. Gage's the opening through the skull and integuments was not far from one and a aliveand well, but there is a new spirit animating it.

Gage, during the time 1 was examining this wound, was relating Gage Was No Longer Gage the manner in which he was injured to the bystanders; he talked so rationally and was so willing to answer questions, that I directed my inquiries to Just what exactly happened we can glean today from him in preference to the men who were with him at the time of the accident, prepared twenty years after the accident.

It is a trustworthy and who were standing about at this time. It the circumstances, as he has since done; and 1 can safely say that neither at manly and neurologically, and from it we can piece together not just Gage that time nor on any subsequent occasion, save once, did 1 consider him to but his doctor as well.

John Hatlow had been a schoolteacher before he en- be other than perfectly rational. The one time to which 1 allude was about a tered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and was only a few yeats fortnight after the accident, and then he persisted in calling me John Kirwin; yet he answered all my questions correctly. Treating Gage successfully and reporting the results to his Boston colleagues may have been the shining hours of his career, and he must have been disturbed by the fact that a real cloud hung over Gage's cure.

Gage was featured at Barnums Museum in New York City, vaingloriously showing his wounds his physical recovery was complete. Gage could touch. Harlow states that the iron was a constant companion, and points out Gage's strong attachment to objects and animals, which was new and somewhat out of the ordinary. This trait, what we might call not paralyzed of limb or tongue.

He had lost vision in his left eye, hut his vi- "collector's behavior," is something I have seen in patients who have suffered sion was perfect in the right. He walked firmly, used his hands with dexter- injuries like Gage's, as well as in autistic individuals.

Then far more than now, the circus capitalized on nature's cruelty. The Harlows narrative describes how Gage regained his strength and how ity, and had no noticeable difficulty with speech or language. And yet, as Harlow recounts, the "equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculty and animal propensities" had been destroyed. The changes became appar.

He was now "fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity which was not previously his custom, manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at endocrine variety included dwarfs, the fattest woman on earth, the tallest man, the fellowwith the largesr jaw;the neurological variety included youths with elephant skin, victims of neurofibromatosis-and now Gage.

We can imagine him in such Fellinian company, peddling misery for gold. Four years after the accident, there was another theatrical coup. Gage left for South America. He worked on horse farms, and eventually was a times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many stagecoach driver in, Santiago and Valparaiso. Little else is known about his plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned A child in his intellectual capacity and manifestations, he has the expatriate life except that in his health was deteriorating.

In , Gage returned to the United States to live with his mother and animal passions of a strong man. At first he was employed on a farm in Santa Clara, but he did not stay long.

In fact, he moved around often, be offended. The strongest admonitions from Harlow himself failed to return our survivor to good behavior. It is dear that he was These new personality traits contrasted sharply with the "temperate habits" and "considerable energy of character" Phineas Gage was known to remunerative job that he had once held.

The end of the fall was nearing. In my mind is a picture of s San Francisco as a bustlingplace,. He had had "a well balanced mind and was looked upon by those who knew him as a shrewd, smart businessman, very energetic and persistent in executing all his plans of action.

So radical was the change in him that friends and acquaintances could hardly recog. They noted sadly that "Gage was no longer Gage. The unraveling continued unabated. No longer able to work as a foreman, Gage took jobs on horse farms. He would work at one place or another briefly, only to quit in a capricious fit or be let go because of poor discipline.

The meager documents available suggest tha. A series of subsequent convulsions, one coming soon on the The alterations in Gage's personality were not subtle. He could not heels of another, followed. He never regained consciousness. I believe he was the victim of status epilepticus, a condition in which convulsions become make good choices, and the choices he made were not simply neutral.

They not the reserved or slight decisions of someone whose mind is di- nearly continuous and usher in death.

He was thirty-eight years old. There was no death notice in the San Francisco newspapers. One might venture that either system was now different, or, if it was still the same, there was no Why Phineas Gage?

Why is this sad story worth telling? What is the possible significance ofsuch a bizarre tale? The answer is. Somehow, there were systems in the human brain dedicated more to rea- the old values could influence his decisions. No evidence exus which is true, yet my investigation of patients with brain dam"ge similar to Phinees Gage's convinces me that neither explanation really happens in those circumstances.

Some part of the remains and can be utilized in abstract terms, but it is unconnected to teal-life situations. When the Phineas Gages of this world operate in reality, the decision-making process is minimally influ- soning than to anything else, and in particular to the personal and social by old knowledge. Another important aspect of Gage's story is the discrepancy between degenerated character and the intactness of the several instruments of dimensions of reasoning.

The observance of previously acquired social convention and ethical roles could be lost as a result of brain damage, even when lllind--att'en': In this type: Unwittingly, Gage's example indicated that something in the brain was concerned specif- a general profile of operations are at odds with the rest.

In the impaired character was dissociated from the otherwise intact: The most striking aspect of this unpleasant story is the discrepancy between the normal personalitystructure that preceded the accident and the ne- cognitive aspects remain intact; language is then the.. Subsequent study of patients similar to Gage has confirmed that his specific dissociation profile occurs consistently.

Gage had once known all he needed to know about making itself, and at first even Dr. By for the quality of his work, and attracted the admiration of employers and colleagues. He was well adapted in terms of social convention and appears to have been ethical in his dealings..

After the accident, he no longer showed respect for social convention; ethics were violated; the decisions he made did not take into account his best interest, and he was given to invent tales "without any foundation except in his fancy," in Harlows words. There was no evidence of concern about his future, no sign of forethought.

The significance of his behavioral changes was largely lost. One held that psy- chological functions such as language or memory could never be traced to a particular region of the brain. If one had to accept, reluctantly, that the brain did produce the mind, it did so as a whole and not as a collection of parts with special functions. The other camp held that, on the contrary. The rift between the two camps was not merely indicative of the infancy of brain research; the argument endured for another century and, to a certain extent, is still with us today.

A Landmark by Hindsight There is no question that Gage's personality change was caused by a circumbrain lesion in a specific site. But that explanation would not be apn,m,nontil two decades afterthe accident, and it became vaguely acceptable Whatever scientific debate Phineas Gages story elicited, it focused on the issue of localizing language and movement in the brain. The debate never turned to the connection between impaired social conduct and frontal lobe damage. I am reminded here of a saying ofWarren McCulloch's: This saying was usually part of a prophecy.

Few looked to where Gage was unwittingly pointing. It is of course difficult to imagine anybody in Gage's day with the knowledge and the courage to look in the proper direction. It was acceptable that the brain portion lonz time. It was even acceptable that the injury did not render Gage unconscious for a long period. The event anticipated what is current knowledge from studies of head injuries: The style of the injury is a critical variable.

A severe blow to the head, even if no bone is broken and no weapon penetrates the brain, can cause a major disruption of wake- became a mystery and came down eo us as the "enigma" of frontal lobe function.

Gage posed more questions than he gave answers. That is a bit like saying thatChicagoisproba- fulness for a long time: A penetrating injury in which the forces are concentrated on a narrow and steady path, rather than dissipate and accelerate the that the damage was. The left lobe? The right?

Somewheredse too? But to under- As How did the ab" cial conduct required a particular corresponding brain region, and this concept was far more unthinkable than its equivalent for movement, the senses, or even language. The primary cause,sure eo? Are they modules selected in evolution, filled with problem-solving al- conscious in the same sense that you and I are? Is it fair to say that his soul diminished, or that he had lost his soul? And if so, what would Descartes thought had he known about Gage and had he had the knowledge of gorithms ready to tell us how to reason and make decisions?

How do these neur specific regions in the frontal lobe,what are they made of, and how do they operate in an intact brain? Are they some kind of "center" for social behav- modules, if that is what they are.

Or are there in fact no such modules? What were the mechanisms behind Gage's failure at decision making? It might be that the knowledge required to reason through a problem was destroyed or rendered inaccessible, so that he no longer could decide ap- propriately. It is possible also that the requisite knowledge remained intact and accessible but the strategies for reasoning were compromised. If this was the case, which reasoning steps were missing? More to the point, which steps are there for those who are allegedly normal?

And if we are fortunate enough to glean the nature of some of these steps, what are their neural underpinnings? Intriguing as all these questions are, they may not be as important as those which surround Gage's status as a human being. May he be described as having free will? Did he have a sense of right and wrong, or was he the victim of his new brain design, such that his decisions were imposed upon him and inevitable? Was he responsible for his acts? Ifwe rule that he was not, does this tell us something about responsibility in more general terms?

There are many Gages around us, people whose fall from social grace is disturbingly similar. Some have brain damage consequent to brain tumors, or head injury, or other neurological disease. Yet some have had no overt neurological disease and they still behave like Gage, for reasons having to do with their brains or with the society into which they were born.

We need to understand the nature of these human beings whose actions can be destructive to themselves and to others, if we are to solve humanely the problems they pose. Neither incarceration nor the death penalty-among the responses that society currently offers for those individuals-contribute to our understanding or solve the problem. In fact,. Gage lost something uniquely human, the ability to plan his future as a social being. How aware was he of this loss? One is unable to notice something because it is.

The reel[oundations of hisenquiry do notstrike a manat all.

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