Dec 19, 2006

Damage to the Brain and Infidelity

There is a strong connection between the brain and behavior. Damage to specific parts of the brain, often results in unusual behavior.

For instance, Phineas Gage, who had an iron pole propelled through his brain, is probably the best known example. Before the accident Phineas was considered to be a mild-mannered, considerate and thoughtful man. After the accident, however, Phineas's behavior was marked by the use of profanity, inappropriate and sexually-charged behavior.

And there are many other examples of the unusual impact that damage to the brain can have on subsequent behavior. For instance, damage to some parts of the brain leaves people unable to recognize faces, of anyone, including their own. Damage to other parts of the brain can leave people unable to form new memories, somewhat similar to the lead character in the movie, Momento. And some damage leaves people unable to experience fear, so when placed in dangerous situations, they tend to become more amused than frightened.

The most recent example to come to attention, however, involves infidelity.

Stephen Tame, who suffered a head injury after taking a fall at work was later unable to control his sexual urges. After his injury, Stephen, who was recently married, committed infidelity, couldn't resist pornography, and frolicked with a prostitute. It appears that his marriage is headed for divorce and that his life is in ruin - except for the $5.8 million dollar judgment he recently won against his employer.

You can read the full story about Stephen's predicament here.

The New York Times also recently published an article on how brain damage can influence moral reasoning.

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