Saturday, September 5, 2015
The man who mistook his wife for a hat Oliver Sacks
''The scientific study of the relationship between brain and mind began in 1861, when Broca, in France, found that specific difficulties in the expressive use of speech (aphasia) consistently followed damage to a particular portion of the left hemisphere of the brain. This opened the way to a cerebral neurology, which made it possible, over the decades, to ‘map’ the human brain, ascribing specific powers to equally specific ‘centres’ in the brain.
Towards the end of the century it became evident to more acute observers – above all, Freud, in his book on Aphasia (1891) – that this sort of mapping was too simplistic, that all mental performances had an intricate internal structure, and must have an equally complex physiological basis. He felt this, especially, in regard to certain disorders of recognition and perception, for which he coined the term ‘agnosia’. An adequate understanding of aphasia or agnosia would, he believed, require a new, more sophisticated science..''