Eli5: How can a bullet wound to the head affect the victims personality even after they’ve recovered from the wound?

8 views

Eli5: How can a bullet wound to the head affect the victims personality even after they’ve recovered from the wound?

In: 0

For two reasons:

1. We are, in effect, our brains. Change the brain, for example by shooting a bullet through parts of it, and you change the person. Personality is not some magic essence that floats around in our heads, it is physically encoded in the connections between neurons. Disrupt those connections, and you disrupt the personality.

2. Being shot, be it in the head or anywhere else, is an enormously emotionally traumatic event. Often it is associated with a prolonged hospital stay, a long reconvalescence, and/or chronic pain. These sorts of experiences can and will change a person.

It’s amazing that someone would live after being shot in the head.

Recovery and permanent damage afterwards depends on where in the head they were shot and how much damage was done.

you get a scar of your skin

well your brain can get scars too

like patching electricity through different places. lines can get crossed

your brain had electricity in it and those scars are crossed signals

Even when our bodies heal, there are often lasting effects from an injury. For example, you may recover from falling and getting a nasty cut to your leg, but be left with a scar. In much the same way, the brain can be changed as the result of a bullet wound to the head – even though it heals. As the brain is central to our personalities, this change will be lasting.

[Phineas Gage](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage) is a name I was told in high school and for some reason I never forgot it. It’s an interesting case study.