One of the strangest clinical cases in neuroscience comes from the case study of Dr. Oliver Sacks about his patient, Mr I.
Mr. I was a music teacher who was unable to tell whether what he was looking at was a person or an object. For example, Mr. I confused children’s heads for fire hydrants and his own wife for a hat!
Recent discoveries in neuroscience suggest that Mr. I’s brain may have made a mistake because of a special part of the brain, called the fusiform face area (FFA), that is responsible for perceiving faces!
This area was recently discovered to be directly responsible for perceiving faces in human patients who were about to have brain surgery. When electrodes were put in, the patient couldn’t tell whether a ball was a human face or not!
This experiment emphasizes that while brains are dynamic, they are also very fragile. Indeed, sometimes it is possible for the neural circuitry in the brain to make big mistakes, just like Mr. I!
To learn more about this fascinating research, please be sure to check out: