THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT / LITERATURE REVIEW

THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT / LITERATURE REVIEW

The Man who Mistook His Wife for a hat” is a non fiction book, which was published by the neurologist Oliver Sacks in 1985, in which the writer describes the case histories of some of his patients. The case of study one of his patients who has visual agnosia neurological condition that leaves him unable to recognise faces and objects. 

The story is about is about right-brain and left-brain disorders.The short story includes various agnosia, disorder or damage to the temporal lobes. We see in the story about Mr P. and his health problem how begins, for example, “His musical powers were as dazzling as ever; he did not feel ill, he had never felt better; and the mistakes were so ludicrous and so ingenious that they could hardly be serious or betoken anything serious. The notion of there being ‘something the matter’ did not emerge until some three years later, when diabetes developed. Well aware that diabetes could affect his eyes, Dr P. consulted an ophthalmologist, who took a careful history and examined his eyes closely. ‘There’s nothing the matter with your eyes,’ the doctor concluded. ‘But there is trouble with the visual parts of your brain. You don’t need my help, you must see a neurologist.” Therefore, Dr P. came to the neorologist doctor Oliver Sacks because of result of this referral.

Initially, Neurologist observed within a few seconds of meeting him that there was no indication of dementia in the ordinary sense. He was a man of great education and atractive man, who talked very well and fluently, with imagination and humor. ‘I couldn’t think why he had been referred to our clinic. He thinks that what a lovely man,’ neurologist thought to himself. How can there be anything seriously the matter? Would he permit me to examine him? He said, Yes, of course, Dr Sacks.’

The first sign of a problem appeared when Dr. P. needed to put his shoe back on following a standard reflex test. Gazing at his foot, he asked Sacks if it was his shoe. Continuing the examination, Dr. Sacks showed Dr. P. a glove and asked him what it was. Taking the glove and puzzling over it, Dr. P. could only guess that it was a container divided into five compartments for some reason. Even when Sacks asked whether the glove might fit on some part of the body, Dr. P. displayed no signs of recognition. The first sign of a problem appeared when Dr. P. needed to put his shoe back on following a standard reflex test. Gazing at his foot, he asked Sacks if it was his shoe. Continuing the examination, Dr. Sacks showed Dr. P. a glove and asked him what it was. Taking the glove and puzzling over it, Dr. P. could only guess that it was a container divided into five compartments for some rea- son. Even when Sacks asked whether the glove might fit on some part of the body, Dr. P. displayed no signs of recognition.

We see in the story an interesting case is that of Dr P, who has a visual agnosia, also, on leaving the consulting room “he reached out his hand and took hold of his wife’s head, tried to lift it off, to put it on.” This sentence is so strange and  writer gives us some information about his problem. Therefore, we can analyse  about Dr.P. and we see this case in mechanism of perception that “ The hierarchical organization of sensory systems is apparent from a comparison of the effects of damage to various levels: The higher the level of damage, the more specific and complex the deficit. 

For example, destruction of a sensory systems receptors produces a complete loss of ability to perceive in that sensory modality (e.g., total blindness or deafness); in contrast, destruction of an area of association or secondary sensory cortex typically produces complex and specific sensory deficits, while leaving fundamental sensory abilities intact. Dr. P., the man who mistook his wife for a hat (Sacks, 1985), displayed such a pattern of deficits. 

In recognition of the hierarchical organization of sensory systems, psychologists divide the general process of perceiving into two general phases: sensation and perception. Sensation is the process of detecting the presence of stimuli, and perception is the higher order process of integrating, recognizing, and interpreting complete patterns of sensations. Dr. P.s problem was clearly one of visual perception, not visual sensation. 

What means hierarchical organisaytion; Sensory systems are characterized by hierarchical organization. A hierarchy is a system whose members can be assigned to specific levels or ranks in relation to one another. For example, an army is a hierarchical system because all soldiers are ranked with respect to their authority. In the same way, sensory structures are organized in a hierarchy on the basis of the specificity and complexity of their function . As one moves through a sensory system from receptors, to thalamic nuclei, to primary sensory cortex, to secondary sensory cortex, to association cortex, one finds neurons that respond opti- mally to stimuli of greater and greater specificity and complexity. Each level of a sensory hierarchy receives most of its input from lower levels and adds another layer of analysis before passing it on up the hierarchy (see Rees, Kreiman, & Koch, 2002).’’

In the 1960s, sensory systems were believed to be hierarchical, functionally homogeneous, and serial. However, subsequent research has established that sensory systems are hierarchical, functionally segregated, and parallel (see Tong, 2003). 

Sensory systems are characterized by a division of labor: Multiple specialized areas, at multiple levels, are interconnected by multiple parallel pathways. For example, each area of the visual system is specialized for perceiving specific aspects of visual scenes (e.g., shape, color, movement). Yet, complex stimuli are normally perceived as integrated wholes, not as combinations of independent attributes. How does the brain combine individual sensory attributes to produce integrated perceptions? This is called the binding problem (see Billock & Tsou, 2004; Botly & De Rosa, 2008). One possible solution to the binding problem is that there is a single area of the cortex at the top of the sensory hierarchy that receives signals from all other areas of the sensory system and puts them together to form perceptions; however, there are no areas of cortex to which all areas of a single sensory system report. It seems, then, that perceptions must be a product of the combined activity of different interconnected cortical areas. 

The many neurons that descend through the sensory hierarchies. Although most sensory neurons carry information from lower to higher levels of their respective sensory hierarchies, some conduct in the opposite direction (from higher to lower levels). These are said to carry top-down signals. Now that you have an understanding of the general principles of sensory system organization, lets take a look at the auditory system, the somatosensory system, and the chemical sensory systems (smell and taste). 

“Another explenation about the two models of sensory system organization: The former model was hierarchical, functionally homogeneous, and serial; the current model, which is more consistent with the evidence, is hierarchical, functionally segregated, and parallel. Not shown in the current model are the many descending pathways that are means by which higher levels of sensory systems can influence sensory input. “  

In conclution, Sensory systems are characterized by a division of labor: Multiple specialized areas, at multiple levels, are interconnected by multiple parallel pathways. For example, each area of the visual system is specialized for perceiving specific aspects of visual scenes (e.g., shape, color, movement). Yet, complex stimuli are normally perceived as integrated wholes, not as combinations of independent attributes. How does the brain combine individual sen- sory attributes to produce integrated perceptions? This is called the binding problem (see Billock & Tsou, 2004; Botly & De Rosa, 2008). 

One possible solution to the binding problem is that there is a single area of the cortex at the top of the sensory hierarchy that receives signals from all other areas of the sensory system and puts them together to form perceptions; however, there are no areas of cortex to which all areas of a single sensory system report. It seems, then, that perceptions must be a product of the combined activity of different interconnected cortical areas. 

References: John P.J. Pinel – 4 EDITION-Biopsychology-Pearson (2010)/Mechanisms of Perception: Hearing, To ch, Smell, Taste, and Attention 

Wikipedia -visual agnosia.

Thank you very much for reading my blog post! 🙂

Published by Minerva's Wings

Welcome my blog! I started this blog to share my experiences about learning and teaching.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: