in the case of terry wallis, he (terry) was said to have changed more than his language ability: his personality. why? because when a speech pathologist asked him what he wanted, he replied, “make love to me.” does this really signify a change in his personality? really?
i ask what does it mean to know what you are saying? is it a word? a sentence? two sentences? a sound? two sounds? a sound plus a word? you can see where this is going. sure, he comprehends many things, but when we parse the brain into micro-areas that handle different functions, where to we point to and say, “well, whatever he says from this point forward is a reflection of his personality change.” but does this mean that he knows exactly what he is saying? words in relation to actions. actions to personality. personality back to words. how would this be symbolically translated?
there is no way for us to know his intent in that utterance without someone being there to witness it. then, there is a possibility that by witnessing his speech pattern and behavior we can say (indefinitely) whether his intentions were crude or pure. but people are quick to judge…and his father of all people!
coming out of a serious brain injury, he may not know many things that he says, even if he to be normal. look at how many people die each year because they feel normal when they really have a life-threatening internal bleeding, for example.
i’m glad that we are beginning to understand that the brain has potential of recreating pathways after a serious injury. again, as stated in the article, to what extent and under what circumstances is still a mystery.