traumatic brain injury

Personality Changes After An Injury

Personality is brought about by many factors, one of which is brain chemistry. The presence and amount of neurotransmitters may influence, say extraversion as in the case of dopamine, while serotonin is focused more on the inhibitory behaviour. Different parts of the brain correspond to the components of human personality; hence it is of utmost importance to keep it healthy and safe. However, in the event of accidents that cause brain trauma – is it possible that personalities could actually change? Research says it could.

Personality and the brain

A study done in 1981 showed that there are five dimensions of personality, or the Big Five – Extraversion, Openness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Agreeableness. Underneath these categories are clusters of personality traits that make gauge how strong the dimensions are. Studies have been found to link the structures in the brain to the tendency for an individual to display these dimensions. Hence, given this information, it is likely that brain trauma or injury could cause changes in personality.

How brain injury affects personality

There is no definite section or lobe of the brain that controls personality; it is believed to be a collective function of the organ as a whole. However, one clue was provided back in 1848 when an explosion pierced an iron bar through the head of a railway worker in Vermont. The iron bar went through the left eye, up the frontal part of his brain and out the top of the head. Miraculously, the railway worker survived the accident, but it had drastic effects on his personality. Once a responsible and well-behaved man, he became more inhibited and irascible. It seemed as if he lost complete control of his emotions and would wear them on his sleeve.
A more recent case recorded in Virginia involves a triple major student at the state university, one with a sophisticated sense of humor, and is now suffering from the aftermath of a car crash where an oncoming Jeep was driving on his lane – from the opposite side. Brain scans reportedly showed that his frontal lobes seemed to ‘shrink into nothingness.’ Further, his sense of humor is said to be at the level of pre-schoolers or young teenagers.


In the above mentioned cases, the causes of the injuries come from construction hazards and car accidents. Indeed, these are two of the most common causes of brain injuries nowadays. Furthermore, hard contact sports such as football are also high risks for accidents. Slipping and falling from unmarked excavation sites or even from wet floor at the grocery store are risks for brain injury. Below is a list of preventive measures that can be taken by everyone to ensure safety:

  • Wear seat belts, use child seats, put on motorcycle helmets, as well as installing airbags in both driver and passenger sides of the car
  • Wearing of helmets for high contact sports, as well as using softer baseballs
  • Taking note of grab bars in bathrooms or handrails in the stairways, and window guards for children

After the accident, surgery and recovery, the road does not end just there. Personality changes may cause even more emotional strain to you and your loved ones. But you don’t have to bear it on your own. Contact The McMinn Law Firm to discuss your options.