What Has Four Legs . . .

A woman's trouble naming animals helps show how the brain works

Neurologists and psychologists learned long ago that brain injuries can be a powerful tool for investigating how human thought and memory are organized. A case study by two Johns Hopkins researchers, reported in Nature, is but the latest example. A 70-year-old retired librarian who suffered such an injury developed a remarkable symptom: she lost the ability to name animals, though % she could still name other living things, such as plants, and inanimate objects. Nor could she assign physical attributes to animals -- she could not, for example, answer the question "What color is an elephant?" Yet she could answer nonphysical...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!