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This Man is a Real-Life Hodor

Last year I learned that Game of Thrones‘ favorite giant with a one-word vocabulary has a real-life neurological condition called expressive aphasia. This week, I learned that we have video of Hodor’s real-life equivalent.

The video below is footage of a medical patient with expressive aphasia — the only word he can say is “tono.”

Notice something strange? Thought the patient’s vocabulary has been replaced by “tono,” he can still count (at least to 11). This oddity actually tells us something intriguing about how the brain is wired up. As neuroscientist Indre Viskontas wrote, “expressive aphasia is “usually caused by a localized stroke in the front of the brain, on the left side.” In other words, the condition is caused by very specific damage.

So, the man in the video above can’t say words but can say numbers, a different concept occupying a different space (or at least a different pathway) in the brain. Fascinating.

Learn more about expressive aphasia here.

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Comments

  1. Bearsprince says:

    They should create a number based vocabulary so he can communicate saying number instead of words. 

    • Villy says:

      Found this on wikipedia: ” Even in such cases, over-learned and rote-learned speech patterns may be retained[5]—for instance, some patients can count from one to ten, but cannot produce the same numbers in ordinary conversation.” So perhaps that isn’t a viable option.
      I do know that sometimes people with aphasia can learn sign language, or at least SOME sign language, so perhaps he can communicate with that.