Localisation of function in the brain

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  • Created on: 31-05-22 13:14
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  • Localisation of function in the brain
    • Motor Cortex
      • Responsible for the generation for voluntary movements
      • Located in the frontal lobe of the brain.
      • Motor cortex on one side of the brain controlling the opposite side of the body.
      • Important for complex movements such as coughing and crying.
    • Somatosensory cortex
      • Found at the front of the parietal lobe.
      • Where sensory information from the skin (heat, pressure) represented.
    • Visual Cortex
      • located in the occipital lobe at the back of the brain
      • Each eye sends information to the opposite side of the occipital lobe
      • damage in left hemisphere can cause blindness in the right visual field of both eyes.
    • Broca's Area
      • In the 1880s Broca identified a small area in the left frontal lobe.
      • responsible for speech production. 
      • Damage results in slow speech which lacks fluency (Broca’s aphasia).
    • Wernicke’s Area
      • Located in the left temporal lobe. 
      • responsible for language comprehension (understanding language rather than producing it). 
      • Damage results in Wernicke’s aphasia – patients often produce nonsense words as part of their speech. 
    • Auditory + Language Cortex
      • located in the temporal lobes
      • This area analyses speech-based information. Damage may produce hearing loss.
      • P - Research into the localisation of function relies on flawed case studies.
        •  E- Case studies such as Phineas Gage reflect a unique experience of brain damage. Patterns of brain damage can be different between individuals as well as differences in individual’s brain organisation.
          • E - Therefore, you can not generalise the findings to the general population as the evidence is not representative. 
            • L -  Additionally, brain scans also have their own limitations. This means that having conclusive evidence about localisation can be difficult.
      • P -  Localisation theory of the brain is criticised for being reductionist and too simplistic.
        • E - Many psychologists believe that some functions are more localised than others e.g. somatosensory and motor functions are highly localised to particular areas of cortex.
          • E - Whereas, other functions seem more widely distributed e.g. the personality and consciousness.
            • L - The brain is so complex that no one part acts independently of the rest, so strict localisation is impossible.
      • P - research investigating localisation has practical applications. 
        • E - Knowledge about the language centres in the brain has led to applications in speech and language therapy. 
          • E - This can be used after a person experiences a brain injury/illness.
            • L - This shows that knowing about different areas of function will provide useful insights to improve lives.  
      • P - Brain scans and case studies, such as Phineas Gage, have provided neurological supporting evidence for localisation of function in the brain.
        • E - Phineas Gage experienced brain damage (frontal lobe) after an accident at work involving explosives. Incredibly, he survived but the damage to his brain had a serious influence on his personality. 
          • E - He became bad tempered and rude as the frontal lobe is thought to be responsible for regulating mood. 
            • L -  This suggests that areas of the brain have different functions (localised).


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