Localisation of function in the brain

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  • Localisation of function in the brain
    • Hemisphere
      • Brain divided into 2 symmetrical halved called the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.
      • Left hemisphere controls the right-side of the body and the Right hemisphere controls the left-side of the body
    • Cerebral Cortex
      • The outer layer of the hemisphere, which is 3 mm think is more complex in humans than animals and appears grey due to the location of cell bodies
    • Broca's area
      • Identified area in the left frontal lobe responsible for speech production
      • Damage to Broca's area caused speech to slow and lack fluency as his patient could only say 'tan'
    • Wernicke's area
      • Identified region in the left temporal lobe as being responsible for language comprehension
      • Damage to Wernicke's area caused patients to often produce no sense words as part of the content of their speech
    • Evaluation
      • A strength of the research into localisation of function in the brain is there is brain scan as evidence. Researcher found that Broca's area was active during reading task and that wernicke's area was active during listening tasks. Another research showed evidence for the localisation of episodic and semantic memory
      • Another strength is the neurosurgical evidence,as early attempts at lobotomy wee brutal and horrible, but are still used for extreme cases of OCD and depression. Researcher used 44 OCD suffers undergo a lobotomy and found that after 32 weeks a third had met the criteria for successful response.
      • Support from the case study of Phineas Gage, who suffered from an explosion that caused a pole to go through his cheek. After the accident, Gage was reported to have undergo a complete personality change, from cool to aggressive. This suggests there must have been a localisation of functions in the brain.
      • A weakens of the research is that researchers believe that learning is too complex to be localized, and needs to contain the whole brain. Therefore, researcher removed 10-50% of the cortex in rats and saw that no area was more important in the process of leaving the maze
      • Another weaknesses that research into plasticity suggests that after trauma the brain can recover itself.

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