Localisation of the function of the brain

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  • Localisation of the function of the brain
    • The idea different parts of the brain perform different tasks and are involved with different parts of the body
      • If a certain area of the brain becomes damaged, the function associated with it will also be affected.
    • Hemispheres
      • Left hemisphere
        • Activity on the right hand side of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere
          • The outer layer of both hemispheres is called the cerebral cortex which covers the inner parts of the brain
            • Activity on the left hand side of the body is controlled by the right hemisphere
            • The cerebral cortex is 3mm thick and is what separates us from animals as the human cortex is far greater developed
      • Right hemisphere
        • Activity on the left hand side of the body is controlled by the right hemisphere
    • Lobes
      • Frontal lobe
        • Motor cortex
          • Controls voluntary movement in the opposite side of the body
            • Damage to this area of the brain may result in a loss of control over fine movements
      • Parietal lobe
        • Somatosensory cortex
          • Separated by an area called the central sulcus
          • Sensory information from the skin is represented
      • Occipital lobe
        • Visual area
          • Each eye sends information from the right visual field to the left visual cortex or the left visual field to the right visual field
      • Temporal lobe
        • Auditory area
          • Analyses speech-based information
    • Plasticity
      • The brain has the ability to change throughout life
      • During infancy, the brain experiences rapid growth in synaptic connections (15,000 at age 2-3)
      • Synaptic pruning
        • Rarely used connections get deleted
        • Recently used connections get strengthened
      • Anytime in life, existing neural connections can change or new connections can be made as a result of learning and experience
    • Functional recovery of the brain
      • Following injuries such as a stroke , other areas of the brain are able to compensate or adapt
      • Another example of neural plasticity
        • Healthy brain areas may take over the functions of those areas that are damaged, destroyed or even missing
          • The process can occur quickly after trauma (spontaneous recovery) but then slow down
            • Following injuries such as a stroke , other areas of the brain are able to compensate or adapt
            • An individual may require therapy to further their recovery as it slows
    • Hemispheric lateralisation
      • Split-brain studies
        • Sperry (1968)
      • Language is subject to hemispheric lateralisation
        • The specialised areas associated with language are found in one hemisphere not both

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