AQA 7181/7182 Psychology - Biopsychology - Localisation of Function in the Brain

  • Created by: CallumQ
  • Created on: 27-11-17 17:18

Localisation of funcion in the brain

Localisation vs. Holistic Theory

Paul Broca and Karl Wernicke discovered that specific areas of the brain were responsible for certain psychological functions. Before these discoveries (and the case of Phineas Gage) psychologists believed in holistic theory - the idea that every single part of the brain is responsible for thought and action.

Put briefly, localisation of function is the idea that specific areas of the brain has specific functions as well.

Hemispheres of the brain and the cerebral cortex

The human brain is split into two hemispheres. Each hemisphere is more dominant for certain physiological and psychological functions than the other hemisphere. This is what is known as 'hemispheric laterisation'. A general rule of thumb is that the right hemisphere controls the left side and the left hemisphere controls the right side.

The motor, somatosensory, visual and auditory centres

The cortex of each hemisphere is split further into four lobes which are named after the bones which they lie beneath:

  • the frontal lobe
  • the parietal lobe
  • the occipital lobe
  • and the temporal lobe

The motor area is at the back of the frontal lobe on both hemispheres and is responsible for fine movemnet in the opposite side of the body. If this area were to be damaged then the sufferer might suffer a loss of control over fine movements.

The area where sensory information is registered (e.g related to touch, heat, pressure, ect), the somatosensory area is at the front of both parietal lobes. The amount of space a particular body part takes in the somatosensory area is indicative of its sensitivity. For instance, our hands and face take over half of the somatosensory area.

At the back of the occipital lobe we will find the visual area. Each of our eyes sends information from the right visual…


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