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Psychology Essay To what extent does localisation and plasticity contribute to behaviour?

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Introduction

Rachael Gibson Psychology Essay ? To what extent does localisation and plasticity contribute to behaviour? The localisation of function in the brain is the specialisation of different areas of the brain for different operations, activities and processes. Brain localisation does contribute to a person?s behaviour in many ways, for there are many different areas and examples. Brain lateralisation is a part of brain localisation, which describes the brain controlling the body contralaterally (controlled by the opposite side of the brain). There is an upside-down organisation, with the lower body areas represented by the top of the cortex, in general. There is also proportional representation, that is the area of the brain localised to a part of the body, is generally a similar proportion of the brain as the part is to the body. A study related to brain localisation is Sperry?s hemispheric deconnection, where he severed the corpus callosum in order to analyse the functions of it. The deconnection prevented communication between the two hemispheres and when the patients were given tactile and visual stimuli to each of the hemispheres, Sperry recorded the results. If visual information was shown to one field, it was remembered only in that field, showing that there is memory storage in each of the hemispheres. ...read more.

Middle

and the case of HM (memory loss due to removal of hippocampus). There are some general cases of localisation in the brain, as listed above; however, there are several arguments against localisation, highlighting its limitations. The brain shows plasticity, which will be looked at later. Localisation is not the same for all people, there are many variations so it is not clearly cut. An example of this is lateralisation being more evident in one gender than the other. There are also several parts of the brain which interact to produce function, so the brain and neurons show emergent properties. Therefore localisation does control behaviour of the body in many ways as there are several direct connections between the brain and a certain bodily function or behaviour; however it is not the only contributor. Plasticity of the brain (or neuroplasticity), is the ability of the brain and nervous system in all species, to change structurally and functionally as a result of input from the environment. Although localisation of parts of the brain for specific functions does exist, neuroplasticity also exists; the brain is flexible and can change the location of function in the brain, often in the case of brain damage or other environmental demands and localisation is not always fixed for individuals. ...read more.

Conclusion

Noticeable changes in the brain do not always occur which decreases reliability, however recently neuroplasticity has been proved a factual process that occurs in the brain so we must accept that localisation and plasticity work together in the brain to determine a person?s behaviour. It must be considered that to determine the behaviour of a person, one must at more than just the biological evidence. Neurophysiology in general ignores the changes that environmental experience cause. Methods in determining changes in the brain can have limitations which can decrease reliability of all the empirical evidence of both neuroplasticity and localisation. An example of this is electrical stimulation activating other parts of the brain as well. Finally, cognitive processes must be considered and by focusing on the physiology of the brain, researchers may ignore the implications of psychological findings and theories have for brain area functions. This stresses the limitations of both localisation and plasticity in contributing to behaviour. Brain localisation works together with neuroplasticity in different areas of the brain, to contribute to a person?s overall behaviour. There is evidence for each idea, however neither can fully explain nor prove the actions of the brain. Furthermore, the brain uses localisation to control the body, as well as neuroplasticity, often in the case of changing external environments. ...read more.

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