Localization of brain function simply means that different areas of the brain (i.e. locations) are associated with different behaviours and mental processes (functions).
- Our hippocampus plays a role in memory.
- The prefrontal cortex is associated with decision making, planning and controlling our impulsive behaviours.
- The amygdala plays a role in emotion and emotional response.
These are just some of the examples of different areas of the brain performing different functions.There are many studies that demonstrate localization of function that you might use for exam prep. Remember though that the learning outcome states one so you only need to prepare to be asked for one.
The themantic course offers you a range of possible examples of localization of function to discuss. This means that if you don’t quite get it the first time or in the first year, you could use some research you’ve learned about in the second year. For example, when studying about Criminology you will learn about the function of the amygdala in experiencing fear (as shown in SM’s study). But if this doesn’t quite float your boat, you can use HM’s case study to show the role of the hippocampus in memory transfer when you study memory and PTSD. There are a number of other possible studies in the themantic approach that you can apply to demonstrate understanding of this concept.
Travis Dixon is an IB Psychology teacher, author, workshop leader, examiner and IA moderator.