Parts of the Brain

Brain Functions

Frontal- affects emotion, limbic system, personality, judgement, intellect, morality, language planning, consciousness, motor cortex, abstract thought, voluntary movement, olfaction, attention span, short-term memory, perseverance, and impulse control. (motor cortex: involved in conscious thought and controls voluntary movement of body parts.)

Parietal- major association area and affects sensory functions, motor functions, pain, temperature, somatosensory, pressure, position, tactile recognition, perceptual functions, taste, abstarct reasoning, body image, spatial relations, proprioception, right-left discrimination, and the ability to read and create maps. (somatosensory cortex: recieves and processes sensory signals from the body.)

Occipital- affects vision; the optic tract integrates visual stimuli with other cortical areas.

Temporal- major memory processor and affects hearing, receptive language, the sense of smell, understanding speech (Wernicke's), emotional memory (limbic area), awareness and discrimination of sound.

Cerebellum- coordinates movement and muscles; controls balance muscle tension, equilibrium, posture, and the ability to identify muscle overuse.

Diencephalon- -Thalamus- the cerebral cortex relay center, affects emotive expression, integrates sensory (sight, hearing, touch, and taste) input with emotional responses, regulates and maintains consciousness, is the collection of pathways. -Hypothalamus- the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) integration center; affects visceral reflexes; regulates thirst, temperature, sleep, appetite cycles, fat metabolism, and sexual responses; monitors hormones, blood pressure, "flight or fight" response, and emotions. It's a big part of the limbic system. The pituiary gland ("master gland") is situated at the base of the hypothalamus.

Epithalamus -Pineal Gland- called the "third eye"; sensitive to variations in environmental light; located behind the thalamus; connects with the thalamus, hypothalamus, basal nuclei, and medial temporal lobe; produces melatonin; controls body rhythms, may affect onset of puberty; stimulates the immune system, is an active endcrine gland.
Limbic- oldest part of cortex, includes part of temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes, plus subcortical associations, olfactory pathways anatomically close to limbic system, responsible for emtions, attitudes, motivation, drive, social bonding, influences sexual activity, influences biological rhytms, integrates recent memory. -Olfactory System- an old and primitive system; olfactory pathways anatomically close to the limbic system; smell directly processed; responsible for emotional tone; influences sexual activity and biological rhythms; integrates recent memory.
-Amygdala- located within the basal ganglia; includes parts of temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes; "heart of the lymbic system"; regulates heart beat, visceral activity, emotional response, and mood; FEAR processor; initiates "Flight or Flight" response; controls automic nervous system; integrates cognitive and sensory input to decipher potential impact of event. Visual, auditory and somatosensory areas provide input to the amygdale.
-Hippocampus- is critical in organizing long-term/declarative memory; necessary for storing new memories as they occur. Brain Stem -Midbrain- the cerebral hemisphere nerve pathway; affects body posture, equilibrium, the Automatic Nervous System (ANS), blood pressure, body temperature, emotional influences, consciousness; helps regulate appetite and hormones. It is home to the nuclei of cranial nerves III and IV. -Pons- the central bridge between desending tracts from the midbrain to the lower centers and ascending tracts from the medulla and the spinal cord. It affects respiration, chewing, taste, arousal, wakefulness, and alertness. It is home to the nuclei of cranial nerves V Trigeminal, VI Abducens, VII Facial, and VIII Vestibulocochlear. -Medulla- the life-sustaining control center; controls heart, respiratory, and vasomotor functions; affects the ability to cough, gag, swallow, vomit, and digest; home to cranial nerves VIII Vestibulocochleara, IX Glossopharyneal, X Vagus, XI Accessory, and XII Hypoglossal.


Scenario: You are walking down the hall. You see someone walking toward you on the same side. You politely move out of the way as he walks by. As he walks by, he says, "Excuse me." You acknowledge him by saying, "That's okay."

As you're walking down the hall, you see the other person. At this moment, your occipital lobe is in use. It is the portion of the brain that has to do with sight. Since you're walking down the hallway, the voluntary movement of your body is being influenced by the Frontal Lobe and the Cerebellum. The pressure of walking is also being transferred to the Parietal Lobe at the same time. Although all of these are working at the same time, many others are as well. When the other person says "Excuse me", your ability to understand speech is being stimulated. This is also interpretted by the Temporal. When replying to the person, your muscles are moving because of the Frontal and Cerebellum as well as others. Also, your ability to speak is controlled by the Temporal. While these affect your actions, other parts of the brain affect your involuntary body functions throughout the whole time. The Medulla is controlling heart rate, blood pressure, and etc. Others such as the Hippocampus control the memory.