Brain Structures & Their Functions
The brain forms part of the central nervous system together with the spinal cord. The nervous system is the center of all communication and decision making. There are two parts of the nervous system: the central, and the peripheral nervous system. The nervous system as a whole is in charge of every part of our daily lives. Breathing, blinking, reaching to grab your phone, these are all motions brought on by our nervous system. Sensory nerves are the group of nerves responsible for gathering information from the body, and passing it along to the spinal cord which sends that message to the brain. The brain will then combine the message, and produce a ...view middle of the document...
The last major area of the hindbrain is the pons. The pons is a structure that relays information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain. The term pons is Latin for “bridge” and reflects the fact that many of the axons in the pons cross one side of the brain to the other. Some structures within the pons are linked to the cerebellum, thus are involved in movement and posture.
The midbrain is relatively small in humans. The midbrain contains two main structures: the tectum and the tegmentum. The tectum is the roof of the midbrain, and orients an organism in the environment. It receives input from the eyes, ears, and skin. For example, if you were reading in a quiet room and you heard a sound behind you, your body would swivel and orient to the direction of that sound; that is your tectum in action. The tegmentum is involved in movement and arousal, it also helps with sensory stimuli. The midbrain may be small, but it is a central location of neurotransmitters, and the brain structures rely on them.
The forebrain is the most prominent part of the brain, and controls complex cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor functions. The forebrain is divided into two main sections: the cerebral cortex and the subcortical structures. The cerebral cortex is divided into four sections, the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe.
The frontal lobe is considered to be our emotional control center and home to our personality. It sits behind the forehead and has specialized areas for movement, abstract thinking, planning, memory, and judgment. This is what sets humans apart from other species.
The parietal lobe, located in front of the occipital lobe, carries out functions that include processing information about touch.
Occipital lobes, located at the back of the cerebral cortex, processes visual information. Damage to this lobe can leave a person with partial or complete blindness. Information would still enter the eye, but the ability to process and make sense of the information would be lost. The temporal lobe, located on the lower side of each hemisphere, is responsible for hearing and language. It receives information from the ears based on the frequencies of sounds. The temporal lobe also visual association areas. This lobe helps us recognize common objects in the environment.
The subcortical structures lye deep inside the brain where they are much protected. This is where you find the thalamus, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland. Each of these structures plays an important role...