The Brain

Yoonju Moon

Cerebral Cortex-The cerebral cortex is a thin surface layer of interconnected neural cells. It is where information is processed in the brain. The cerebral cortex is also involved in voluntary movement (see motor cortex). Wrinkles allow the cerebral cortex to have a greater surface area (containing 20-13 billion nerve cells and 300 trillion synaptic connections).

Comprised of: occipital lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, primary somatosensory cortex, frontal lobe, primary motor cortex

Limbic System-The limbic system is located at the border between the brain’s older parts and the cerebral hemispheres. The limbic system is associated with emotion and basic motives.

Comprised of: hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus

Central Core comprised of: medulla, pons, cerebellum, thalamus, reticular formation, left hemisphere, right hemisphere, Broca's area, Wernicke's area, and corpus callosum.

Terms

The Occipital lobe is located at the back of the brain and serves as the primary visual processing center of the brain.

The temporal lobes are involved with memory and hearing. The auditory cortex is located within the temporal lobes and allows sounds to be heard. The temporal lobes are located just above the ears.

The parietal lobes are located at the top/rear of the brain. The parietal lobe receives sensory input for touch and body position.

The sensory cortex is located at the front of the parietal lobes. It functions as a processing center for body touch and movement sensations.

The frontal lobe is located in the cerebral cortex just behind the forehead. It is involved in speaking and muscle movements. The frontal lobe is also involved in making plans and decisions.

The motor cortex is found at the rear of the frontal lobes and controls voluntary movements.

The hippocampus is a component of the limbic system that processes memory.

The amygdala are two lima bean-shaped neural clusters within the limbic system. The amygdala influence aggression and fear and thus is linked to emotion.

The hypothalamus is another component of the limbic system. It plays an important role in the connection of the nervous system and the endocrine system by controlling the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus directs several maintenance activities and is linked to emotion and award.


The medulla is located at the base of the brainstem and controls heartbeat and breathing.

The pons is located just above the medulla and helps coordinate movements.

The cerebellum (“little brain”) is located at the back of the base of the brain. It allows for one type of nonverbal learning and memory. The cerebellum is involved with timing, emotions, and the recognition of sounds/textures. It also is involved in voluntary movement coordination.

The thalamus is located above the brainstem. It serves as the information-organizing center for all sensory information (except smell). Sensory information comes into the thalamus which routes the information to higher brain regions that are associated with specific senses. Furthermore, the thalamus receives some of the higher brain regions’ responses to the initially sent sensory information and in turn directs the responses to the medulla and cerebellum.

The reticular formation is a network of nerves in the brainstem that functions as a control center for arousal.

The left hemisphere of the brain controls muscles of the right side of the body and is dominant in processing language and logical sequences.

Broca’s area refers to a region in the frontal lobe of the left hemisphere that is associated with the production of speech.

Wernicke’s area refers to the region of the brain that (in addition to Broca’s area) is linked to speech.

The right hemisphere controls muscles of the left side of the body and is dominant over spatial abilities and visual concepts.

The corpus callosum refers to the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres. The corpus callosum functions as the bridge between the two hemispheres by carrying neural messages between them.