Know Your Noggin

Intro to Neuroscience and the Basics of the Brain


Your brain is made of neurons that are the building blocks your nervous system, while neurotransmitters messenge gaps between said neurons. There are so many things going on in that squishy lump inside your thick skull and yet it can be hard to differentiate between the hypocampus and an actual hippopotamus. (Mainly because they are both two things you can't spell that are both emotional things that eat a lot.) Hop on board the noggin train, because by the end of this ride you'll be able to tell one lobe from the next.

On the Border

The limbic system is composed of the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. A neural system located in the central hemispheres that is associated with emotions and drives. The amygdala sits nice and cozy above the hippocampus and below the pituitary gland and is linked to emotion. Travel up to the hypothalamus, lies below the thalamus, directs maintainance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature) and helps govern the endocrine system via pituitary gland. The final piece the limbic puzzle is the hippocampus which helps process memories for storage.

The Brainstem

Split It Up

Our brain is divided into two brain hemispheres with differing functions. Data received by either hemisphere are quickly transmitted to the other across the corpus callosum. The corpus callosum, a large band of neural fibers that connects the two brain hemispheres. Speech is controlled on the left hemisphere while sight is controlled in the right hemisphere.

Lovin These Lobes

Frontal Lobe-lies just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movement and in making plans and judgements

Temporal Lobe- lies roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each receiving info primarily from the opposite ear

Parietal Lobe- top of the head, towards the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position

Occipital Lobe- back of the head; includes areas that receive info from the visual fields

Inside the brain's left and right hemisphere are filled with mainly axons connecting the cortex to the brain's other regions. Each hemisphere's cortex is subdivided into four lobes, separated by fissures. Each of the four lobes- temporal, occipital, parietal, frontal- carries out many functions, and many functions require interplay of several lobes.
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Nifty Neurons

Neurons are nerve cells composed of tube-like axons that carry messages away from the cell body toward the other neurons. And I bet you're asking yourself, what is the small fluid filled gap between said neurons, well that would be a synapse. Which also carry neural impulses. Looking at a neuron, the treelike structures projecting from the soma that receive neural messages from neighboring neurons are dendrites. Like a coat of armor, the myelin sheath protects the axons of certain neurons and helps speed transmission of nerve impulses.


The cerebellum is the largest structure of the hindbrain and can be found at the back portion of the skull below the temporal and occipital lobes and above the brainstem. It is divided into two hemispheres like the cerebral cortex. The cerebellum deals with motor control, the coordination of motor movements and balance, among other things. The cerebellum plays a critical role in this motor learning process.