Brain structures: All you need to know

aThe dom­i­nant struc­ture of the human brain is called the cere­brum, which con­sists of the grey, curly cor­tex. The cere­brum is divid­ed into two hemi­spheres (right and left), each con­sist­ing of four lobes, and con­trols high­er men­tal func­tions. As you can see in Fig­ure 1, the four lobes of the brain are the occip­i­tal, tem­po­ral, pari­etal and frontal lobes.


Fig­ure 1

The cor­tex con­sists of two hemi­spheres, each divid­ed into four lobes: frontal, pari­etal, occip­i­tal and temporal.

The cor­tex includes a num­ber of neu­rons or brain cells (see Fig­ure 2). These neu­rons com­mu­ni­cate through con­nec­tion, called synaps­es. An aver­age brain con­tains approx­i­mate­ly 100 bil­lions neu­rons. But oth­er types of cells, called glial cells, also play an impor­tant role.


Fig­ure 2

This is a neu­ron. Your brain con­tains approx­i­mate­ly 100 bil­lions of these. Neu­rons com­mu­ni­cate through synapses.

Dif­fer­ent areas of the brain are respon­si­ble for dif­fer­ent functions. 

The frontal lobes (behind the fore­head) are pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for deci­sion-mak­ing, plan­ning, prob­lem-solv­ing, and cer­tain forms of atten­tion. They are also involved in motor con­trol, cer­tain aspects of lan­guage and mem­o­ry, social behav­ior and emotions.

  • The occip­i­tal lobes (at the back of the brain) are devot­ed to vision.
  • The tem­po­ral lobes (next to the tem­ples) are respon­si­ble most­ly for mem­o­ry for­ma­tion, lan­guage, hear­ing and object perception.
  • The pari­etal lobes are respon­si­ble most­ly for cer­tain forms of atten­tion, spa­tial pro­cess­ing and the manip­u­la­tion of objects.

To go fur­ther and learn more:


Keep learn­ing by read­ing more arti­cles in the Resources sec­tion, and also please con­sid­er join­ing our free month­ly Brain Fit­ness eNewsletter

This new online resource is based on the con­tent from the book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.

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