Brain Lobes and Functions

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The brain is divided into lobes as illustrated above and below

Frontal Lobes:

The frontal lobes are part of the Cerebral Cortex and are the largest of the brain's structures. They are the main site of so-called 'higher' Cognitive functions. The frontal lobes contain a number of important substructures, including the prefrontal cortex, orbit frontal cortex, motor and premotor cortices, and Broca's area. These substructures are involved in attention and thought, voluntary movement, decision-making, and language.

Associated Functions:

Executive processes (voluntary behavior such as decision making, planning, problem-solving, and thinking), voluntary motor control, cognition, intelligence, attention, language processing and comprehension, and many others.

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Parietal Lobe:

The parietal cortex plays an important role in integrating information from different senses to build a coherent picture of the world. It integrates information from the Ventral visual pathways (which process what things are) and dorsal visual pathways (which process where things are). This allows us to coordinate our movements in response to the objects in our environment. It contains a number of distinct reference maps of the body, near space, and distant space, which are constantly updated as we move and interact with the world.
The parietal cortex processes attention towards the awareness of the environment, is involved in manipulating objects, and representing numbers.

Associated Functions:
  •   Perception and integration of somatosensory information (e.g. touch, pressure, temperature, and pain)
  •   Visuospatial processing
  •   Spatial attention
  •   Spatial mapping
  •   Number representation
  •   Associated cognitive disorders
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Occipital Lobe:

The occipital cortex is the primary visual area of the brain. It receives projections from the retina (via the thalamus) from where different groups of neurons separately encode different visual information such as colour, orientation, and motion. Pathways from the occipital lobes reach the temporal and?Parietal Lobes and are eventually processed consciously. Two important pathways of information originating in the occipital lobes are the dorsal and ventral streams. The dorsal stream projects to the parietal lobes and processes where objects are located. The ventral stream projects to structures in the temporal lobes and processes what objects are.

Associated Functions:
  •   Vision
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Temporal Lobe:

The temporal lobes contain a large number of substructures, whose functions include perception, face recognition, object recognition, memory acquisition, understanding language, and emotional reactions. Damage to the temporal lobes can result in intriguing neurological deficits called agnosias, which refer to the inability to recognize specific categories (body parts, colors, faces, music, smells).

Associated Functions:
  •   Recognition
  •   Perception (hearing, vision, smell)
  •   Understanding language
  •   Learning and memory
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The cerebellum monitors and regulates motor behavior, particularly automatic movements. Some recent studies have associated the cerebellum with cognitive functions, such as learning and attention. Although the cerebellum accounts for roughly 10% of total brain weight, it contains more neurons than the rest of the brain combined. The cerebellum is also one of the few mammalian brain structures where adult neurogenesis (the development of new neurons) has been confirmed.

Associated Functions:
  •   Coordination of voluntary movement
  •   Motor learning
  •   Balance
  •   Reflex memory
  •   Posture
  •   Timing
  •   Sequence learning
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