What is the Brain?

The brain is the controller of the body’s movements and essential functions, such as breathing and blood pressure, and also our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.

The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells which transmit information using a combination of electrical and chemical activity.

Its soft, jelly-like mass is cushioned inside the skull by cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid circulates around the brain and through a series of cavities in the brain called ventricles.

The brain is divided into a number of parts, which work together. The more these parts are coordinated and in tune with each other, the better the overall functioning of the brain.

The cerebral cortex is the largest part of the brain, and is divided into two hemispheres, the left and right.

The Brain’s Hemispheres

  • The left hemisphere mainly controls speech and language (talking, comprehension, reading, and writing).

    The right hemisphere mainly controls visual perception and interpretation of nonverbal information, including drawing and spatial analysis.

The Brain’s Lobes

  • The brain is divided into a number of parts, or “lobes”, which work together. The more the brain’s lobes are coordinated and in tune with each other, the better the overall functioning of the brain.

Each hemisphere is divided into four lobes.

Frontal Lobe

  • The frontal lobe is involved in problem-solving, planning, making judgments, abstract thinking and regulating how people act upon their emotions and impulses.

    The area towards the back of the frontal lobe, called the motor strip, controls movement. In the left hemisphere, the motor strip controls movement of the right side of the body; in the right hemisphere, it controls movement of the left side of the body.

Temporal Lobe

  • The temporal lobe is involved in receiving and processing auditory information like music and speech, language comprehension, visual perception, memory, and learning. The temporal lobe also contains areas which control personality, emotions and sexual behaviour.

Parietal Lobe

  • The parietal lobe controls sensation and body position, as well as allowing us to understand time, recognise objects, and judge the position of objects around us.

Occipital Lobe

  • The occipital lobe receives, integrates. and interprets visual information about colour, size, shape, and distance.

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