Brain functions and structure
The main parts of the brain are:
• The cerebrum (the forebrain)
• The cerebellum (the hindbrain)
• The brain stem.
This is the largest area of the brain and controls all higher mental functions, such as thinking and memory. It’s made up of two halves, or hemispheres. The right cerebral hemisphere controls the left side of the body, and the left cerebral hemisphere controls the right side of the body.Each cerebral hemisphere is divided into four areas, known as lobes:
Frontal lobe (see diagram opposite) – controls thought, memory, planning, problem solving and behaviour.
Parietal lobe – is responsible for language, helping us form words and thoughts. It also deals with touch and how we recognise sensations, and helps us be aware of our body position.
Temporal lobe – helps us understand and process what we hear. It’s also involved with how we learn and organise information.The temporal lobe is also responsible for emotions and emotional memory.
Occipital lobe – is where all visual information is processed, such as colour, shape and distance.
This is the back part of the brain and is concerned with balance and coordination. These activities are carried out automatically (subconsciously) by this area of the brain and are not under a person’s control.
This controls the basic functions that are essential for maintaining life, including breathing, body temperature,
heart rate and blood pressure. It also controls eye movements and swallowing. It’s a very sensitive and important part of the brain, and it connects the cerebral hemispheres to the spinal cord.