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Parts and functions of the brain

Brain Stem

Lowest part of the brain


The first large swelling at the top of the spinal cord, forming the lowest part of the brain, which is responsible for life -sustaining functions


the larger swelling above the medulla that connects the top of the brain to the bottom and that plays a part in sleep, dreaming, left-right body coordination and arousal

Reticular Formation (RF)

an area of neurons running through the middle of the medulla and the pons and slightly beyong that is responsible for selective attention


part of the lower brain located behind the pons that controls and coordinates involuntary, rapid, fine motor movement

Limbric system

a group of several brain structures located under the cortex and involved in learning, emotion, memory and motivation


part of the limbic system located in the center of the brain, this structure relays sensory information from the lower part of the brain to the proper areas of the cortex and processes some sensory information before sending it to its proper area

Olfactory bulbs

two projects just under the front of the brain that receive information from the receptors in the nose located just below (limbic system)


small structure in the brain located between the thalamus and directly above the pituitary gland. responsible for motivational behavior such as sleep, hunger, thirst and sex. CONTROLS PITUITARY GLAND (limbic system)


curved structure located within each temporal lob, responsible for the formation of long-term memories and the storage of memory for location of objects (limbic system)


brain structure located near the hippocampus, responsible for fear responses and memory of fear


outermost covering of the brain consisting of densely packed neurons, responsible for higher thought processes and interpretation of sensory input


wrinkling of the cortex, allows a much larger area of cortical cells to exist in the small space inside the skull

Cerebral Hemispheres

the two sections of the cortex on the left and right sides of the brain

Corpus Callosum

thick band of neurons that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres

Occipital lobe

section of the brain located the rear and bottem of each cerebral hemisphere containing the visual centers of the brain

primary visual cortex

processes visual information from the eyes(in occipital lobe)

Visual association cortex

identifies and makes sense of visual information (in occipital lobe)

Parietal lobes

sections of the brain located at the top and bac of the each cerebral hemisphere containing the centers for touch, taste and temperature sensations

Somatosensory cortex

Area of neurons running down the front of the pariental lobes responsible for processing information from the skin and internal body receptors for touch, temperature, body position and possibly taste

Temporal lobes

areas of the cortex located just behind the temples containing the neurons responsible for the sense of hearing and meaningful speech

Primary auditory cortex

processes auditory information from the ears (TEMPORAL LOBE)

Auditory association cortex

identifies and makes sense of auditory information. (temporal lobe)

Frontal lobes

Areas of the cortex located in the front and top of the brain, responsible for higher mental processes and decision making as well as the production of fluent speech

Motor Cortex

section of the frontal lobe located at the back, responsible for sending motor commands to the muscles of the somatic nervous system (frontal lobe)

Association areas

areas which each lobe of the cortex responsible for the coordination and interpretation of information as well as higher mental processing

Broca's aphasia

condition resulting from damage to Broca's area (usually in left frontal lobe) causing the affected person to be unable to speak fluental, to mispronounce words and to speak haltingly

Wernicke's aphasia

condition resulting from damage to Wernicke's area (susually in left temporal lobe). causing the affected person to be unable to understand or produce meaningful language

Spatial neglect

condition produced by damage to the association areas of the right hemisphere resulting in an inability to recognize objects or body parts in the left visual field.


the upper part of the brain consisting of the two hemisphere and the structures that connect them

Split Brain Research

Study of patients with severed corpus callosum, involves sending messages to only one side of the brain, demonstrates right and left brain specialization

Left side of brain

controls language, writing, logical thought, analysis, meathematical abilities. processes information sequentially, can speak

right side of the brain

controls emotional expression, spatial perception, recognition of faces, patterns, melodies and emotions, processes information globally and cannot speak

Endocrine Glands

glands that secrete chemicals called hormones directly into the bloodstream


chemicals released into the bloodstream by endocrine glands

Putuitary Gland

gland located in the brain that secretes human growth hormone and influences all other hormone-secreting glands

Pineal gland

endocrine gland located near the base of the cerebrum that secretes melatonin

Thyroid gland

endocrine gland found in the neck that regulates metabolism


Endocrine gland that controls the levels of sugar in the blood


the sex glands that secrete hormones that regulate sexual development and behavior as well as reproduction

Adrenal glands

endocrine glands located on the top of each kidney that secret over 30 different hormones that deal with stress, regulate salt intake and provide a secondary source of sex hormones affecting the sexual changes that occur during adolescence

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