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The part of the brain that regulates basic functions like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, coughing, sneezing. Connects the brain to the spinal cord. Autonomic reflex center for maintaining body homeostatis; adjusts force and rate of heart contraction, adjusts blood vessel diameter for bp, generate respiratory rhythm, rate and depth of breathing (w/pons), regulate vomiting, hiccuping, swallowing, coughing, sneezing.

Medulla Oblongota

The part of the brain where the optic nerves cross., the point at which the optic nerves from the inside half of each eye cross over and then project to the opposite half of the brain

Optic Chiasm

The lobe of the cortex that allows us to plan, create abstract thought, and contains much of our personality. Controls most voluntary movement and contains the Precentral gyrus., associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving, part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for voluntary movement; it is also important for attention, goal-directed behavior, and appropriate emotional experiences

Frontal Lobe

Structure that controls basic life functions and includes the medulla, pons, and midbrain., The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions


The part of the brain that processes touch sensation and is part of the parietal lobe. Also called the somatosensory cortex.

Postcentral gyrus

the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance.
Coordinates eye movements and balance.
Helps us to perform and modulate voluntary motor skills., part of the brain that coordinates balance, movement, reflexes,


Part of the brain involved with regulating many aspects of our emotional lives such as anger, sex, thirst, hunger, regulates body temperature, a homeostatic control center, it controls the pituitary gland and serves as a biological clock.


This lobe is important for integrating senses, processing visual-spatial information and for speech and number recognition.
Contains the post-central gyrus which detects and locates all touch sensations on our body.

Parietal lobe

Portion of the frontal lobe that is the starting point for all voluntary movements.

Precentral gyrus

The lobe at the back of the brain and contains the major processing and interpreting areas for our vision.

Occipital lobe

Helps to maintain posture and is also involved in sensory analysis of hearing input.
It is also important for sleep patterns and levels of consciousness.
Connects the cerebellum to the cerbral cortex.


The lobe responsible for processing hearing information.
Wernicke's area, a location in this lobe, is crucial to our ability to interpret both written and spoken language.

Temporal lobe

The primarily a sensory integration center.
All the senses, except smell send connections through this structure before they reach the cortex to be analyzed.
The anterior portion of the thalamus is involved with memory, motivation, and sleeping cycles.


An important area for the formation of speech in the Frontal lobe.

Broca's area

Convoluted portion of the brain that is divided into four lobes.

Cerebral Cortex

It is strongly involved with memory, particularly changing short-term to long-term memory and memories for places.


This structure of the brain is associated strongly with fear responses and emotions.
When removed, things that would normally create fearful responses in organisms no longer create the same effect.


An area in the Temporal lobe that is crucial to our ability to interpret both written and spoken language.

Wernike's Area

A portion of the cortex that helps associate memories with "triggers" such as smells or pain.
Also seems to help focus attention on emotionally charged events.

Cingulate gyrus

From an emotional standpoint are very important for the "reward" system of the brain that gives a sense of pleasure.

Basal Ganglia

Consists of the diencephalon, including the thalmus, optic chiasm, and hypothalmus., Top of the brain which includes the thalamus, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortex; responsible for emotional regulation, complex thought, memory aspect of personality


The outermost meninges covering the brain; composed of tough fibrous connective tissue; its outer layer forms the periosteum of the skull.

Dura mater

The innermost meninges covering the brain; delicate and highly vascular.

Pia mater

Structure that forms the cerebrospinal fluid.

Choroid plexus

Folds or bumps on the surface of the cerebrum


Shallow fissures (grooves) that divide the brain and increase surface area


Associated with emotions (fear and aggression) and drives (hunger, thirst, and sex) and includes the Hippocampus, Amygdala, and Cingulate Gyrus.

Limbic system

Keeps the person alive. Breathing, heart, coughing, vomiting...

Brain stem

Coordination, posture, motor memory, movement, rote learning


Sends signals around the brain. Essential in focusing attention


Controls body temperature, appetite and signalling hormones. Hormones are the body's "messengers."


Releases melatonin - the sleep hormone

Pineal Gland

Connects the left & right hemispheres.

Corpus Callosum

Makes new memories and direction-finding


Basic emotion centre. Freeze, Fight or Flight


White matter. Billions of insulated neurons that 'wire' up the brain


Billions of cell bodies and dendrites for thinking


name the five brain lobes

frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital, insula

define: neural network

cortical areas linked by axons. local areas perform part of global function. all linked areas work together as a network.

ex. of a neural network -- Language

primary auditory cortex (sensory input, hearing) --> Wernicke's area (comprehension) --> Broca's area (plan speech) --> primary motor cortex (motor output, speech)

functions w/ Frontal Lobe

decision-making, planning, judgment, inhibition of emotional response, complex social behaviors. Critical for planning and execution of Movement.

functions w/ Parietal Lobe

proprioreception, sense of self in relation to environment, selective Visual attention.

possible symptoms of damage to parietal lobe

serious distortions in one's sense of size, shape, placement in space. vertigo. Stimulation may cause "out of body" sensation.

function w/ Temporal Lobe

object recognition, facial recognition, hearing (Wernicke's, primary auditory cortex), memory (hippocampus)

function w/ Insula

internal sensory infor, pain, temperature, threatening stimuli. Links to frontal lobe and helps inform decision-making (gut feelings).

precentral gyrus (motor), postcentral gyrus (sensory). Discovered by Penfield, electrically stimulating brains of patients w/ intractable epileptic seizures


fibrous bridge across brain hemsipheres.

Corpus callosum

bases on cytoarchitecture, w/ functional distinctions as well. 52 distinct regions.

Brodman maps

horizontal organization of neocortex

Six layers. Layers 2,3: send info to other cortical areas. Layer 4 receives input. Layers 5,6: axons descend to subcortical areas, including thalamus (backpropogation?)

vertical organization of neocortex

individual columns of ~120 neurons each. Each column functionally discrete and responds to very specific stimulus.

organization of Primary sensory areas

columns organized by sensory properties (eg, line orientation, frequency)

organization of Association areas

columns organized by complex information from other cortical areas (eg, visual, somatosensory, auditory)

Heschl's gyrus

superior temporal gyrus. Auditory/language comprehension.

Auditory and language areas of frontal lobe

Broca's area (area 44). Planning & motor execution of language. Syntax.

Auditory and language areas of temporal lobe

Primary auditory cortex. Heschel's gyrus (areas 41-42), Wernicke's area (area 22), Planum temporale

brain activity high in Wernicke's, temporal cortex


brain activity high in occipital cortex (visual)

passive viewing

brain activity high in pre-central gyrus (motor strip)


brain activity high in Broca's area, SMA (supplementary motor area)

generating words

damage to cerebellum causes

ataxia - difficulty maintaining balance

brainstem responsible for

respiration, heart rate, vital functions, swallowing.

sections of brainstem

midbrain, pons, medulla

brainstem important for

sensory and motor processes (esp visuomotor, auditory, vestibular); Sensation and motor control of face, mouth, throat, respiration, heart rate (cranial nerves III-XII attach). Sensory tracts from spinal cord to the cortex & cerebellum. Motor tracts from cortex and cerebellum to spinal cord. Nuclei important for maintaining alertness.


hypothalamus and thalamus, and pineal gland

transmits input to cortex. It is another basal ganglia. Sits on top of brainstem.


Basic drives, ANS integration, controls hormone release from pituitary gland.


produces melatonin.

Pineal gland

several nuclei important for motor control and movement. Includes substantia nigra (DA release), thalamus, globus pallidus, putamen, caudate. Damage to any of these result in movement disorder.

basal ganglia

several interconnected and cortical and subcortical structures important for emotional processing (eg, motivation, fear), learning and memory. Includes amygdala (fear, mental state), hippocampus (memory), cingulate gyrus (cognitive flexibility), nucleus accumbens (pleasure, responding to reward)

Limbic system

key role in movement and balance.


blood supply to brain

ACA: anterior cerebral artery, MCA: middle cerebral artery, PCA: posterior cerebral artery, Circle of Willis: cranial circle of arteries

supplies inferior frontal lobe, medical frontal and parietal lobes

ACA: anterior cerebral artery

supplies most of the cortex! Damage to left MCA often results in aphasia.

MCA: middle cerebral artery

supplies inferior temporal and occipital lobes

PCA: posterior cerebral artery

(mostly) surrounds base of brain, and helps protect the brain. All cerebral arteries branch from here.

Circle of Willis

problem solving, reasoning, decision making, creativity-top left

Frontal Lobe of Cerebrum

controls all glands. influence growth metabolism and maturation-2nd left

Pituitary Gland

sensory center for hearing, production/comprehension of speech-3rd left

Temporal Lobe of Cerebrum

regulating sleep cycles-4th left


control of respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, other bodily functions-bottom left

Medulla Oblongata

bodily sensations/spatial relationships-top right

Parietal Lobe of Cerebrum

communication between hemispheres-2nd right

Corpus Callosum

visual center of brain-3rd right

Occipital Lobe of Cerebrum

complex voluntary muscular movement, maintain posture and balance-4th right


reflexes, communicates info between brain and peripheral nervous system-bottom right

Spinal Cord

innitiates eating,drinking,sexual behavior, stress-Limbic System center


evaluates info from immediate environment-Limbic System center


memory process-Limbic center


inhibit agression and regulates sexual behavior-Limbic center


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