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Cerebral Cortex

The outermost layer of the cerebral hemisphere which is composed of gray matter. Cortices are asymmetrical. Both hemispheres are able to analyze sensory data, perform memory functions, learn new information, form thoughts and make decisions.

Left Hemisphere

Sequential Analysis: systematic, logical interpretation of information. Interpretation and production of symbolic information:language, mathematics, abstraction and reasoning. Memory stored in a language format.

right hemisphere

Holistic Functioning: processing multi-sensory input simultaneously to provide "holistic" picture of one's environment. Visual spatial skills. Holistic functions such as dancing and gymnastics are coordinated by the right hemisphere. Memory is stored in auditory, visual and spatial modalities.

Corpus Collosum

communication between the two hemispheres

Frontal Lobe

Cognition and memory. Prefrontal area: The ability to concentrate and attend, elaboration of thought. The "Gatekeeper"; (judgment, inhibition). Personality and emotional traits. Motor Cortex (Brodman's): voluntary motor activity. Premotor Cortex: storage of motor patterns and voluntary activities. Language: motor speech

Parietal Lobe

processing of sensory input. Body orientation (proprioception)

Occipital Lobe

Primary visual reception and association

Temporal Lobe

Auditory reception and interpretation, expressed behavior, receptive speech, information retrieval

Limbic System

olfactory path ways, biologic rhythms, hypothalamus

Basal Ganglia

Subcortical gray matter nuclei. Processing link between thalamus and motor cortex. Initiation and direction of voluntary movement. Balance (inhibitory), Postural reflexes. Automatic movement


neural centers in the limbic system linked to emotion


a structure in the limbic system linked to memory


relays messages between lower brain centers and cerebral cortex


controls maintenance functions such as eating; helps govern endocrine system; linked to emotion and reward

pituitary gland

master endocrine gland

Reticular formation

helps control arousal


controls heartbeat and breathing

spinal cord

pathway for neural fibers traveling to and from the brain; controls simple relfexes


coordinates voluntary movement and balance


relays information between the cerebrum and the cerebellum, controls arousal and regulates respiration

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