Brain Structure

Images from Time Magazine



This image shows the major lobes of the brain. You need to know where the major lobes are located and what each lobe does in terms of function (see below for functional descriptions)



Here we see the interior of the brain. Again you need to know the locations and functions of these labeled parts of the brain.

Outside the brain



This is an outside view of the brain. The brain is split into the left and right hemispheres by the longitudinal fissure. The different brain areas are segmented by deep grooves, called sucli , and by functional aspects. The largest part of the human brain is the cerebral cortex (cortex means bark in latan). This is an appropriate name, because the brain does its computation only on the six surface layers.
The very back part of the brain contains the cerebellum (little brain), which is attached to the Hindbrain. The Cerebellum is not very well understood, but it has been implicated in the coordination of movement. It is very old on an evolutionary scale, and you probably can't live without one.
Above the cerebellum lies the occipital lobe , which processes visual information.
Moving counter-clockwise, the next area is the parietal lobe , which processes many different sensory areas, and so might be an association area.
In front of the parietal lobe lies the Primary Sensory area. This area receives somatosensory input (touch sensations) from the entire body in a topographical mapping.
Right next to the Primary Sensory area is the Motor Area . If you were designing a brain you would want the Sensory areas right next to the Motor areas so that an organism could react very quickly to an incoming stimulus (like a baseball flying towards your head).
The Frontal Lobe handles the most complex thoughts. Damage to this area causes personality changes as well as other afflictions.

Other Areas That You Need to Know:

Inside the brain



This inside view of the brain shows the Limbic Lobe , which is not visible from outside the brain. The limic lobe has been implicated in sexual and emotional behavior as well as the encoding of some memories.
The Basal Ganglia is a collection of nerve bundles that is primarily responsible for motor programming.
The Thalamus is a collection of pathways that connects peripheral sensory organs to the various sensory corticies. Behind the Thalamus is the Pineal Gland , which controls body rhythms and sexual activity.
The Hypothalamus controls the visceral nervous system, guiding actions such as thirst, temperature regulation, and glanduar secretions in the organs.

Brainstem



This is a dissection of the very oldest portion of the brain, the part of the brain that sits on top of the spinal cord.
The Midbrain controls reflex patterns associated with vision and hearing.
The Pons serves as a relay station between the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum.
The Medulla controls vital functions such as respiration and heartbeat.
The Cerebellum controls sychronized movements.

Directions in the Brain



As we begin to talk about brain scans and locations of lesions, we need a common way of describing directions in the brain. The scanners that we use typically take slices, or planes, through the brain, and the major slices are given names.
The Median Plane cuts lengthwise through the middle of the brain.
The Saggital Plane is parallel to the Median Plane, but off the main axis.
The Coronal Plane is perpendicular to the Median Plane, running right between your ears.
The Horizontal Plane runs parallel to the ground as you stand upright.