Brain Terms


Brain Divisions and Functions


Cerebrum

Conscious thought, perception, intellect, and voluntary muscle activity


Corpus callosum

Large commissure connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres


Thalamus

Gateway to the cerebral cortex; major sensory relay center; influences mood and movement


Hypothalamus

Main visceral control center and homeostasis regulator; controls body temperature, the ANS, and the pituitary gland's release of hormones; contains the mammillary bodies that are involved in olfactory reflexes


Epithalamus

Involved in olfactory stimulation; contains the pineal gland which sets the body's biological clock


Midbrain

Contains the cerebral peduncles which connects the cerebrum to the brainstem, the corpora quadrigemina (superior & inferior colliculi) with visual and auditory reflex centers, the red nucleus, and substantia nigra.


Pons

Bridge between cerebrum and cerebellum; contains the middle cerebellar peduncle, and a respiratory center


Medulla oblongata

Pathway for ascending sensory tracts and descending motor tracts; contains decussation of pyramids, respiratory and cardiovascular centers, and reflex centers for swallowing, coughing, sneezing, and vomiting


Cerebellum

Responsible for coordinated muscle movement, agility, tone and posture; involved in learning motor skills


Reticular formation

Runs through the brain stem; contains the reticular activating system (RAS) that helps to awaken from sleep and maintain consciousness and alertness


Basal nuclei (ganglia)

Regulates initiation and termination of body movements; controls skill learning; contains the corpus striatum (caudate nucleus, putamen & globus pallidus) that is involved in regulating voluntary motor activities


Limbic system

Emotional brain; mediates response to emotion, mood, and smell; involved in memory and learning; contains the hippocampus, amygdala, and cingulate gyrus




Major Cerebral Cortex Areas, with Brodmann Areas (BA)


Primary Somatosensory Cortex (BA 1, 2, 3)

Receives the somatic sensory information from the body; located in the postcentral gyrus of the parietal lobe


Primary Motor Cortex (BA 4)

Innervates motor neurons controlling the skeletal muscles; located in the precentral gyrus of the frontal lobe


Primary Visual Cortex (BA 17)

Receives the sense of vision from the eyes; located in the occipital lobe


Primary Olfactory Cortex (BA 28, 34 )

Receives the sense of smell from the nose; located deep within the temporal lobe


Primary Gustatory Cortex

Receives the sense of taste from the tongue; located in the insula


Primary Auditory Cortex (BA 41, 42)

Receives the sense of hearing from the ears; located in the temporal lobe


Primary Vestibular Cortex

Receives the sense of balance from the inner ears; located in the insula and parietal lobe


Broca’s Area (BA 44, 45)

Essential component of the motor mechanisms governing articulated speech; located in the frontal lobe


Wernicke's Area (BA 22, 39, 40)

Essential for understanding and formulating coherent speech; located in the parietal and temporal lobes


Prefrontal Cortex (BA 9, 10, 11, 12)

Controls intellect, conscience, memory, personality, mood, complex reasoning, task management, etc.; located in the anterior frontal lobe