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How well do you know your brain?

As the Good Brain Bad Brain program begins, where you can learn all about the brain and what happens to it when it encounters different diseases, we run through some basic brain anatomy.


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Your brain is an exceptional, powerful thing. It’s also quite complicated. In this post we’re sticking to the basics.

Your brain can be divided into different parts. We’re concentrating on three:  the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem.

Let’s look at the first part: the cerebrum (seh-ree-brum).

The Cerebrum

The cerebrum forms the biggest part of the brain. In it you have two hemispheres, the right and left; and in each hemisphere you have ‘lobes’. You have duplicate lobes on each side of the brain – they’re responsible for the opposite side of the body, so the lobes in the right hemisphere affects the left side of the body and vice versa. Each lobe is also broadly responsible for different things (although most actions involve lots of parts of the brain).

The Frontal Lobe

This is the lobe just above your eyes. It deals with lots of stuff, including your emotions and key motor functions. Famously, a railroad-worker named Phineas Gage had part of his frontal lobe destroyed in an accident – he survived but it left him a very changed man.

Good Brain Bad Brain FutureLearn frontal-lobe

The Temporal Lobe

Below the frontal lobe you have the temporal lobe, which has a big role in memory formation and understanding language.

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The Parietal Lobe

This lobe is responsible for processing information about some of the senses. For example, it is the main area related to your sense of touch and it also looks after your sense of place and body known as ‘proprioception’.

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The Occipital Lobe

This lobe is all about sight. It’s here you’ll find the visual system (despite it being the furthest from the eyes).

Good Brain Bad Brain FutureLearn the-occipital-lobe

To make it more complicated – some brain functions don’t map onto the lobes, like Wernicke’s area which is involved in comprehension of language. And when you look at a brain, you’d seen none of this – you would only see many  folds (sulci) and ridges (gyri) that give the brain it’s unusual appearance.

Moving on, let’s look at a second key part of the brain.

The Cerebellum

Cerebellum (sehh-re-bellum) is actually latin for ‘little brain’. It’s apt – this small section sits just beneath the hemispheres. It’s largely concerned with motor control – if you damage it, it will affect your movement and posture.

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And the third and final part…

The Brainstem

Small but important, the brainstem delivers all sorts of useful information to the brain. It connects your brain with the systems in your body. And it also plays a big role in regulating lots of things including your breathing, your heart rate and even your sleep and levels of consciousness.

Good Brain Bad Brain FutureLearn the-brainstem

If you want to get a more thorough understanding of the brain
join the Good Brain Bad Brain program now.


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