Main Parts of the Brain and Their Functions

parts of the brain and their functions

Responsible for rational thinking and body movements, the brain is an intricate organ that performs a myriad of functions. In this quick overview we’ll list the main parts of the brain and their functions. The human brain shares the structure of other mammals’ brain, but it is set apart by its size and complexity. A quick look at a chart with the main parts of the brain discloses four unique sections, each charged with particular functions and roles.

The cerebrum

As the largest part of the brain, the cerebrum fulfills many functions, such as thought processing. Comprising two hemisphere, the cerebrum uses axons to convey messages from the right hemisphere to the left one. This section of the brain is constituted of four different parts:

  • The frontal lobe: is in charge with reasoning and motor skills. It controls problem solving, attention, creative thinking as well as abstract thinking.
  • The parietal lobe: processes data like pain and touch. It monitors internal stimuli and visual functions. The parietal lobe comprises the sensory cortex which receive data from the spinal cord and the motor cortex which plays an important role in controlling movement.
  • The occipital lobe: takes care of the information the brain receives from the eyes. Broca’s Area is in control of facial neurons and helps with language understanding.
  • The temporal lobe: forms memories and assimilates what the ears record. Managing behavioral elements and auditory memories, it contains Wernicke’s area. This is still being studied by scientists, but we know that it helps us formulate and understand speech.

The cerebellum

Also called the little brain, the cerebellum is in charge with balance and movement. We are able to maintain our postures and move thanks to the cerebellum, which is believed to have appeared before the cerebrum. Positioned at the back of the brain, it plays a major role in precision and coordination of moves. The cerebellum is also believed to play a role in particular cognitive functions.

The limbic system

Found within the cerebrum, the limbic system is responsible with our emotions. Just like the cerebrum, it encompasses four sections:

  • Thalamus – processes the sensory data received by the brain.
  • Hypothalamus – is responsible for hunger, thirst and temperature.
  • Amygdala – ensures the body reacts to fear and memories.
  • Hippocampus – takes care of the learning process.

​The brain stem

In charge with life functions like breathing and blood pressure, the brain stem is also known as the simplest part of the brain. It has three parts:

  • The midbrain controls hearing and eye movement.
  • The pons performs motor functions and takes care of sleep and consciousness.
  • The medulla maintains the heart rate and other essential body functions.

Kids’ brains are different than adults’. Brain development happens during the first three years of life, with the brain tripling in weight and sets more than one thousand nerve connections. The parts of the brain and their functions are still being studied and explored by various domains. Neuro-psychology explores the connection between brain functions and behavior, while neuro-science is concerned with the nervous system and has a very broad purpose.

For more information about brain health, check out All You Need to Know about Brain Health.