Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory taps the side of his head. Text overlay reads

Ever wonder how your brain helps you get through life?

A super complicated organ, the brain has different regions that are specialized for different tasks! Specific regions of the brain are strongly associated with certain behaviours, senses, or neural activities.

Get to know yourself better by learning more about your own brain!

Major Regions of Your Brain

Mr Burns from the Simpsons sneezes, causes the top of his head to open, revealing his brain.

Let's dive into your brain by exploring its three major regions. These are called the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain.

Hindbrain

Your hindbrain, located near the base of your skull where your brain stem is located, is responsible for many important functions that work to keep you alive, such as:

  • Breathing

  • Heartbeat

Midbrain

You midbrain sits just above the hindbrain and works like a connection point between the hindbrain, and the forebrain. it is also involved in:

  • Wakefulness

  • Audio/visual processing

Forebrain

Your forebrain makes up about 85% of your brain area, and is what makes you, well... you!

It's responsible for many of the functions that allow you to think, like:

  • Reasoning

  • Personality

  • Language

  • Senses

  • Planning

You and Your Forebrain

Realistic image of a brain from above Photo by BUDDHI Kumar SHRESTHA on Unsplash

Your forebrain is responsible not only for your ability to keep your body functioning, but for thinking, intentional motor movement, and even your senses, like touch and vision!

Key areas of the forebrain are:

  • Thalamus — the brain's "traffic" director, relays information from one part of the brain to another

  • Hypothalamus — autonomic nervous system, especially related to hormones

  • Limbic system — feeding, finding a significant other, and emotional responses like fight or flight

  • The outer layer of the forebrain is called the cerebral cortex

Man thinking with formulas scrolling in background

Quiz

You've just stumbled across a bear in the woods! What part of the brain will be associated with your response to the bear?

The 4 Lobes of Your Cerebral Cortex

Brain regions don't generally operate on their own. However, some brain areas have been highly associated with certain functions. Often, different areas work together to create a complex chain of connections that allow us to laugh, chat, plan, and even run a marathon.

One way to understand the different areas of your brain is to understand some of the main functions of the 4 lobes of the cerebral cortex: the parietal, occipital, temporal, and frontal lobes.

Parietal Lobe

Hand reaching out to touch a branch Photo by Paul Rysz on Unsplash

Your parietal lobe, near the crown of your head, plays a large part in spatial relationships, like understanding where your body is in space. It's also associated with touch sensation and pain.

Occipital Lobe

close up of an eye Photo by Kalea Jerielle on Unsplash

Near the back of your skull, your occipital lobe can be thought of as your vision centre. Its main function is allowing you to see.

Temporal Lobe

Photo of a woman singing into a microphone Photo by Josh Rocklage on Unsplash

Located near your ears, your temporal lobe is involved in hearing, recognizing, and using speech, and musical rhythm.

Frontal Lobe

Photo of thinking man statue Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Your frontal lobe is located near your forehead and is involved in functions like decision making, personality, impulse control, and problem solving.

Quiz

You were in the middle of running a race when you tripped and scraped your knee. What part of the brain has been working hard?

Take Action

GIF of doctor kissing a model of a brain. Text overlay reads

And there you have it! A quick orientation to your brain -- a three-pound organ responsible for everything that you do! While we've just scratched the surface of understanding your brain, take these next steps to practice what you learned, and learn more:

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This Byte has been authored by

RH

Robin H

Volunteer Learning Designer