Major functions of the brain

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Indeed, in strictly biological terms, these structures can claim priority over the cerebral cortex. The brain is made of three main parts: However, reptiles do not have neocortex.

The skull of the human infant, it is calculated, is already as large as can be Major functions of the brain through the birth canal, which in turn is constrained by the skeletal requirements for upright walking.

With the rewarding of curiosity as our goal, let us take a closer look at a few aspects of the functioning brain. The limbic system is responsible for most of the basic drives and emotions and the associated involuntary behavior that are important for an animal's survival: But for much of the cortex, no such direct functions have been found, and for a time these areas were known as "silent" cortex.

With the advent of an action potential, however, calcium ions rush into the cell. The big hole in the middle foramen magnum is where the spinal cord exits. The central nervous system CNS is made of the brain and the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system PNS is made of nerves.

Brain Overview

This localization helps explain the effects of marijuana, which range from mild euphoria to wavering attention to temporarily weakened short-term memory.

Cranial nerves originate from the brainstem, exit the skull through holes called foramina, and travel to the parts of the body they innervate. It is thought that the neocortex is a recently evolved structure, and is associated with "higher" information processing by more fully evolved animals such as humans, primates, dolphins, etc.

This localization helps explain the effects of marijuana, which range from mild euphoria to wavering attention to temporarily weakened short-term memory.

There is evidence, too, that the cerebellum can store a sequence of instructions for frequently performed movements and for skilled repetitive movements—those that we think of as learned "by rote.

Among its other functions, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for inhibiting inappropriate behavior, for keeping the mind focused on goals, and for providing continuity in the thought process. The neuron conducts signals by means of an axon, which extends outward from the soma, or body of the cell, like a single long arm.

The hindbrain is made of the cerebellum, pons and medulla. Myelin is a fatty substance, a natural electrical insulator, that protects the axon from interference by other nearby nerve impulses. The cortex is named for its resemblance to the bark of a tree, because it covers the surface of the cerebral hemispheres in a similar way.

The limbic system, often referred to as the "emotional brain", is found buried within the cerebrum. Perhaps because the amygdala is located near a common site of origin of epileptic seizures—that is, in the temporal lobe of the cerebral hemispheres—epileptics sometimes experience unidentifiable or unpleasant odors or changes of mood as part of the aura preceding a seizure.

What do each of these lobes do? The negative charge, the resting potential of the membrane, arises from a very slight excess of negatively charged molecules inside the cell.

The faculties of planning and mental representation of the outside world are also attributed to the frontal lobes.

A brain injury that causes a temporary disturbance in brain function. In humans, of course, the stimuli that can affect the emotional brain are just about limitless in their variety.

Below the surface of the cortex are packed more The deepest groove extends from the front to the back of the head, dividing the brain into the left and right hemispheres. Click on the words to learn what these structures do: In contrast, long-term memory is thought to be stored throughout the cerebral cortex.

CSF fluid circulates inside the brain and spinal cord and then outside to the subarachnoid space.

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One of these, in the motor area, assigns a specific portion of the cortex to each part of the body that calls for muscular control; the portions assigned to the fingers, lips, and tongue are surprisingly large, reflecting the demands of highly precise instructions needed for speech and for manual skills.

The means by which short-term memory is converted into long-term memory has posed a particularly challenging riddle that only now is beginning to yield to investigation; see Chapter 8. Long-term memory has not yet been found to reside in any exclusive part of the brain, but experimental findings indicate that the temporal lobes contribute to this function.

The forebrain consists of the cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus part of the limbic system. Bleeding within or under the dura, the lining inside of the skull. This circulating fluid is constantly being absorbed and replenished.The bulges in the neural tube of the embryo develop into the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain—divisions common to all vertebrates, from sharks to squirrels to humans.

The brain stem sits beneath your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure. Visual functions occupy the occipital lobe, the bulge at the back end of the brain.

The primary area for visual perception is almost surrounded by the much larger visual association area. Nearby, extending into the lower part of the temporal lobe, is the association area. Mid-brain Superior colliculi coordinate movements of the head, eyes, and trunk in response to visual stimuli.

The inferior colliculi coordinates the head, eyes, and trunk in response to auditory stimuli. The human brain is the command center for the human nervous system.

It receives signals from the body's sensory organs and outputs information to the muscles. Brain Stem: Underneath the limbic system is the brain stem. This structure is responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure.

This structure is responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure.

Major functions of the brain
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