Javascript not supported

The Brain and Its Functions

The brain is a very important and complex organ - in fact, the most important organ in the human body! The brain has two hemispheres (left and right). The hemispheres are divided into four lobes - Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobe, Occipital Lobe, and the Temporal Lobe. See also the Brainstem and The Cerebellum areas.
 

Click on the different areas of the Brain to read about their functions:

Temporal Lobe The Brainstem The Cerebellum Occipital Lobe Parietal Lobe Frontal Lobe
 

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

FRONTAL LOBE

FUNCTIONS
  • How we know what we are doing within our environment (Consciousness)
  • How we initiate activity in response to our environment
  • Judgments we make about what occurs in our daily activities
  • Controls our emotional response
  • Controls our expressive language
  • Assigns meaning to the words we choose
  • Involves word associations
  • Memory for habits and for motor activities
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis)
  • Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing)
  • Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others
  • Loss of flexibility in thinking
  • Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration)
  • Inability to focus on task (Attending)
  • Mood changes (Emotionally Labile)
  • Changes in social behaviour
  • Changes in personality
  • Difficulty with problem-solving
  • Inability to express language (Broca’s Aphasia)
 
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

PARIETAL LOBE

Near the back and top of the head.
FUNCTIONS
  • Visual attention
  • Touch perception
  • Goal-directed voluntary movements
  • Manipulation of objects
  • Integration of different senses, allowing for understanding a single concept
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Inability to attend to more than one object at a time
  • Inability to name an object (Anomia)
  • Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia)
  • Problems with reading (Alexia)
  • Difficulty with drawing objects
  • Difficulty in distinguishing Left from Right
  • Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia)
  • Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia), what leads to difficulties in self-care
  • Inability to focus visual attention
  • Difficulties with eye and hand coordination
 
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

OCCIPITAL LOBE

At the very back of the head, just abvoe the indent at the top of the neck.
FUNCTIONS
  • Vision
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts)
  • Difficulty with locating objects in the environment
SOMETIMES (BUT RARELY) ASSOCIATED WITH THE FOLLOWING:
  • Difficulty with identifying colours (Color Agnosia)
  • Production of hallucinations
  • Visual illusions – inaccurately seeing objects
  • Word blindness – inability to recognize words
  • Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects
  • Difficulties with reading and writing
  • Inability to recognize the movement of an object (Movement Agnosia)
     
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

TEMPORAL LOBE

Found above th ears on the sides of the head
FUNCTIONS
  • Hearing ability
  • Acquisition of memory
  • Some visual perceptions
  • Categorization of objects
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia)
  • Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke’s Aphasia)
  • Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear
  • Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about, objects.
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Interference with long-term memory
  • Inability to categorize objects (Categorization)
 
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

BRAIN STEM

Deep in the brain, leading to the spinal cord.
FUNCTIONS
  • Breathing
  • Heart Rate
  • Swallowing
  • Reflexes to seeing and hearing (Startle Response)
  • Controls sweating, blood pressure, digestion, temperature (Autonomic Nervous System)
  • Affects level of alertness
  • Ability to sleep
  • Sense of balance (Vestibular Function)
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech
  • Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia) 
  • Problems with balance and movement
  • Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo)
  • Sleeping difficulties (e.g., Insomnia, sleep apnea)
 
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.
 

CEREBELLUM

Located at the base of the skull, the 'hindbrain' has two major functions, as a timer of movement, and of motor learning.
FUNCTIONS
  • Coordination of voluntary movement
  • Balance and equilibrium
  • Some memory for reflex motor acts
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF INJURY
  • Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements
  • Loss of ability to walk
  • Inability to reach out and grab objects
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness (Vertigo)
  • Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech)
  • Inability to make rapid movements
 
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.