Welcome to our guided tour of the human brain. Today we will take a walk through a giant brain and discuss its various functions and parts. There are markers on the walls for the parts of our discussion highlights. Pay attention for these markers which will be located at the Cerebral Cortex, Right and Left Hemispheres, Lobes of the Brain (including Frontal, Parietal, Temporal, and Occipital), Corpus Callosum, and the Structures of the Brain (Forebrain, Midbrain, Hindbrain).
First we will begin our tour at the spinal cord which is responsible for transmitting information between the brain and the rest of the body. Since it handles simple reflexes, we can pull on the nerve endings and parts of the body will move as we act as a message from the brain. Next we move on to the brain stem which helps regulate reflex activities critical to survival. Right now we are walking through the part of the brain stem that tells the body to breathe. Next we move on to the reticular formation which screens incoming sensory information and controls arousal.
Make a right here. Now we are in the Cerebellum. The Cerebellum coordinates fine muscle movement, balance, and some perception and cognition. This is part of the hindbrain along with the medulla and pons. Let’s move upward through a maze of tissue that will take us to the thalamus which relays sensory messages to the cortex. Above the thalamus is the Corpus callosum which is a thick band of axons connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.
Let’s move up and to the left. Now we find the Forebrain which is a combination of the upper-level structures. Please take note that this is the largest and most prominent part of the human brain. The thalamus (which we’ve already visited), hypothalamus, limbic system, and cerebral cortex are all a part of this structure. Most of which are located directly above the spinal cord. We can now move to the left part of the forebrain where we will find the cerebral cortex. This is the thin outer layer responsible for most complex behaviors and higher mental processes.
The Amygdala is part of the limbic system involved in aggression and fear. It is part of the forebrain. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating emotions and drives such as hunger and thirst. Last but not least the midbrain helps coordinate movement patterns, sleep, and arousal. Thank you for touring the human brain with us and that concludes our tour. You may exit through the spinal cord where we entered at.
Huffman, Karen (2008). A tour through the brain. Psychology in Action, Eight Edition, In Modules. 2008.