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Brain Structure and Function. “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t” -Emerson Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values (1977). The Brain. Brainstem responsible for automatic survival functions Medulla

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“If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t”

-Emerson Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values (1977)

the brain
The Brain
  • Brainstem
    • responsible for automatic survival functions
  • Medulla
    • controls heartbeat and breathing
parts of the brain
Parts of the Brain

BRAINSTEM Heart rate and breathing


 Relays






 Coordination

and balance

the cerebellum
The Cerebellum
  • helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance
the limbic system
The Limbic System
  • Hypothalamus, pituitary, amygdala, and hippocampus all deal with basic drives, emotions, and memory
  • Hippocampus  Memory processing
  • Amygdala  Aggression (fight) and fear (flight)
  • Hypothalamus  Hunger, thirst, body temperature, pleasure; regulates pituitary gland (hormones)
the limbic system1
The Limbic System
  • Hypothalamus
    • neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus; directs several maintenance activities
      • eating
      • drinking
      • body temperature
    • helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland
    • linked to emotion
    • (show video)
the limbic system2
The Limbic System
  • Amygdala
    • two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion and fear
the cerebral cortex
The Cerebral Cortex
  • Cerebral Cortex
    • the body’s ultimate control and information processing center
the lobes of the cerebral hemispheres1
The lobes of the cerebral hemispheres

Planning, decision making speech




the cerebral cortex1
The Cerebral Cortex
  • Frontal Lobes
    • involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments
    • the “executive”
  • Parietal Lobes
    • include the sensory cortex
the cerebral cortex2
The Cerebral Cortex
  • Occipital Lobes
    • include the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field
  • Temporal Lobes
    • include the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear
the cerebral cortex3
The Cerebral Cortex
  • Frontal (Forehead to top)  Motor Cortex
  • Parietal (Top to rear)  Sensory Cortex
  • Occipital (Back)  Visual Cortex
  • Temporal (Above ears)  Auditory Cortex
our divided brains
Our Divided Brains
  • Corpus collosum – large bundle of neural fibers (myelinated axons, or white matter) connecting the two hemispheres
hemispheric specialization
Hemispheric Specialization


Symbolic thinking



Literal meaning


Spatial perception

Overall picture

Context, metaphor

contra lateral division of labor
Contra-lateral division of labor
  • Right hemisphere controls left side of body and visual field
  • Left hemisphere controls right side of body and visual field
the five major senses
The five major senses
  • Vision – electromagnetic
    • Occipital lobe
  • Hearing – mechanical
    • Temporal lobe
  • Touch – mechanical
    • Sensory cortex
  • Taste – chemical
    • Gustatory insular cortex
  • Smell – chemical
    • Olfactory bulb
    • Orbitofrontal cortex
    • Vomeronasal organ?