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The Brain. Module 8. Lower-Level Brain Structures. The Lower Brain. Regulates basic functions such as breathing. Cerebral cortex covers the lower brain like bark. (Cortex means “bark”). The Brainstem.

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the brain

The Brain

Module 8

the lower brain
The Lower Brain
  • Regulates basic functions such as breathing.
  • Cerebral cortex covers the lower brain like bark. (Cortex means “bark”)
the brainstem
The Brainstem
  • The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull.
  • The brainstem is responsible for automatic survival function.
  • Medulla: the base of the brainstem; controls life-support functions like heartbeat, circulation, swallowing and breathing.
  • Reticular Formation: a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling wakefulness and arousal.
  • The brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem
  • It directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex
the cerebellum
The Cerebellum
  • The “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem.
  • It helps coordinate voluntary movements and balance
  • Memories for knowing how to use your body for things like walking or playing the guitar.
the limbic system

The Limbic System

A ring of structures at of the border of the brain and the cerebral cortex.

It helps regulate important functions such as memory, fear, aggression, hunger, and thirst.

  • Part of the lower brain that regulates basic needs and emotions.
    • Needs:
      • Hunger & thirst
      • “Fight of flight” reaction to stress
      • Body temperature
    • Emotions:
      • Pleasure
      • Fear
      • Rage
      • Sexuality

Amygdula: two almond-shaped neural clusters in the limbic system that are linked to emotion

    • Fear
    • Anger
    • Aggression
  • Hippocmpus: A neural center located in the limbic system; it helps process new memories for permanent storage.
the cerebral cortex

The Cerebral Cortex

The intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that form the cerebral hemispheres; the body’s ultimate control and information-processing center.

cerebral cortex
Cerebral Cortex
  • The outer most layer of the brain
  • Controls high level mental processes such as thought
  • Size: Large bath towel
  • Trillions of computers do not equal our brain power
longitudinal fissure
Longitudinal Fissure
  • The long crack running all the way from the front to the back of the cerebral cortex, separating the left and right hemispheres.
  • One have of the cerebral cortex
  • Each half controls the opposite side of the body
  • Fissure: a depression marking off an area of the cerebral cortex
  • Corpus Callosum: a large bundle of nerve fibers that transfer information from one half of the cerebral cortex to the other
    • Several million nerve fibers
the lobes
The Lobes
  • Major divisions of the cerebral cortex
  • Frontal Lobe: Contains the motor cortex, prefrontal area, and frontal association area.
    • Involved in making plans and judgments
    • Motor Cortex: Controls all bodily movements. (Motor functions)
  • Parietal Lobe: Contains the sensory cortex and general association areas used for processing information.
    • Somatosensory Cortex: Registers and provides all sensation.
frontal lobe
Frontal Lobe
  • Functions
    • “see” or be aware of ourselves when we remember things we have done.
    • Coming up with strategies or plans of action
    • Makes sense of our environment
frontal lobe1
Frontal Lobe
  • Prefrontal Area: part of the frontal lobe that enables us to re-experience personal past events
  • Frontal Association Area: part of the frontal lobe that engages in elaborate associations or mental connections.
    • Plays an important part in integration personality and in forming complex thoughts.
the lobes1
The Lobes
  • Occipital Lobe: Division of the cerebral cortex that interprets visual information. (back of the brain)
  • Temporal Lobe: Division of the cerebral cortex responsible for hearing and some speech functions.
hemispheres and handiness
Hemispheres and Handiness
  • Dominance: Control either the right or left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex is dominate in each individual; hence, one of them is preferred and controls the majority of actions performed
    • Small fine motor movements
  • Left Hemisphere
    • Speech
    • Language
    • Logic
    • Writing
  • Right Hemisphere
    • Spatial Reasoning
    • Art
    • Music
    • Emotions
    • Mathematical reasoning
  • Broca’s Area: a brain area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.
  • Wernicke’s Area: a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe.


The brain’s capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage.

  • II II


  • Good after noon
  • He’s beside himself
  • Circles under the eyes
why are some people better than others at solving these kinds of puzzles
Why are some people better than others at solving these kinds of puzzles?
  • Thicker and more efficient corpus callosum.
  • One hemisphere does not dominate over the other.