Brain lobes: characteristics and functions

Brain lobes: characteristics and functions

All that we are is written right there, in this fascinating and complex organ that reflects our evolutionary success as a species.Of course, we are talking about the human brain and every function in our brain lobes. This is where our consciousness is established, that language and memory are articulated, that emotions are regulated …

Antonio Damasio, the famous Portuguese neurologist, explains in his bookSpinoza was right. Joy and sadness, the brain of emotions.that the brain is more than just a buildup of neurons. In fact, even the classic metaphor we do when comparing this organ to a computer is not accurate. The brain and each of its structures are the direct result of our constant interaction with the environment.

"The eye absorbs … The brain produces forms".

-Paul Cézanne-

We are what we see, how we feel, what we experience and how we react to each stimulus and circumstance. The brain is "shaping" with every experience andit is precisely the cerebral lobes that facilitate each process according to their characteristics.Identifying them and understanding each of the processes they perform will help us to have a richer and fuller view of the human brain.

Brain lobes and their functions

When we think of the lobes of the brain, we can make the mistake of imagining a series of separate or differentiated structures between them.It is important to note that there are no intermediate barriers and that the four large areas that configure the brain lobes are still working in harmony,connected and constantly sharing information.

Furthermore, the fact that each cerebral lobe has a series of unique characteristics does not mean that each structure almost exclusively "controls" a certain task.Many activities and processes are superimposed across the different brain regions.

Thus, the functioning of one region could not be done effectively without the presence of another. For this reason, sometimes the brain damage caused in a concrete area can be compensated by what other regions can bring, with more or less efficiency.

What's more, the researchers themselves often debate with each other about the precise point where one lobe begins and where another ends. On the other hand,one thing is very visible: the presence of two hemispheres, the right and the left.

Starting from this point, we can know thateach of the four lobes that conform the brain crosses both hemispheres.Neurologists therefore speak more specifically of the left frontal lobe, the right frontal lobe, and so on.Let's now study the characteristics of each brain lobe.

Frontal lobe

The frontal lobes are the essence of the result of our evolution. Located in the frontal part of the head, just below the frontal bones of the skull and near the forehead, they constitute the most refined region of our brain, the one that took the longest to appear and evolve. Thus, among the different tasks that this lobe can achieve, we find:

  • The production of language thanks to the Broca area,an exceptional region that allows us to translate our thoughts into words.
  • The frontal lobe is characterized above all by its cognitive processes, these sophisticated executive tasks that allow us to plan,to fix our attention, to memorize long-term data, to understand what we see, to regulate our emotions, etc.
  • It also allows us to understand the feelings of others and to react to them. We talk about empathy.
  • The regulation of motivation and the search for rewards:most brain-dopamine-sensitive neurons are in the frontal lobe.

Parietal lobe

  • The parietal lobe is located above the occipital lobe and behind the frontal lobe. It has multiple functions butif there is anything that defines this brain area, it is its role in sensory perception, spatial reasoning, body movement and our orientation.
  • It is also in this area that sensory information about the majority of our sensory organs is captured. This is where the sensation of pain, physical pressure, temperature, etc. are treated and regulated.
  • Otherwise,thanks to the parietal area, we can understand the nature of the figures.His relationship with mathematical skills is therefore very great.

Occipital lobe

Of the four brain lobes, the occipital lobe is the smallest. But it is not less interesting! It is near the neck and has no concrete function.The occipital lobe is a bit like a transit road on which the majority of our mental processes circulate, organize and connect.

  • He participates in the processes of perception and visual recognition.
  • The occipital lobe also plays a key role in everything related to our vision. Its cortex integrates different visual areas like the one that detects bosses, processes this information and sends it to other areas.
  • It helps us to differentiate colors.
  • He also participates in the elaboration of emotions and thoughts.

Temporal lobes

Almost glued to the temple and on both sides of our brain are these lobes that regulate a large amount of process.As we have seen so far, it is very difficult to associate a particular function with each of these structures. They all depend on each other, are connected to each other and favor that perfect harmony that allows the temporal lobes to perform essential tasks:

  • They help us recognize faces.
  • The lobes are related to the articulation of language and the understanding of sounds, voices and music.
  • They facilitate the balance.
  • They participate in the regulation of emotions such as motivation, rage, anxiety, pleasure …

The insular cortex

Throughout this article, we talked about our brain, which was organized into four lobes. Gold,from a neuro-anatomical point of view, numerous studies tell us about a fifth region.We are talking here about the insula, a lobe hidden just below the temporal, frontal and parietal lobes. It is a very small area, difficult to access, between different veins and arteries.

Its functions are not yet perfectly known. Nevertheless, various processes and alterations in patients with epilepsy and various damage to this structure have been observed.It would participate for example in the sense of taste, play a role in the visceral controland would be related to our emotional processes because it is also part of the limbic system.

To conclude, as we can see, the brain lobes create a fascinating map of processes and connections. It is difficult to establish functional boundaries between them.The most interesting of all is perhaps the frontal lobe because it takes care of these executive functionswhich presumably suppose an advance in our species. In fact, it is in this lobe that processes as important as stimulus planning or control take place.Be that as it may, we can not forget one essential thing: our brain continues to evolve …

What is the limbic system and how does it work?

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