Did you know our brain is broken up into 3 major components? Within these components they’re even divided into more sections, each with an important job of the body. The brain is the most important organ in our body aside from our heart. To name a few it is what allows us to move, to breathe, to talk, to remember, to think! Without it functioning properly, we would literally in some cases be just like a “vegetable.” Our brain is composed of three major components: 1) cerebrum, 2) cerebellum, and 3) brain stem.
The cerebrum’s major function is to generate our thoughts and controls our movement. Also known as the cerebral cortex, if you could open your skull and look at what lies underneath, that big wrinkly pinkish grey matter that’s there would be the cerebrum, better pictured as a walnut as many would say. Now, in order for our brain to help control and regulate our bodily functions, it would need small specific areas of the brain specialized in those departments, hence the cerebrum itself is divided into 2 sides, the left and the right hemisphere. Moreover, the left hemisphere is believed to be more influential in reasoning and science while the right hemisphere is believed to be the artistic and imaginative side. Furthermore, it’s also known the left side of our brain controls our right side of the body while the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. Not only is the cerebrum divided into 2 hemispheres, it’s also divided into lobes – the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes. The frontal lobe is responsible for voluntary muscle movement, emotional reactions and expressions. In the parietal lobe on the other hand, positioned posterior to the frontal lobe, its responsible for the integrating sensory information from the various parts of the body. In other words, it helps us process touch and taste. Next is the occipital lobe, located posterior to the temporal and parietal lobes. This is the brain’s visualizing center, taking in sensory information from our eyes and processes it. The last lobe is the temporal lobe, located inferior to the rest of the lobes, it’s involved in the auditory processing as well as speech and memory.
The second major component of the brain is the cerebellum. It is a fist-sized structure located posterior to the temporal lobe and inferior to the occipital lobe; its function involves processing motor and coordination control as well sensory perception. Though small, don’t let its small size fool you. Compared to the rest of the brain, the cerebellum contains more neurons than all the rest of the brain combined! Not to mention it is the most active mechanism and therefore, acting like a supercomputer, process whatever information it receives from other parts of the brain quickly. It’s also been said that the cerebellum creates automatic programs in which complex movements can be made easily. In other words, by repeating a certain sequence of movements over and over again, i.e. exercising, these movements can be made easier with greater speed and accuracy (i.e. as you exercise you get better at form). Same goes for the mental rehearsal of motor tasks i.e. studying, recalling memories, etc.
The last and third major component of the brain is the brain stem. The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord and is composed of another 3 structures: the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. Critical for our survival, the brain stem controls and contains automatic functions such as the beating of our heart and our breathing. Since it’s responsible for the basic life functions mentioned, “scientists say that this would be the “simplest” part of our brain, because animals’ entire brains such as reptiles resemble our brain stems,” (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/Structure1.html#brainstem). All the more evidence in why its factual that we, humans, are the most complex creatures on the planet.