The Structure of the Brain

  • Created by: Em
  • Created on: 05-03-16 07:44

The Hindbrain

  • Is the area of the brain around the base of the brain and around the brain stem
  • The structures found in the midbrain control and influence some motor functions and vital responses (like breathing and sleep)
  • The medulla, pons and cerebellum are all part of the hindbrain


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Medulla (part of the hindbrain)

  • Continutation of the spinal cord 
  • Some parts of the medulla are involved in touch, pressure and vibration
  • Damage to the medulla is often fatal 
  • Controls bodily functions such as: 
    • Swallowing 
    • Breathing 
    • Heart rate 
    • Blood pressure 
    • Salivating 
    • Coughing and Sneezing 
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Pons (part of the hindbrain)

  • Is found above the medulla
  • Involved in sleep, dreaming and waking from sleep
  • Helps to control breathing and some muscle movement 
  • Also serves a 'bridge' relaing messages between:
    • The cerebral cortex and the cerebellum 
    • The medulla and the midbrain
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Cerebellum (part of the hindbrain)

  • Coordinates fine muscle movement 
  • Involved in learning and memory associated with movement 
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The Midbrain

  • Is found in the middle of the brain 
  • Connects the upper and lower brain areas
  • Consists of a collection of structures involved in:
    • Movement 
    • Processing visual (sight), auditory (hearing) and tactile (touch) sensory information
  • The reticular formation is part of the midbrain
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Reticular Formation (part of the midbrain)

  • Runs though the centre of the midbrain and hindbrain and continues upward
  • Is a network of neurons that are bunched together as thick as your middle finger
  • Helps to screen incoming information so as not to overload the brain 
  • Helps maintain consciousness
  • Regulates arousal (not sexual arousal) and muscle tone 
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The Forebrain

  • The forebrain controls various aspects of emotion and personality
  • Parts of the forebrain regulate complex cognitive processes:
    • Thinking 
    • Learning 
    • Memory 
    • Perception 
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Hypothalamus (part of the forebrain)

  • The hypothalamus is around the size of a sultana or small grape
  • It regulates the release of hormones from various glands in the body through its control of the pituitary gland 
  • Also influences behaviours associated with basic biological needs (thirst, hunger, sleep)
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Thalamus (part of the forebrain)

  • Consists of two parts that are oval shaped
  • There is one in each hemisphere 
  • Filters information from all the sense receptor sites (except the nose) and passes it on to the relevant area of the brain
  • Appears to play a role in attention
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Cerebrum (part of the forebrain)

  • Located in front and above the cerebellum
  • Occupies the most space in the forebrain 
  • Consists of an outer cerebral cortex
  • The cerebrum and cerebral cortex are primarily responsible for almost everything we consciously think, feel and do
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Corpus Callosum (part of the forebrain)

  • Is a band of 200 million nerve fibres 
  • Connects the 2 hemispheres of the brain 
  • Its main function is to enable the transfer of information from one hemisphere to the other 
  • The gap between the hemispheres is called the longitudinal fissure 
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Cerebral Cortex (part of the forebrain)

  • Is the cerebrum's outer layer of neural tissue
  • Consists of masses of neural tissue where neurons form connections with other neurons and recieve and process incoming and outgoing information
  • Processes incoming sensory information 
  • Involved in the planning and control of voluntary bodily movements
  • Involved with the more complex mental abilities such as:
    • Perception
    • Learning 
    • Memory 
    • Language 
    • Thinking 
    • Problem solving 
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