Lobes of the Brain: Structures, Positions and Functions

Do you know the structures and functions of our brain? In this article, we will discuss the major brain structures and the different functions of the lobes of brain.

As the most complex organ in the body, the brain is composed of 50 to 100 billion neurons. The cerebral cortex is the most important part of the brain that makes human beings unique. It is the outermost portion of the brain. The cerebral cortex has a number of bumps and grooves known as gyri and sulci. These bumps and grooves can increase the surface area of the cerebral cortex.

Medical experts usually divide the cerebral cortex into four lobes (see image below): frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. They are large areas of the brain with different positions and functions. These functions range from reasoning, language, to auditory perception.

 

Lobes of the Brain
Lobes of the Brain

Position of Four Lobes of the Brain

The cerebral cortex can be divided into four sections: the frontal, occipital, temporal, and parietal lobes. They have different locations and functions.

The frontal lobe is located in the front part of the brain. It is the largest lobe in healthy human brains. The frontal lobe extends back to a fissure called the central sulcus, which separates the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe.

The parietal lobe is located in the middle section of the brain above the occipital lobe and behind the frontal lobe.

Temporal Lobe is located below the parietal and occipital lobes, on the bottom of the brain below the lateral fissure. There are two temporal lobes close to the ears on both sides of the brain.

The occipital lobe is located above the temporal lobe and beneath the parietal lobe. It is located in the region of the cerebral cortex, sits at the back portion of the brain.

Functions of Lobes of the Brain

1. Frontal lobe

The frontal lobe is the emotional control center of the brain. It can receive information signals from other lobes of the brain. The frontal lobe has many advanced functions in the brain. This lobe is associated with motor skills, cognition, reasoning, expressive language, and regulating social behavior.

In addition, the frontal lobe also contains most of the neurons that are sensitive to dopamine. Dopamine is a special neurotransmitter that allows you to feel pleasure, attention, planning, and feelings of reward.

Other functions of the frontal lobe include:

  • Attention, cognition, and problem-solving
  • Language and personality expression
  • Planning, reasoning, and judgment
  • Concentrate and control attention
  • Regulating emotions and impulse control
  • Motor skill development and sequencing of complex movements
  • Personality expression and social behaviors control
  • Predict the consequences of behavior
  • Process memory from the limbic system and retain long-term memory
  • Impulse control, regulating attention

Since the frontal lobe is located at the front of the skull, it is more likely to be injured than other brain lobes. Damage to the frontal lobe can lead to personality changes, and patients often have difficulty controlling their emotions, sexual impulses, and risk-taking behaviors.

Because the frontal lobe has the function of regulating behavior and decision-making, people with damaged frontal lobe may not be able to regulate social behavior normally. In some cases, they are often unable to make the right choice. They may suffer from difficulties with symptoms of ADHD, planning, and problems with executive function.

2. The parietal lobe

Although it is the smallest lobe of the brain, the parietal lobe plays an important role in sensory perception and integration. The parietal lobe helps integrate sensory information including pressure, pain, touch, and temperature.

Without the parietal lobe, you can still receive the information from your ears, eyes, and other sensory organs. But you might not be able to make sense of the information or meaning to it.

Some other functions of the parietal lobe include:

  • Touch perception includes feeling pain, temperature, and pressure
  • Identify different objects while touching them
  • Visual perception and information processing
  • Coordinate eye and hand movements
  • Cognition and language processing
  • Spatial reasoning as the different regions of the parietal lobe can help “map” different locations
  • Understanding numbers and identify the relationship between them

Although the parietal lobe is the smallest lobe of the brain, it is very important for information processing. Damage to the parietal lobe can result in language and perception disorders. It may also lead to problems with reading, writing, spatial reasoning, and understanding symbols.

3. The temporal lobe

Temporal Lobe plays a key role in auditory processing, including receiving sound signals and processing the meaning of signals.

In addition, the temporal lobe is also responsible for converting short-term memories in the hippocampus and amygdala into long-term memories and processing new information with them.

There are some other functions of the temporal lobe include:

  • Recognizing language including understanding and interpret the language
  • Regulating unconscious emotional
  • Process and store visual memories
  • Assigning meaning to visual, smells, sounds, and memories
  • Maintain homeostases, such as temperature and heart rate

Temporal lobe damage can lead to obstacles to understanding and production of language. Some injuries can also cause difficulty in processing visual perception, long-term memory problems, and personality changes.

4. The occipital lobe

The occipital lobe is the brain’s processing hub responsible for processing visual information. The study found that visual processing is the most significant function of the occipital lobe.

There are some other functions of the occipital lobe include:

  • Visual and navigation processing
  • Motion, location, and spatial perception
  • Color recognition

The occipital lobe is usually not easily damaged due to the protection of the skull. However, in some cases, occipital lobe damage can cause various visual problems including hallucinations, inability to recognize colors, and difficulty in understanding language. In severe cases, even if the eyes and related nerves are intact, damage to the occipital lobe may cause blindness.

5. The limbic lobe

Although some textbooks refer to the limbic lobe as a unique lobe of the brain, many medical experts still regard it as a group of organs that intersect with various regions of the brain. The limbic lobe surrounds the thalamus and located deep in the brain.

The limbic lobe is an evolutionarily older part of the brain that manages instinctive and unconscious emotions. It can collect information from the environment and send signals to the brain to help the brain process emotions.

In addition, the limbic system also contains many sub-organs, such as the hippocampus and amygdala. They are usually related to the function of the endocrine system. Therefore, the emotional response that affects the limbic system can also cause abnormalities in other parts of the body.

Other functions of the limbic lobes include:

  • Coordinate spatial memory and social skills
  • Deal with memory fragments
  • Regulates attention and mood
  • Coordinate the body’s emergency response
  • Regulate appetite and libido

Injuries to the marginal lobes can cause functional diseases in other parts of the body, which require a detailed diagnosis.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed in detail the four lobes of the brain and their functions. Understanding this information can help you better understand our brains. If you experience certain symptoms mentioned in the article, seek medical help immediately.

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