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- Overview of the functions of the cerebral cortex
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And then finally we have the temporal lobe, which I'll draw in violet right here. The frontal lobe is comprised of two main regions. Those include the motor strip or the motor cortex, as well as the prefrontal cortex. The motor cortex or the motor strip is responsible for our body movements. In fact, if you could peel back someone's skull and electrically stimulate different areas of the motor cortex, you could make someone's hand twitch or their leg move just by stimulating that area on their brain. The frontal lobe also contains the prefrontal cortex, and this is the part of the brain that's responsible for what we refer to as executive functions.
Things like thinking and problem solving all take place in the prefrontal cortex.
Not only that, but it also helps to supervise and direct all of the other areas of our brain. Another part of the frontal lobe that's worth mentioning is referred to as Broca's area. And this is a part of the brain that's associated with speech production. Let's move on to this yellowish-orange portion here, which we said was the parietal lobe.
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And this part of the cerebral cortex is also important for a number of different tasks. One important part of the parietal lobe is the somatosensory cortex. And this is the part of your brain that's associated with feeling. And by that I don't mean emotional feeling. What I actually mean is that this part of the brain receives information from all over your body about touch, and pressure, and temperature, and pain.
So the motor cortex would help us reach forward and grab a cup of coffee, but the somatosensory cortex is what would allow us to feel the pressure of that coffee cup or tell us how hot it is. And you might be thinking to yourself that these two things seem like they're intimately related, and they are.
In fact, even though we say that they're in different lobes of the brain, they're actually right next to each other. So this side of the brain, to this side of the crevice, within the frontal lobe is the motor cortex.
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And right next to it, in the parietal portion towards the back, is the somatosensory cortex. And together they can be thought about as the sensorimotor cortex.
Our parietal lobe is also responsible for spatial processing, or spatial manipulation. And by that I mean that it helps to orient yourself in three-dimensional space. But this part of the brain doesn't only help us understand where we are in space, but it helps us to understand the space around us more generally. For example, if I wanted to reach out and grab a cup of coffee that's in front of me, I could use my prefrontal cortex to plan the movement and my motor cortex to complete that movement, but I also need my parietal cortex to tell me where that coffee cup is in front of me. And without that, I wouldn't actually be able to reach out and pick it up.
Overview of the functions of the cerebral cortex
Other things like knowing how to navigate around your house or your town, that's also what we mean when we talk about spatial manipulation or spatial processing. Our occipital lobe, which is in the back of our brain, is responsible for things related to vision. We may see with our eyes that are in the front of our head, but after collecting that information from the world around us, that information actually gets transported all the way to the back of our brain for processing. So let's put vision right here. Another term that you might hear in association with the occipital lobe is the term striate cortex.
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And this simple refers to the fact that if you looked at the occipital lobe under the microscope, if you looked at those cells, that they would appear striped or striated. The last lobe of the brain is the temporal cortex, and that's in violet. And this is the part of the brain that's responsible for auditory processing.