So, how does the brain work exactly? This may sound like a loaded question, but there’s a way to break it down. One of the common analogies that people make to the brain is that it works like a computer. Information goes in and then gets processed, resulting in a wide range of actions. Let’s look at the distinct sections of the brain for more clarity.
The Cerebral Cortex
This is the largest part of the brain and can be classified into four areas. The frontal lobe helps with language and reasoning, as well as social expressions and motor skills. The parietal lobe is responsible for processing sensations such as pain and touch. The occipital lobe interprets everything that we see with our eyes, so it’s activated during activities such as reading and watching a show. Finally, the temporal lobe is what allows us to form memories and process sounds.
This region is located in the lower part of the brain and contains the majority of our neurons, even though it’s a small area. The cerebellum controls balance, movement, and posture.
The Emotional Brain
The limbic system is often referred to as the emotional brain because it controls our emotional responses. This is where you can find the amygdala, which processes fear and memory. The hippocampus sits here and helps with short-term memory and learning. The hypothalamus regulates our pituitary gland, hunger, and circadian rhythm. The thalamus is the “gray area” that controls taste, touch, sight, and hearing.
The brain stem sits under the limbic system and controls things such as blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. The entire brain needs a steady supply of blood to get enough oxygen, glucose, and nutrients so that it can function properly. Each system in the brain is continuously working to help us go through our day and process information.