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In Depth: Inner Brain 1

The cerebrum is the largest section of the brain and has a thickly ‘wrinkled’ appearance on its surface. The cerebrum is the command center of high-level brain functions, including cognition, speech, and interpretive processing of the information provided by the body’s senses.

It is divided equally front to back into the left and right hemispheres (halves). These are each divided into four lobes: the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital. The lobes and hemispheres specialize in different portions of the cerebrum's job though tasks often overlap.

The wrinkled outer portion is known as the cerebral cortex. This is where most of the brain activity occurs. It is made of nerve tissue called gray matter.

The ridges and valleys on the exterior are known as gyri and sulci. In the limited space of the skull, they give the cerebrum the space needed to perform so many functions.


The cerebellum is attached to the brain stem behind and below the cerebrum. It is largely responsible for making the body’s movements more precise.

Like the cerebrum, it is divided into hemispheres and then lobes. The hemispheres each have an anterior and posterior lobe. A third lobe, the flocculonodular lobe, is underneath these. Its primary responsibility is balance and spatial orientation.

Brain Stem:

The brain stem governs many of the body’s involuntary functions. It is also the junction between the two sides of the brains, including the four lobes. It is also adjacent to (near) the pons and the medulla oblongata.

The pons is the large rounded portion below and in front of the cerebrum. It is one of the connection points in the brain, linking cerebrum and cerebellum. Its name is Latin for “bridge.”

Below the pons is the medulla oblongata, the primary control center for involuntary functions, including the heartbeat and breathing.


Cranial nerves include those that handle sensory input from the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and other parts of the head as well as nerves that control the movement of these.

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