5.8.7Locate and state the functions of the regions of the human brain



Brainstem – Uppermost part of the spine, where the spine joins the brain.


Medulla – controls vital ‘housekeeping’ functions, such as heartbeat, blood pressure and peristalsis.

Cerebellum – controls muscle co-ordination & learns motor programmes (e.g. like how to ride a bike, or write).


Thalamus – a relay station that carries sensory information from the sense organs to the correct part of the cortex and hypothalamus. The thalamus contains the Superior Collicului, which control the initial processing of visual information. The Superior Colliculi control object tracking, spatial position and partial recognition (i.e. whether a stimulus is food or a threat).

Hypothalamus – receives sensory information from the thalamus. Contains homeostatic centres, which control factors like body temperature and blood osmolarity. The hypothalamus is connected to the Pituitary gland and therefore the hypothalamus can stimulate the release of a great number of pituitary hormones.


Cortex – processes sensory information and controls the body’s voluntary behaviour,

i.e. learning, personality and memory. This is the part of the brain that actually “thinks.” The cortex is very large in humans and is folded to increase the surface area further. Other animals have roughly similar size hind- and midbrains. However, their cortex is much, much smaller.

Occipital lobe – processes & interprets information from the eyes


Temporal lobe – processes & interprets information from the ears and processes language and the meaning of words

Parietal lobe – processes and interprets information about touch, taste, pressure, pain, heat and cold. Also initiates motor commands.

Frontal lobe – plans and organises thought, is involved with short term memory and puts speech together.