The Three-Pound Ball of Fat That Controls Your Life!

The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, hunger, and every process that regulates your body.

The Brain

  • 1

    Cerebrum: This is the largest part of the brain, which is divided into left and right hemispheres. The cerebrum initiates and coordinates movement, regulates temperature, and enables speech, judgment, thinking and reasoning, problem solving, emotions, and learning.

  • 2

    Cerebral Cortex: This is your brain’s “gray matter”—the gray, wrinkled material that covers the cerebrum. The wrinkles increase the brain’s surface area, allowing the inclusion of more neurons. Different zones of the cerebral cortex have different functions.

Lifestyle Brain

Lobes of the Brain

  • 3

    Frontal Lobe: Responsible for personality characteristics, decision-making, and movement. It plays a role in the recognition of smell and is associated with speech ability.

  • 4

    Parietal Lobe: Responsible for identifying objects and understanding spatial relationships. It interprets touch and pain in the body and helps the brain understand language.

  • 5

    Occipital Lobe: Visual-processing center of the brain.

  • 6

    Temporal Lobe: Responsible for processing auditory information, speech, and musical rhythm and plays a role in smell recognition. The amygdala and hippocampus are located here and play a role in short-term memory production.

Lifestyle Brain

Other Interesting Facts

All your body’s tasks are coordinated, controlled, and regulated by the brain—an organ that is about the size of a small head of cauliflower.

The human brain begins to lose some memory abilities as well as some other cognitive skills by your late 20s!

Lifestyle Brain

Limbic System

  • 7

    Amygdala: Regulates emotions, such as fear and aggression. Also helps determine which memories to store based on a strong or weak emotional response to an event.

  • 8

    Hippocampus: Projects memories to cortical regions that give memories meaning and connect with other memories. New memories are encoded here.

  • 9

    Prefrontal Cortex: The “personality center” of the brain. Involved in many high-order cognitive processes, such as decision-making, reasoning, personality expression, and social cognition. Also involved in retaining memories.

  • 10

    Cerebellum: Coordinates voluntary movement and helps maintain posture, balance, and equilibrium. Responsible for processing procedural memories, such as playing the piano.

  • 11

    Brain Stem: Connects the brain to the spinal cord and sends messages between the brain and other parts of the body. Regulates many automatic body functions, like breathing or swallowing.

Lifestyle Brain

Neural Communication

Communication along neurons via neurotransmitters is critical for developing new memories. Repeated activity leads to an increase in neurotransmitters and more efficient connections. Strong emotions, for example, trigger the formation of strong memories.

  • 12

    Neurons: Nerve cells that provide efficient, very fast communication of information. Neurons can transmit information at up to 250 mph!

  • 13

    Neurotransmitters: Chemical signals that play a role in nearly every function in the human body.

  • 14

    Synapse: A small gap at the end of the neuron that allows a signal to pass from one neuron to the next.

Lifestyle Brain

Did You Know?

  • 3x

    The human brain grows to three times its size in the first year of life. Its initial size continues to grow until you’re 18!

  • Brain

    As you age, your brain naturally gets less nimble. Your ability to recall events in your life can decline, along with your cognitive ability.

  • Cells

    Cholesterol is key to learning and memory. However, high blood cholesterol has different effects depending on your age and other factors.

  • Neurons

    The human brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons. Information runs between neurons in your brain for everything we see, think, or do.

  • Gears of the brain

    It is a myth that we use only 10% of our brains. We actually use all of it. We’re even using more than 10% when we sleep.

The brain produces enough electricity to power a dimly lit light bulb. The cartoons are on to something!