The 3 Major Divisions of the Brain
Though our central nervous system is a complicated anatomical structure that controls our body and mind, it’s made up of two key areas: our brain and our spinal cord. Our brain is responsible for processing our thoughts, interpreting external and internal stimuli, and directing the rest of our body into action. These processes occur in one of the three major divisions of the brain, the forebrain, the midbrain, or the hindbrain.
The forebrain is the largest part of the brain and is made up of the cerebrum, the limbic system, the thalamus, and the hypothalamus. This is the largest section of the brain and contains the cerebral cortex. Our cerebrum is 85% of our total brain weight and performs most of our cognitive functions. This includes things like reasoning, logical deduction, thinking, memory, and learning. In addition, it coordinates physical behaviors such as movement, touch, smell, and speech. It also is responsible for regulating our emotions.
The midbrain sits between the hindbrain and the forebrain brain and makes up part of the brainstem. It connects the hindbrain to the forebrain, taking information from our peripheral nervous systems to the cerebrum where sensory information can be interpreted and stored. It’s responsible for motor movement functionality, particularly with eye movement, and processes both auditory and visual stimuli.
The hindbrain is composed of the cerebellum, the medulla oblongata, and the pons, which make up the rest of the brainstem. It is responsible for the physiological functions imperative to our survival, such as breathing and our heartbeat. In addition, it coordinates our balance, the sleep-wake cycle, digestion, swallowing, and temperature regulation.
Though we tend to think of our brain as a single organ, it has multiple layers and is made up of numerous parts. It’s by working together that we are able to think, feel, and take action in the world around us.