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4 Tutorials that teach Cerebral Cortex: Right and Left Brain
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Cerebral Cortex:  Right and Left Brain

Cerebral Cortex: Right and Left Brain

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Author: Kelly Nordstrom
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This lesson will identify, and differentiate the lobes and hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.

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Tutorial

This tutorial will discuss the structure of the brain by focusing on:

  1. Cerebral Cortext
  2. Hemispheres of the Brain
  3. Lobes of the Cerebral Cortext

1. CEREBRAL CORTEXT

The cerebral cortex is probably the most recognizable part of the brain itself. The outer layer which consists of different kinds of wrinkles, little folds and bumps that are all put together of gray and sometimes some white matter, is what we call the cerebral cortex, this outer layer of itself.

This cerebral cortex area that's outside of the brain is responsible for most of the recognizable aspects of a person's mind, things like personality, thought, language, the storage of memory, movement, and our senses. All these things are related to the cerebral cortex.

Term to Know

    • Cerebral Cortex
    • The outer layer of wrinkled grey matter on the outside of the brain, responsible for a person’s personality, thought, language, storage of memory, movement, and senses.

Humans have a very developed cerebral cortex compared to a lot of other animals, which is why we're considered to be more intelligent and aware of those animals. It's important to note that humans don't have the largest brains out of every animal. That would be the whale, which is a much bigger animal, and so as a result, it has a much bigger brain.

Did You Know

Humans do not have the most wrinkled or defined cerebral cortex. The dolphin has a bit more of a larger, more developed cerebral cortex.


2. HEMISPHERES OF THE BRAIN

If you were to look at the brain from the top, you would see that the brain, or the cerebral cortex specifically, is divided into two halves. The left hemisphere and the right hemisphere, with a little space in between. That space in between is called the medial longitudinal fissure.

The two sides of the brain are connected by a bundle of neurons in between that is shown here in red below. This is what we call the corpus callosum, that connecting area of the two hemispheres.


It is important to note that we have two different hemispheres, because it provides a sort of backup for any kind of brain function. There's always two of each structure, so if one of them has a problem, the other one can help out.

Terms to Know

    • Hemisphere
    • Half of the brain (left or right), divided by the longitudinal fissure; each hemisphere controls certain parts of the brain and can have certain specialized functions.
    • Corpus Callosum
    • A large bundle of neurons that joins the two hemispheres of the brain.

Each side of the brain is responsible for specific functions and generally relegated just to that side of the brain; this is called lateralization of function.

Did You Know

5% of people, might have the hemispheres switched over, or flip-flopped!

Generally, what is meant by lateralization of function, is that people are neither left brained or right brained as each side controls a different side of the body.

Your left brain actually controls the opposite side of your body. So you left brain sends signals to the right side of your body to move. Whereas the right side of your brain controls the left side of your body.

Example A stroke victim who's having trouble moving their right arm means the stroke damaged the left side of their brain.

Each side also controls different types of thinking. And to find this out, actually there were studies that were done with something called split-brain patients. And these are people that have their corpus callosum, that connecting part in the middle of their brain, severed.

The corpus callosum is cut mainly because of epilepsy. This is a procedure to help people who experience major epileptic seizures.

What did they discover when the corpus callosum was cut?Surprisingly, people act the same, because both eyes, when they're looking around stuff, can see what's happening around them which means both sides of the brain will also see and react in their normal ways.

However, if you show each eye a different image separately, you'll find that because that corpus callosum is severed, that eye is only responding to one part of the brain.

Example When the left hemisphere/right eye, was shown an object, a person with a severed corpus callosum could identify the object. However, if the right hemisphere/left eye, was shown an image, they couldn't actually say what that image was. Yet if they were asked to draw whatever came to their mind, they would draw the image that they saw.

The example above demonstrates that the left side of the brain is related to logic, language, coordination. It's the analytical side of the brain. That's what a left-brained person would be.

The right side of the brain is related to spatial, visual, or emotional sorts of things. This is the artistic or holistic side of the brain.


3.LOBES OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEXT

Each hemisphere, the left and the right, is divided further into four different lobes of the cerebral cortex. And each of these lobes is a specific or generally defined area of the cerebral cortex that's related to different kinds of functions of the brain.


The frontal lobe is related to higher-level thinking tasks. A sense of self, self-awareness, and personality. As well as movements. So this is an area of the brain that's very highly developed in humans.

Term to Know

    • Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex
    • Specific or generally defined areas of the cerebral cortex related to different functions.

The parietal lobe is the area that's related to sensory such as touch or temperature. The temporal lobe, is related to hearing and language. And finally, the occipital lobe is related to sight. So each part of the brain is divided first into two hemispheres, right and left, and then into four lobes-- frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital.

Summary

This tutorial focused on the cerebral cortext, the outer layer of wrinkled grey matter of the brain. The left and right hemispheres of the brain are responsible for specific behaviors. The left side is generally responsible for analytical situations, and the right side is responsible for spatial awareness. The lobes of the cerebral cortext are frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. The front lobe is related to higher level thinking such as self-awareness.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Cerebral Cortex

    The outer layer of wrinkled grey matter on the outside of the brain, responsible for a person’s personality, thought, language, storage of memory, movement, and senses.

  • Hemisphere

    Half of the brain (left or right), divided by the longitudinal fissure; each hemisphere controls certain parts of the brain and can have certain specialized functions.

  • Corpus Callosum

    A large bundle of neurons that joins the two hemispheres of the brain.

  • Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex

    Specific or generally defined areas of the cerebral cortex related to different functions.