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Cerebrum
Next Generation: MS.LS1.8 MS.LS1.8

Cerebrum

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This lesson will examine the structure and function of the cerebrum and will investigate what affects our levels of consciousness and how we store and retrieve memories.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to this lesson today on the cerebrum. Today, you will be learning about the structure and function of the cerebrum and the roles that it plays in emotion, consciousness, and memory. Specifically, you will look at:

  1. Cerebrum Structure
  2. Cerebrum Function
  3. Consciousness
  4. Stability
  5. Emotions & Memory

1.Cerebrum Structure

Term to Know

    • Cerebrum
    • A part of the brain located in the forebrain that processes incoming sensory input.

The brain is composed of three sections, the midbrain, forebrain, and hindbrain. The cerebrum is found in our forebrain and it's composed of two cerebral hemispheres.

Take a look at this diagram below to see our two hemispheres of the cerebrum.

The two hemispheres are connected by a band of nerves, called the corpus callosum; the corpus callosum not only connects the two hemispheres of the brain together but is also how each hemisphere communicates with one another.

Term to Know

    • Corpus Callosum
    • A band of nerve tracts that connects the hemispheres of the cerebrum.

Did You Know

An interesting fact is that any sensory information detected by the left side of your body will be interpreted by the right side of your cerebrum and vice versa. If you were to touch a hot stove with you right hand, the left side of your cerebrum would be the side you would process that information on.


2. Cerebrum Function

The cerebrum is responsible largely for processing information and it's composed of an outer layer of gray matter, called the cerebral cortex. The outer layer of gray matter-- referred to as the cerebral cortex-- is divided into three areas, motor areas, sensory areas, and association areas.

Terms to Know

    • Cerebral Cortex
    • The outer layer of the cerebrum that deals with conscious behaviors.
    • Motor Areas
    • Areas of the cerebral cortex that control voluntary movements.
    • Sensory Areas
    • Areas of the cerebral cortex that interpret the meaning of sensations.
    • Association Areas
    • Areas of the cerebral cortex that processes information and works to produce an action.

Motor areas of the cerebral cortex control our voluntary movements while sensory areas of our cerebral cortex interpret the meaning of different sensations that we experience. Association areas of the cerebral cortex process information to produce some sort of action; think of these as a mix of sensory and motor areas.

Refer back to the image above to identify the different divisions of the cerebrum, the different lobes. You have the frontal lobe and the frontal lobe of our cerebrum is responsible for movements, memory, and behaviors. The parietal lobe is the green lobe and the parietal lobe is responsible for receiving and processing sensations from our internal organs. The occipital lobe is in purple and is responsible for vision while the temporal lobe plays a large role in hearing and visual processing.


3. Consciousness

Stages of consciousness depend on the activity our reticular formations; your reticular formations are basically a network of neurons that runs through our brain.Stages of consciousness can range from being fully alert, wide awake, to being on the extreme other end, in a coma.

Reticular formations receive and processes sensory information and then sends these signals to the thalamus of your brain, which then arouses the cerebral cortex. The combination of the reticular formations, the thalamus, and the cerebral cortex is called the reticular activating system. It will arouse the cerebral cortex and the amount of the cerebral cortex that it arouses, or that it stimulates, determines our level of consciousness; the more of it that it arouses the more conscious we are.

Term to Know

Consciousness

The level of alertness of the brain.

Term to Know

    • Reticular Activating System
    • A part of the reticular formation that plays a role in determining our level of consciousness.

4. Stability

Term to Know

    • Reticular Formation
    • A network of neurons that runs through the brain.

Another part of the reticular formation also helps to maintain our posture, balance, and filter incoming signals. Certain signals that come in that are unimportant, it allows us to not even have to worry about them or to be aware of them, so it filters what signals are important, what you need to be aware of, what you need to pay attention to, and what is unimportant.


5. Emotions & Memory

The limbic system is a system that controls your emotions and the limbic system is located in your upper brainstem and lower cerebrum. It includes parts of the thalamus, the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. This part of the brain controls our feelings and our emotions and some are behaviors associated with those emotions.

Term to Know

    • Limbic System
    • An area of the brain that controls emotions.

Memory also plays a role with the cerebrum and is a way in which your brain stores and retrieves information. There are two types of memory, short term memory and long term memory. As the name suggests, long term memory is a more permanent type of memory. And when memories are stored, generally only relevant information is stored. Information that is irrelevant is then forgotten. It's not necessary to be stored.

Two types of memory that can be stored are declarative and skill memory. Declarative memory are basically facts that are stored. You're able to store fact recall, such as dates, names, faces, odors, words-- anything along those lines.

Whereas skill memory is a type of memory that's gained by practice. It's something that involves a motor skill.

Terms to Know

Memory

The way in which the brain is able to store and retrieve information.

Short Term Memory

Information that is stored for a short period of time.

Long Term Memory

Information that is stored more permanently.

ExampleIf you're an ice skater, the tricks that you can do while you're ice skating-- if you practice them over and over and over again--create a form of memory in your brain. It's a type of memory that's gained by practice and that involves a motor skill. Whereas, again, declarative memory is more of a fact recall.

There are links between memory storage and the different parts of your brain, like the cerebral cortex, the limbic system, the thalamus, and the hypothalamus.

ExampleFor example, a connection between memory in the limbic system would be, if there's a certain smell that reminds you of a certain memory. Every time you smell the specific smell, it makes you think of something else.

IN CONTEXT

Every time you smell blueberry muffins, it reminds you of being at your grandma's house when you were little. This is associating memory with some sort of emotional connection with the limbic system.


Summary

So this lesson has been an overview on the structure and function of the cerebrum, as well as an overview on consciousness, stability, emotions, and memory.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Motor Areas

    Areas of the cerebral cortex that control voluntary movements.

  • Cerebrum

    A part of the brain located in the forebrain that processes incoming sensory input.

  • Cerebral Cortex

    The outer layer of the cerebrum that deals with conscious behaviors.

  • Sensory Areas

    Areas of the cerebral cortex that interpret the meaning of sensations.

  • Association Areas

    Areas of the cerebral cortex that processes information and works to produce an action.

  • Limbic System

    An area of the brain that controls emotions.

  • Conciousness

    The level of alertness of the brain.

  • Reticular Formation

    A network of neurons that runs through the brain.

  • Reticular Activating System

    A part of the reticular formation that plays a role in determining  our level of consciousness.

  • Memory

    The way in which the brain is able to store and retrieve information.

  • Short Term Memory

    Information that is stored for a short period of time.

  • Long Term Memory

    Information that is stored more permanently.

  • Corpus Callosum

    A band of nerve tracts that connects the hemispheres of the cerebrum.