A2  The Human Brain

big ninja

Essential Idea:

The parts of the brain

specialise in different functions


  • The anterior part of the neural tube expands to form the brain
  • Different parts of the brain have specific roles
  • The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary processes in the body using centres located mainly in the brainstem
  • The cerebral cortex forms a larger proportion of the brain and is more highly developed in humans than other animals
  • The human cerebral cortex has become enlarged principally by an increase in total area with extensive folding to accommodate it within the cranium
  • The cerebral hemispheres are responsible for higher order functions
  • The left cerebral hemisphere receives sensory inputs from sensory receptors in the right side of the body and the right side of the visual field in both eyes and vice versa for the right hemisphere
  • The left cerebral hemisphere controls muscle contraction in the right side of the body and vice versa for the right hemisphere
  • Brain metabolism requires large energy inputs


  • Visual cortex, Broca’s area, nucleus accumbens as areas of the brain with specific functions
  • Swallowing, breathing and heart rate as examples of activities coordinated by the medulla
  • Use of the pupil reflex to evaluate brain damage
  • Use of animal experiments, autopsy, lesions and fMRI to identify the role of different brain parts


  • Identification of parts of the brain in a photograph, diagram or scan of the brain
  • Analysis of correlations between body size and brain size in different animals