Brain Sections

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•  Different parts of the brain have specific roles

The human brain acts as an integration and coordination system for the control of body systems

  • It processes sensory information received from the body and relays motor responses to effector organ

The human brain is organised into clearly identifiable sections that have specific roles

  • The major external structures include the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and brainstem
  • Internal structures include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and corpus callosum

External Structures

Cerebral Cortex

  • The cerebral cortex is an outer layer of tissue organised into two cerebral hemispheres and composed of four distinct lobes
  • The frontal lobe controls motor activity and tasks associated with the dopamine system (memory, attention, etc.)
  • The parietal lobe is responsible for touch sensation (tactility) as well as spatial navigation (proprioception)
  • The temporal lobe is involved in auditory processing and language comprehension
  • The occipital lobe is the visual processing centre of the brain and is responsible for sight perception


  • The cerebellum appears as a separate structure at the base of the brain, underneath the cerebral hemispheres
  • It is responsible for coordinating unconscious motor functions – such as balance and movement coordination


  • The brainstem is the posterior part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord (which relays signals to and from the body) 
  • The brainstem includes the pons, medulla oblongata (often referred to as the medulla) and the midbrain
  • The brainstem (via the medulla) controls automatic and involuntary activities (breathing, swallowing, heart rate, etc.) 

External Structures of the Brain

brain sections

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•  Identification of parts of the brain in a photograph, diagram or scan of the brain

Internal Structures


  • The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that functions as the interface with the pituitary gland
  • As such, the hypothalamus functions to maintain homeostasis via the coordination of the nervous and endocrine systems
  • The hypothalamus also produces some hormones directly, which are secreted via the posterior pituitary (neurohypophysis)

Pituitary Gland

  • The pituitary gland is considered the ‘master’ gland – it produces hormones that regulate other glands and target organs
  • The anterior lobe is called the adenohypophysis and secretes hormones such as FSH, LH, growth hormone and prolactin
  • The posterior lobe is called the neurohypophysis and secretes hormones such as ADH and oxytocin

Corpus Callosum

  • The corpus callosum is a bundle of nerve fibres that connects the two cerebral hemispheres
  • It is the largest white matter structure in the brain, consisting of roughly 250 million axon projections
  • Damage to the corpus callosum can prevent information exchange between left and right hemispheres (split brain disorders)

Internal Structures of the Brain

                            Representation:       Diagram         Photograph        Scan