Every species has its strengths. For cheetahs it’s their speed, for spiders their ability to spin webs. For humans, it’s our brains. We may not be the strongest or the quickest species on the planet, but we are the smartest, and that makes us able to invent creative solutions to all sorts of problems. The brain is perhaps the most important organ in our body, and understanding how it functions helps us to understand how we function.
When you think about the brain, the image that pops into your head is that of the cerebrum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain, made up of both a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere. In the illustration, you mostly see the right hemisphere, which is responsible for the left side of your body, as well as creativity. The left hemisphere, meanwhile, controls the right side of your body, and is responsible for tasks having to do with logic such as speech, writing, and arithmetic.
The cerebellum is located in the back of the brain, just below the cerebrum (see above). It’s a small part of the brain—accounting for just ten percent of the total weight—but it nevertheless has a very important responsibility: our motor movements. A flick of the hand, a jumping jack, a shout…all of these require motor behaviors that are controlled in the cerebellum.
Finally, there’s the brainstem. This is what connects the cerebrum and the cerebellum to the spinal cord. It can be divided into three smaller sections: the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. The overall purpose of the brainstem is to control vital, bodily functions. This includes swallowing, breathing, coughing, sneezing, sleeping, and other involuntary movements and functions.
To learn more about the human body and all of its intricacies, stay tuned for the latest updates from my blog!