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Understanding the Brain

The human brain is a remarkable machine. It is the golden repository for all your memories and experiences. That means essentially that you are your brain. Your personality, your desires, goals, fears, attitudes, you name it-everything that makes you who you are is all contained there.

The Major Parts of the Human Brain

The brain consists of three principle parts, (1) cerebrum, (2) cerebellum, and (3) stem.

cerebrum

The Cerebrum: It is also referred to as the Cerebral Cortex, or just Cortex. It consists of the cortex, corpus callosum (which divides the two hemispheres), plus deeper structures like basal ganglia, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. It integrates and interprets information from all the sense organs, initiates motor functions, controls emotions, and houses memory and thought processes.

Of the three, the cerebrum is clearly the most important to new learning. This is where higher-ordered functions like memory and reasoning occur. Each area of the cerebrum specializes in a specific function: Sight, hearing, speech, touch, short-term memory, long-term memory, language, and reasoning abilities are the most important for learning.

cerebellum

The Cerebellum: Its primary function is to coordinate and regulate muscular activity. It integrates information from the vestibular system that denotes position and movement. It then uses this data to coordinate limb movements.

brainstem

The Brainstem: It makes up the central trunk of the mammalian brain. It is the stem-like formation at the base of the brain that connects it to the spinal cord. It actually looks like a stem upon which your brain floats like the bulb of a flower.

The brainstem is sometimes referred to as the “primitive brain.” It is called this because it is the part of the brain also found in primates and other intelligent mamals.

The brainstem seems to be responsible for controlling primal instincts and automated actions of the body, such as our “fight or flight” response.

The brainstem also controls reflexes and automatic functions like heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and digestion.

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