Some science behind the scenes
Brain and its functions
The brain is hardware, but each of the organs is designed to process a function. This section explains what we know so far about the functions of the various parts of the brain.
The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that appears to be designed to process the functions that make human beings unique as a species. Distinctly human traits including language and originate in the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex can be divided into four sections, which are known as lobes (see image below). The frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and temporal lobe have been associated with different functions ranging from reasoning to auditory processing.
- The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain and is associated with Reasoning, higher level cognition, expressive language and possibly Learning. It appears that the temporal lobes directly interact with the frontal lobes in memorising and learning.
At the back of the frontal lobe, near the central sulcus, lies the motor cortex. This area of the brain receives information from various lobes of the brain and utilizes this information to carry out body movements.
- The parietal lobe is located in the middle section of the brain and is associated with processing tactile sensory information such as pressure, touch, and pain. A portion of the brain known as the somatosensory cortex is located in this lobe and is essential to the processing of the body's senses. Thus this possibly contains some of the functions of the 5 senses [touch]
- The occipital lobe is located at the back portion of the brain and is associated with interpreting visual stimuli and information. The primary visual cortex, which receives and interprets information from the retinas of the eyes, is located in the occipital lobe. Thus this possibly contains some of the functions of the 5 senses [sight].
The temporal lobe is located on the bottom section of the brain. It can first be divided into the left and the right temporal lobe.
- Left temporal lobe -. The left temporal lobe contains the functions of Memory that deal with verbal passages and factual information
- Right temporal lobe - contains memory for tactile and recurring visual stimuli such as faces, designs and pictures, as well as Memory for object position and orientation, and other visual-pictorial stimuli.
The temporal lobe is further divided on both left and right sides into the superior temporal lobe, medial or middle temporal lobe and the inferior temporal lobe
The superior temporal lobe – consists of the superior temporal gyrus and the superior temporal sulcus
- The superior temporal gyrus is located laterally to the head, situated somewhat above the external ear. It contains several important structures of the brain, including Brodmann areas, marking the location of the primary auditory cortex, the cortical region responsible for the sensation of sound and Wernicke's area, an important region for the processing of speech so that it can be understood as a language processor. Thus this may be responsible in part for 5 senses [sound]
- The superior temporal sulcus is the sulcus separating the superior temporal gyrus from the middle temporal gyru. It is involved in the perception of where others are gazing and is thus important in determining where others' emotions are being directed. It is also involved in the perception of biological motion. It appears to handle the function of Recognition [not shown on the model].
The medial temporal lobe (MTL) becomes activated during memory recall and it is clear that it is the MTL that is a primary source for memory processing. The anterior temporal region is more involved in storage of memory, whereas the posterior region is more involved in memory retrieval and recall.
The Inferior temporal lobe is involved in the laying down of perceptions or even some perception processing.
The brain stem
is comprised the hindbrain and midbrain.
The hindbrain contains the medulla, the pons and the reticular formation. The hindbrain is the structure that connects the spinal cord to the brain. It appears to be the seat of the processing of the input from the Autonomic systems. There is also the possibility that it contains some of the functions of the 5 senses [taste and smell].
- The medulla is located directly above the spinal cord and controls many vital autonomic functions such as heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
- The pons connects the medulla to the cerebellum and helps coordinate movement on each side of the body.
- The reticular formation is a neural network located in the medulla that helps control functions such as sleep and attention.
The midbrain is the smallest region of the brain that acts as a sort of relay station for auditory and visual information. It controls many important functions such as the visual and auditory systems as well as eye movement. Portions of the midbrain called the red nucleus and the substantia nigra are involved in the control of body movement. This maybe where other Nervous system processing takes place.
lies on top of the pons, behind the brain stem. The cerebellum is comprised of small lobes and receives information from the balance system of the inner ear, sensory nerves, and the auditory and visual systems. It is involved in the coordination of motor movements as well as basic facets of memory and learning. In effect, whilst advanced learning takes place in the Cerebral cortex, simple learning using perceptions from our nervous system and 5 senses takes place here.
Located above the brainstem, the thalamus processes and relays movement and sensory information. It is essentially a relay station, taking in sensory information and then passing it on to the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex also sends information to the thalamus, which then sends this information to other systems. I suspect this has a set of functions not yet discovered.
is a grouping of nuclei that lie along the base of the brain near the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus connects with many other regions of the brain and is responsible for hunger, thirst, emotions, body temperature regulation, plus numerous other functions, it appears to be the seat of the function of the Will. The hypothalamus also controls the pituitary gland by secreting hormones, which gives the hypothalamus a great deal of control over many body functions.
The limbic system
is comprised of four main structures:
- the amygdala
- the hippocampus
- regions of the limbic cortex
- and the septal area
These structures form connections between the limbic system and the hypothalamus, thalamus and cerebral cortex.
The hippocampus - is the area of the brain involved in consolidating information from short-term memory into long-term memory. The hippocampus is thus ‘important in memory and learning’, but it appears to be more closely related to perception.
We have two amygdalae – a right one and a left one. The left one appears to be the seat of negative emotions, the right the seat of positive emotion.
The mapping of form to function is shown overleaf. As you can see there is no mapping of the composer. This is because the Higher spirit is at a higher vibrational level than the body and needs no organ to operate. It is immortal. The personality? Well most seem to think it resides in the heart.
For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.
- Auditory verbal hallucinations with 'rich emotional content'
- Damasio, Professor Antonio - David and learning
- Damasio, Professor Antonio - TED talk: The quest to understand consciousness
- Damasio, Professor Antonio - Where do perceptions reside?
- Dawkins, Professor Richard - Unweaving the Rainbow - Prosopagnosia
- Dr Iain McGilchrist - The divided brain
- Levitin, Professor Daniel - Music and the brain
- Lilly, John - The brain is not the mind
- Manning, Matthew - Bending keys and - das Ur Gahirn