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Brain Anatomy: Structure, Parts, and Function

Last Updated : 07 Mar, 2024
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The Human Brain is a complex organ and is also known as the central processing unit of the body. It is enclosed inside the bony covering called the cranium (or skull). The brain consists of the cerebrum, responsible for higher cognitive functions; the cerebellum, involved in coordination and balance; and the brainstem, which regulates basic life functions such as breathing and heart rate. The human brain regulates thoughts, emotions, movements, and controls thoughts, memory, and speech, arm and leg movements.

What is Human Brain?

Human Brain along with the spinal cord forms Central Nervous System. It is the site of information processing and
control. Brain is protected inside the skull, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and isolated from the bloodstream by the blood–brain barrier. The adult human brain weighs on average about 1.2–1.4 kg. The human brain is primarily composed of neurons, glial cells, neural stem cells, and blood vessels.

Within the skull, the brain is covered by cranial meninges. Meninges are divided into three layers , the outer layer called the dura mater, very thin middle layer called arachnoid and an inner layer called pia mater. It consists of cerebrum, the brainstem and the cerebellum.

Brain Diagram

The diagram below showing the different parts of the Human brain:


Where is the Brain located?

Brain is located inside the cranial cavity, that is within the skull. Skull provides protection to the brain from dorsal, lateral and frontal sides. Inside the cranial cavity the brain is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear and colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Around 500 ml of the CSF is produced daily by the ependymal cells. It helps to support the weight of the brain, preventing it from pressing against the base of the skull. CSF carries essential nutrients to brain cells and removes waste products from the brain. It contains immune cells that help protect the central nervous system from infections.

Also Read: Difference Between Brain and Spinal Cord

Brain Structure

The parts of the brain are as follows:

  • Cerebrum: is the largest part of the brain and forms 80% of the brain. Cerebrum is responsible for higher cognitive functions. It regulates emotions, learning and interprets different senses.
  • Cerebellum: It coordinates motor functions and balance. It is located at the back of the brain.
  • Brainstem: Includes the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata, controlling vital functions like breathing and heart rate. It is located is in the lower part of brain. It connects the brain to the spinal cord.

Also Read: Difference Between Cerebellum And Cerebrum

Lobes of Brain

Each side of the brain is divided into different lobes. Various lobes are explained as follows:

Frontal Lobe

  • Located at the front of the brain and is the largest lobe.
  • It controls voluntary movement, speech and intellect and is responsible for higher cognitive functions, such as reasoning, and problem-solving.
  • Contains the motor cortex, which controls voluntary muscle movements.


Parietal Lobe

  • Located at the top and back of the brain, behind the frontal lobe.
  • Processes sensory information from the body, including touch, temperature, and spatial awareness.
  • Contains the somatosensory cortex, which interprets tactile sensations.

Temporal Lobe

  • Located near the ears on the either sides of the brain, near the temples.
  • Involved in auditory processing, language comprehension, and memory.
  • It help recognize people, understand language and interpret other people’s emotions.

Occipital Lobe

  • Located at the back of the brain.
  • Primarily responsible for visual processing, including the interpretation of visual stimuli and object recognition. It control how to process shapes, colors and movement.
  • Contains the primary visual cortex.

Parts of the Brain

The human brain and its part are as follows:


It forms the largest part of the brain and consists of cerebrum, thalamus and hypothalamus. The forebrain plays a crucial role in the processing of information related to complex cognitive activities, voluntary motor activities and sensory and associative functions.

The function of the forebrain includes controlling the body temperature, eating and drinking, regulation of sexual behaviour, expression of emotional reaction, and motivation. The various parts of the forebrain are explained as follows:


It forms the largest and most important part of the brain. The cerebrum handles conscious thoughts and actions. It is longitudinally divided into two halves that are connected by the corpus callosum. Cerebral hemisphere is covered by a layer of cells called cerebral cortex, which is present in folds. The cerebral cortex is referred to as the grey matter due to its greyish appearance. The cerebral cortex is divided into different areas as follows:

  • Motor Area: Located in the frontal lobe and is responsible for voluntary muscle movements.
  • Sensory Area: It receives and processes sensory information related to touch, pressure, temperature, and pain.
  • Association Area: They integrate and process information from various sensory and motor areas to support complex functions such as perception, language, memory, and problem-solving.

Cerebral hemisphere consists of fibres that are covered with myelin sheath. They give an opaque white appearance to the layer and, hence, is called the white matter.


The thalamus is located deep within the forebrain, situated above the brainstem. The thalamus is a gray matter structure of the diencephalon. It acts as a relay station for sensory information entering the brain. It receives sensory input from various parts of the body, including the ears, skin, eyes, etc. and then transfers this information to the specific regions of the cerebral cortex for further processing. The main function of thalamus is keeping you awake and alert.


Hypothalamus location in brain at the base of the thalamus. It is a major coordinating centre for sensory and motor signaling. It contains neurosecretory cells, which secrete hormones called hypothalamic hormones. The hypothalamus control body temperature, urge for eating and drinking.

Also Read: Hypothalmus


The midbrain is the smallest portion of the brainstem. It is also known as the mesencephalon. Hypothalamus is located between the thalamus/hypothalamus of the forebrain and pons of the brain. Four round swelling or lobes are present in the dorsal portion of the midbrain called corpora quadrigemina. The mid brain consists of tectum and tegmentum.


Tectum consists of two main structures: the superior colliculus, which primarily processes visual information, and the inferior colliculus, which is primarily involved in auditory processing. These structures play essential roles in coordinating reflexive responses to sensory stimuli.


The tegmentum is situated beneath the tectum. It processes and modulates pain signals. The reticular formation in the tegmentum regulates sleep-wake cycles and overall alertness. The tegmentum helps control autonomic functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. It also contributes to sensory processing and integration.

The various functions performed by midbrain are:

  • The midbrain contains the superior colliculus, which processes visual information and helps direct eye movements.
  • The inferior colliculus is involved in auditory processing and helps coordinate reflex in respons to auditory stimuli.
  • The midbrain helps control body temperature, and regulates sleep – wake cycle.


The hindbrain is the posterior portion of the brainstem, located just above the spinal cord. It consists of pons, cerebellum and medulla (also called the medulla oblongata). Collectively, the three regions of the hindbrain coordinates all the functions like breathing, sleep and wake up cycle, heartbeat, motor learning necessary for sustaining life. The three regions of the brain are explained below in detail as follows:


Pons is located above the medulla oblongata and below the midbrain. It consists of fibre tracts that interconnect different regions of the brain. It serves as a relay station, transmitting signals between the cerebrum in the forebrain and the cerebellum in the hindbrain. The functions performed by the pons are as follows:

  • Regulates the body temperature and breathing.
  • It helps control muscles involved in facial expressions, chewing, and even the sensation of taste.
  • Takes part in the synthesis of various hormones.
  • Regulates the sense of taste and smell.
  • Controls the mood and emotions.
  • Participates in pain perception and modulation.

Medulla Oblongata

It is lowermost part of the brain stem which is located above the spinal cord and is connected to the pons. Medulla oblongata is the connection between brainstem and the spinal cord. The medulla oblongata control respiration, cardiovascular reflexes and gastric secretions. The various functions of the medulla oblongata are :

  • Regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Controls breathing rhythm and depth.
  • Coordinates reflexes like swallowing and vomiting.
  • Manages vital autonomic functions.
  • Facilitates the crossover of motor nerve fibers.


Cerebellum is located at the back of the brain, behind the brainstem. It has very convoluted surface, that is, its cortical surface displays closely spaced parallel grooves provide the additional space for many more neurons like Purkinje cells and granule cells. It plays an important role in various motor and non-motor functions. Following are the cerebellum functions:

  • The cerebellum helps coordinate voluntary muscle movements, ensuring they are smooth and precise.
  • It plays an important role in balance control and motor movement regulation.
  • It helps detect and correct errors in movement to improve accuracy.
  • It assists in the precise timing of muscle contractions needed for coordinated movements
  • It coordinates and regulates eye movement.

Conclusion – Brain Anatomy

In conclusion, understanding the anatomy of the brain, including its structure, parts, and functions, is essential for grasping how human brain controls thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The parts of the human brain are: cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem and contains four lobes – frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital – each with specific functions. By exploring the structure of brain and its functions, we gain valuable insights into its role in shaping our experiences and guiding our actions, paving the way for further advancements in neuroscience and cognitive research.

FAQs – Brain Anatomy

How is the Brain Protected in the Body?

The brain is protected by the skull and a set of protective layers called meninges. It also contain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for cushioning and shock absorption.

What is the Main Function of the Brain?

The brain is the body’s central control organ responsible for thinking, processing sensory information, emotions, and controlling bodily functions.

What are the Major Lobes of the Cerebrum, and What do They Control?

The cerebrum has four major lobes that are: frontal (motor control, decision-making), parietal (sensory processing), temporal (auditory processing, memory), and occipital (visual processing).

What is Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF), and What is its Role?

CSF is a clear transparent fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. It provides, cushioning, shock absorption and nutrient transport.

What is the Main Function of the Brainstem?

The brainstem controls vital functions like heart beat, breathing, and consciousness. It consists of the medulla, pons, and midbrain.

What are the 4 Anatomical Parts of the Brain?

The brain has 4 anatomical parts – frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital.

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