No organ in your body plays a more important role than the brain. Not only does it collect and store information and allow you to act on it but it also controls the function of all other organs in your body. Along with the nervous system, the human brain is by far the most complex structure in the universe.
As complex as it is, the human brain is also highly adaptable. It consists of four interconnected brain regions, each of them in charge of a different set of functions like thinking, memory, and movement.
In the words of Jim Kwik,
Your brain is a like a massive supercomputer.— Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest
You can train it to process an incredible amount of information in a fast and efficient way. In order to do that, however, you need to know which brain sections to target.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the four main brain regions and their key functions, by answering the following questions:
- What does the cerebrum do?
- What does the cerebellum do?
- What does the brain stem do?
- What does the diencephalon do?
What Are the 4 Main Brain Regions?
Looking at the map of the brain, we can see four different brain regions.
#1: The cerebrum
The first and largest is the cerebrum, which takes up the top part of the brain and accounts for 85% of its total volume.
#2: The cerebellum
Moving clockwise, next is the cerebellum. Positioned under the back part of the cerebrum, the cerebellum is considerably smaller and takes up just 10% of the total volume of the brain.
#3: The brain stem
The next is the brain stem, which consists of the medulla oblongata at the bottom and the pons at the top. Together, they take up about 4% of the brain’s total volume.
#4: The diencephalon
Finally, tucked between the cerebrum and the brain stem, is the diencephalon. This is the smallest of the four brain sections and is hidden from view for the most part.
What Are the Functions of the Main Regions of the Brain?
Now that we know what the four major regions of the brain are, it’s time to learn more about what they do. Each part of the brain, much like the four lobes of the brain, has a specific set of tasks and responsibilities.
Here are the functions of the four major regions of the brain.
What does the cerebrum do?
Consisting of two cerebral hemispheres, the cerebrum represents the main part of the central nervous system.
This region of the human brain has many functions, but it is most commonly associated with thinking. It also plays an important role in reasoning, learning, and feeling – both physical and emotional.
Whether you experience a chill when you step out into the cold without a jacket or cry when watching a sad movie, it’s your cerebrum that’s doing the actual work.
Additionally, the cerebrum is also in charge of processing sensory information. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to hear or see.
What does the cerebellum do?
Hanging down from the rear part of your brain is the cerebellum, which is primarily in charge of movement and coordination.
To understand exactly what this brain region does, here’s a simple examination that doctors perform simply called the finger-to-nose test.
- The doctor would start by placing their finger just two feet away from your face.
- Then you are asked to touch the tip of your nose with your index finger, then touch the tip of the doctor’s finger.
- You would do this as fast as possible, all while the doctor slowly moves their finger away from you.
What this simple examination shows is that the cerebellum is working properly to ensure hand-eye coordination. The doctor wants to confirm that your index fingers don’t miss their mark and end up on your chin or missing their hand completely.
What does the brain stem do?
As already explained, the brain stem consists of two parts – the medulla oblongata and the pons.
Located at the bottom of the stem, the medulla helps control our cardiovascular and respiratory systems. In addition, this part of the brain is also responsible for a variety of reflexive actions.
Every time you cough, sneeze, or vomit, it’s your body acting on the impulses sent from the medulla.
Sitting above the medulla oblongata, the pons is primarily in charge of breathing and sleep regulation.
What does the diencephalon do?
We have already mentioned that the cerebrum is in charge of processing sensory information. However, before it reaches the cerebrum, this information needs to go through the diencephalon first. As such, the main role of the diencephalon is to relay the information obtained by your senses across the brain.
Additionally, the diencephalon also helps control your body’s endocrine and autonomic functions. It works in tandem with the cerebellum to support optimal motor function control.
The Final Word
The brain is really a fascinating structure. Between the cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, and diencephalon – all four of these brain regions join forces to ensure that your body is functioning properly and allowing you to perform your daily tasks smoothly and in perfect synchrony.
Modern science today still doesn’t fully understand the complex bio and neuro-mechanics of this marvelous structure.