What Is The Cerebrum? The Largest Part Of The Brain Explained

by Mindvalley December 19, 2018

The cerebrum (aka the telencephalon), is the largest and most developed region of the brain. It encompasses about two-thirds of the brain mass and lies over and around most of the structures of your brain. The word cerebrum comes from the same word in Latin cerebrum, meaning “brain.”

It plays a vital role in a variety of your daily functions from your sensations of touch and vision, all the way to your reasoning and emotions. 

There is no one part of the brain that you can consider being more important over the other. The cerebrum, however, is one you can consider to be the ‘master’, as It owns about two-thirds of the total brain mass and covers most of the primary brain structures.

When you reach into your pocket to grab change, it’s the cerebrum that allows you to tell nickels, quarters, and dimes apart without looking at them.

In this article, we’ll be taking a brief journey and explain everything about the main functions and characteristics of the cerebrum.

Fun Facts: About The Cerebrum

How big is the cerebrum?

  • Amazingly, The surface of the cerebrum (cerebral cortex) accounts for 85% of the total brain weight and houses up to 10 billion neurons firing about 50 trillion synapses!
  • If you were to spread it out, it would actually take up about 2 1/2 square feet.
  • It is the most recent evolutionary development in our physiology. Also, it’s the largest most developed of the major regions of the brain.
  • It isn’t all about movement and coordination, it also plays a role in perception, imagination, thought, judgment, and decision making.

the cerebrum definition

The Cerebrum: A Definition

Before we get into details, let’s first start with the basics and define the cerebrum based on the leading digital online source Dictionary.com,

/suh-ree-bruh m, ser-uh-/


  1. The anterior and largest part of the brain, consisting of two hemispheres. It serves to control voluntary movements and coordinate mental actions.
  2. The forebrain and the midbrain.

The cerebrum is also Latin for “brain”. As the anterior portion of the forebrain, the cerebrum takes up the entire uppermost portion of the brain and is covered by the cerebral cortex.

Where Is The Cerebrum Located?

The Cerebrum consists of the right and left cerebral hemispheres. The left hemisphere coordinates the right side of the body, while the right hemisphere controls the left side.

The two hemispheres are held together by a thick bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. This structure relays messages between the hemispheres, allowing uninterrupted communication across the cerebrum.

As a rule, the cerebrum develops last in the human embryo during the second stage of development of the central nervous system. In fact, it’s the most highly developed part of the human brain.

Is cerebrum same as cerebral cortex?

So, it is a part of it but not exactly…

The cerebral cortex is the top surface part covering the cerebrum and is covered with grooves and ridges. 

What are these grooves and ridges called and what do they do?

If you’ve ever seen a 3D model of the human brain, you may have noticed that the surface of the cerebrum is covered in grooves and ridges. The grooves are called sulci (singular sulcus) and the ridges are called gyri (singular gyrus).

Both sulci and gyri serve one purpose – to expand the surface area of the brain to accommodate more neurons. This, in turn, enhances the brain’s cognitive function despite the limitation in size and illustrates just how adaptable this organ truly is.


The Components and Function Of The Cerebrum?

This is by far one of the most complex parts of the brain to explain regarding its functions. It’s because of how the cerebrum encapsulates most of the major brain regions along with their many subdivisions and sub-regions

They are quite a few, with each responsible for a variety of functions. Let’s try to and break it down. As you read along and just remember that the cerebral, usually refers outermost part of the brain, while the cerebrum usually refers to the inner parts that lay beneath the cerebral.

Function of the cerebrum: a short answer

As a major part of the brain, the cerebrum is responsible for managing emotions, hearing, vision, personality and the control of voluntary actions.

It’s also in charge of other higher brain functions, this includes:

  • Language
  • Learning and Understanding
  • Organization and Planning
  • Interpretation and Processing of sensory information

Function of the cerebrum: a detailed look

What are the components of the cerebrum?

The cerebrum is responsible for thinking, learning, and reasoning. It is housed by an outer portion called cerebral cortex (gray matter). 

In a way, the cerebrum houses most of everything else within it, as it is the biggest part of the brain. You’ll notice that the 4 major lobes of the brain are essentially a part of the cerebral cortex too.

Divided into four lobes and their functions, the frontal lobe is important for cognitive functions and control of voluntary movement or activity. The parietal lobe processes information about temperature, taste, touch, and movement. 

The occipital lobe is primarily responsible for vision. And last but not least, the temporal lobe processes memories, integrating them with sensations of taste, sound, sight, and touch.

Subdivisions of your cerebrum:

The cerebrum also consists of both the diencephalon and the telencephalon

Both of which include subparts called the thalamus, hypothalamus, and the pineal gland, which essentially make up two major divisions of the forebrain.

When it comes to your cerebral cortex, that area handles a portion of the important brain functions such as the processing of sensory information

In tandem with the limbic system, certain areas of the cerebrum are also in charge of emotions. These range from love and happiness to fear and anger. What’s more, the cerebrum also allows you to manage your anger in real time.

Your cerebrum processes all this information and relays signals that produce the appropriate response.

It’s not about mental intelligence, it’s about mental fitness.

— Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Program


Does the cerebrum control memory?

As mentioned earlier, the cerebral cortex and cerebrum play a rather important role in memory.

Namely, the cerebral cortex plays a vital role in the development and processing of both short and long-term memory. The cerebrum also combines events with sensory information like objects and faces to ensure they are properly stored in your long-term memory.

The hippocampus, another part of the cerebrum, helps translate short-term memory into long-term memory. In addition, this area of the cerebrum also triggers the growth of new neurons that allow the brain to better conserve these memories.

And finally, the basal ganglia at the very center of the cerebrum helps form and retrieve procedural memory. This is a type of long-term memory that explains how to perform certain tasks and actions.

When you learn to tie your shoes, play an instrument, or ride a bicycle, all that information is stored in your procedural memory. The basal ganglia helps ensure you don’t forget any of the skills and actions you’ve previously learned.

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What was your favorite fact you learned today? Let us know in the comments below!

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

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