Brain and Behavior - The Cortex

3 important questions on Brain and Behavior - The Cortex

Why is the cortex so wrinkled?

The surface of the cortex is covered with folds and looks somewhat like a walnut. These folds are referred to as convolutions. The rounded parts of the convolutions are called gyri, gyrus in the singular. The grooves between the gyri are called sulci, sulcus in the singular.

These extra folds allow for much greater surface area, which in turn greatly increases the number of neurons that can fit into the relatively small space of the human skull. The more neurons we have, the more powerfully we can process information.

What are the four lobes of the cortex?

The cortex is divided into four lobes:

  1. Frontal
  2. Temporal
  3. Parietal
  4. Occiptal

The frontal lobe comprises the front half of the cortex. It extends from the central sulcus foward.

The thumblike segments of the cortex are the temporal lobe.

The parietal lobes cover much of the back surface of the cortex, extending from the central sulcus back to the border with the occipital lobe, which is called the parietooccipital lobe)

Finally, the occipital lobes are at the lower back end of the cortex.

What do the other cortical lobes do?

The three remaining cortical lobes are all involved with some aspect of sensation and perception.

The occipital lobe is involved with vision. The parietal lobe processes both touch and taste (in the somatosensory strip) and the temporal lobes are involved with hearing. Additionally, the parietal lobes are involved with attention and visual-spatial information, while the temporal lobes mediate language, memory, and the recognition of familiar objects.

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