Friday, March 29, 2013
What are the five major divisions of the brain and their associated psychological functions?
The five major divisions of the brain are the telencephalon, the diencephalon, the mesencephalon, the metencephalon, and the myelencephalon. The telencephalon, which is the human brain's largest division, is responsible for mediating the most complex functions of the brain (Pinel, 2009). It is responsible for initiating voluntary movement, interprets sensory input, and mediates complex cognitive processes such as speaking, problem solving, and learning (Pinel, 2009). The diencephalon is a divison of the human brain, which is composed of the thalamus and the hypothalamus. The thalamus has sensory relay nuclei, which receive signals from sensory receptors, then processes the signals, and transmits those signals to the designated areas of the sensory cortex (Pinel, 2009). The hypothalamus plays a role in regulating several motivated behaviors by regulating the release of hormones from the pituitary gland (Pinel, 2009).
The mesencephalon is a division that is comprised of two divisions, which are the tectum and the tegmentum. The tectum is composed of the inferior colliculi, which have an auditory function, and the superior colliculi, which have a visual function (Pinel, 2009). The tegmentum contains three structures, which are the periaqueductal gray, the substantia nigra, and the red nucleus. The periaqueductal gray has a role in mediating the analgesic (pain-reducing) effects of opiate drugs (Pinel, 2009). The substantia nigra and the red nucleus are important components of the sensorimotor system (Pinel, 2009). The metencephalon is a division that has two major divisions, which are the pons and the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a sensorimotor structure, which function is sensorimotor control. The myelencephalon, also referred to as the medulla, is the most posterior division of the brain (Pinel, 2009). It plays a role in arousal and is is responsible for functions such as sleep, movement, attention, the maintenance of muscle tone, and various cardiac, circulatory, and respiratory reflexes (Pinel, 2009).
Pinel, J.P.J. (2009). Biopsychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.