The cerebrum is probably the most widely known part of the brain. It is also called the endbrain or telencephalon and makes up the largest part of the human brain. It is only present in humans in this form and size.
Roughly speaking, the cerebrum is divided into four lobes, which are named in relation to their anatomical location, and two separate, deeper areas. More precisely, the cerebral cortex is divided into 52 so-called Brodmann areas, named after its first descriptor Korbinian Brodmann. It is divided into two halves, the hemispheres. In order to have the largest possible surface area, it is folded many times. The coils and furrows that are formed have their own names and can be assigned to specific functional areas.
General tasks of the cerebrum
The cerebrum is the highest instance of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord, and is what makes a person with all his emotional, psychological and motor skills who he is. It is involved in all active thoughts and movement sequences, processes incoming information and produces targeted answers and reactions. It is often linked to itself and other brain structures via nerve tracts.
In the cerebral cortex lie the nerve cores, in the medulla the nerve tracts. In addition to the anatomical division, the cerebrum is divided functionally according to various aspects. This second division is based on the development and evolution of the brain.
Thus, parts of the human brain are also found in small mammals such as mice, while others are reserved for humans alone. A distinction is made between the paleocortex, the striatum, the archicortex and the neocortex. They are all components of individual systems that are responsible for different tasks.
Nevertheless, they also work very closely together, which is why it is often not possible to draw clear boundaries between the individual areas. The palaeocortex is the oldest part of the cerebrum. It is closely connected with the olfactory brain and the sense of smell, the oldest of all senses.
It receives, transports and processes information that is recorded by the olfactory organ, i.e. the sensory cells in the nose. The amygdala, an area responsible for emotional processes, especially the development and processing of fear and anger, is also counted among them. This also explains why odours can trigger such strong emotional reactions.
The striatum is located deep inside the cerebrum and is part of the basal ganglia, a network of nerve nuclei and pathways that play an important role in controlling movement. Also deep-seated is the archicortex, which includes the hippocampus and is part of the limbic system. It is responsible for learning and memory processes.
Only recently has it also been discovered that it is involved in spatial orientation. The limbic system as a whole is also responsible for life-supporting functions such as sex drive, food intake and the coordination of digestion. The neocortex is the youngest and by far the largest part of the cerebrum.
The neocortex represents the actual surface of the cerebrum, which can also be easily viewed from the outside. In contrast to the previous structures, it is not located in the depth of the brain. It is responsible for gathering information from all areas of the body, as well as for interpretation, association and transmission.
It includes the motor centres for body movements as well as the hearing, speech and visual centres. It is also the part of the brain that makes up a person’s personality. This part is also called the prefrontal cortex because it is located far forward, directly behind the bony forehead. If this part of the neocortex is injured, massive personality changes and disorders result. Last but not least, it contains the areas of the brain that register sensations such as pain, vibrations and temperature differences.