Anatomy of the Brain: The Basics

The brain, spinal cord and nerves work together as the main parts of our central nervous system, which dictates our movements, activities, thoughts and feelings with the information received from our nerve cells, mind and environment.

Central Nervous System


The brain is divided into two halves working together to command feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

Left hemisphere controls:

  • Movement of the right side of the body
  • Reasoning skills
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Number skills

Right hemisphere controls:

  • The left side of the body
  • Insight
  • Imagination
  • Musical ability and interpretation
  • Creative skills
  • Awareness of three dimensions


Each hemisphere is further broken down into smaller sections called lobes.
  1. Frontal lobe (main lobe) is responsible for:
    • Main movement of extremities, trunk and eyes
    • Memory
    • Judgment
    • Behavior control
  2. Parietal lobe (behind the frontal lobe) controls:
    • Other movements
    • Sense of space
    • Sensation
  3. Temporal lobe (sits along the side of frontal and parietal lobes):
    • Controls Language
    • Plays an important role in emotions
    • Assists with memory
  4. Occipital lobe – Interprets what we see

Cerebellum (underneath lobes)

Most important for coordination and timing

Brainstem (connects spinal cord to the rest of the brain)

  • Controls automatic functions like breathing, blood pressure and arousal
  • If even partially damaged, can cause coma or minimally conscious state