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The cerebrum is a structure found in the brain. In this lesson, we will identify where the cerebrum is located in the brain and why it is vital to your everyday life.

What is the Cerebrum?

How do you tell the difference between a quarter and a dime when you reach into your front pocket in search of correct change? The answer to this question is found in your cerebrum. Your cerebrum is the main part of the brain in humans and other vertebrates. Functionally, it obtains information from your surroundings and/or body and then sends that information to a specific part of the cerebrum.

The cerebrum interprets the knowledge and decides what must happen next. In short, your cerebrum, although approximately the size of a cantaloupe, holds the instructions for everything you do in your daily life.

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The cerebrum is located in the upper part of the cranial cavity, which is a space inside the top of the skull. It is divided into a right hemisphere and a left hemisphere by a deep groove known as the longitudinal fissure. The right half of the cerebrum controls the left side of the body.

The left half of the cerebrum controls the right side of the body. The two halves are linked by the corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibers. The corpus callosum passes messages between the two halves so that they can communicate with one another.

Cerebral hemispheres separated by the longitudinal fissure.
Cerebral hemispheres

Lobes and Functions

The cerebrum is divided into four regions called lobes that control senses, thoughts, and movements.

The four lobes are the occipital, temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes. Although each lobe has a different task to perform, they all must work together.The occipital lobe, found in the back of your cerebrum, plays a role in processing visual information. It can be related to oculus, the Latin word for eye.There are two temporal lobes, one in each hemisphere – close to where your ears are. It primarily functions in auditory processing. However, it may also be involved in emotion, learning, and pronunciation/learning a new language.

If you hear a loud tempo or beat, you may cover your ears, thus blocking the sounds from getting to your temporal lobe.The frontal lobe allows you to solve a complex task, undergo voluntary movement of your body parts, form complete sentences, and is responsible for your personality traits. Think about the last time you had a difficult exam, what was your first reaction? You probably put your elbow on the table and your hand on your forehead, precisely where your frontal lobe is located.The parietal lobe functions in general sensation and feeling. If you stand too close to a campfire, you probably take a few steps backwards to avoid the excessive heat. Building a snowman without gloves may also bring you discomfort, but your parietal lobe helps to communicate this information with the rest of your brain. Although all sensations are not bad, it is important to point out how they help us avoid potentially harmful situations.

The parietal lobe is found in between the frontal and occipital lobe.

Parts Within the Lobes

Throughout the cerebrum we find elevated regions called gyri (gyrus for singular). They help to separate the lobes based on its functional roles and increase the overall size of the cerebrum. The specific gyrus used for motor functions in the frontal lobe is called the pre-central gyrus; whereas the gyrus used for sensory function in the parietal lobe is called the post-central gyrus. An example of a motor function may include reaching into your pocket for correct change.

A sensory function would be the feeling you get when touching the two coins. Finally, the central sulcus is a deepened groove used to separate the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe.

Cerebrum with four lobes.
Cerebrum with four lobes

If we take a closer look inside each of the four lobes described, it is further divided into two layers/regions.

The outermost region is referred to as the cerebral cortex or gray matter, and the innermost portion is called cerebral white matter. The difference between gray matter and white matter is what specific part/region of the neuron is present. The gray matter is gray in color and has cell bodies. The white matter is white in color and contains neural fiber tracts. The neural fiber tracts function in communication.

Therefore, it makes sure each lobe is in constant contact with one another.The cerebral cortex or gray matter is the most important region when it comes to carrying out the tasks of each lobe. As a result, the ridges seen on the surface of the cerebrum help to increase the physical space needed to accomplish all these tasks. For example, if you take your hand, palm side facing up and your fingers spread out, you gain more physical space to pick up or grab a larger object.

Outer cerebral cortex or gray matter and inner cerebral white matter.
Cerebral Cortex

Lesson Summary

Let’s review.

The cerebrum is the major structure in the brain, composed of a right and left hemisphere. Each hemisphere works together to control both sides of the body. Within the hemispheres are regions we call lobes. The four lobes include the occipital, temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes. Each lobe is responsible for a specific task.The frontal lobe functions in solving problems, controlling body movements, sentence formation, and personality traits. The occipital lobe functions in processing visual images.

The temporal lobe functions in hearing, memory formation, and learning a new language. Finally, the parietal lobe allows you to experience the sense of touch or feeling.Information is constantly coming into the cerebrum from many directions. The cerebrum functions by taking the information, sending it to the proper place, and then acting on current knowledge and/or past experiences.

The Cerebrum

The cerebrum is a major structure of the brain and is split into lobes.
The cerebrum and its lobes

Related Facts

  • The main structure of the brain made up of two halves divided by the longitudinal fissure.
  • The frontal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe and parietal lobe make up the cerebrum.
  • The frontal lobe is responsible for problem-solving, voluntary body movement, sentence formation and personality.
  • The occipital lobe is where processing of visual information takes place.
  • The temporal lobe functions in auditory processing and learning languages.
  • The parietal lobe helps one to experience general sensation and feeling.

Learning Outcomes

This lesson on the cerebrum could help you to complete the following objectives:

  • Write the definition of the cerebrum
  • Recognize the location of the cerebrum
  • Name each of the lobes and understand their purposes
  • Discuss the composition of the lobes themselves

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