General Topography of the Brain

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Main Anatomy Index | The spinal cord I

Last updated 30 March 2006

General Topography of the Brain

The Medial Surface

  1. The midbrain, which is continuous with the diencephalon;
  2. The pons;
  3. And the medulla, which is continuous with the spinal cord.
  1. A splenium posteriorly, which is enlarged and rounded;
  2. A body;
  3. An anterior, curved genu;
  4. Which tapers into a ventrally directed rostrum.
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Surface Features of the Cerebral Hemispheres

Click here for medial, lateral, dorsal and ventral views of the cerebral hemispheres. 


Cerebral Lobes

  1. The central sulcus (of Rolando);
  2. The lateral sulcus (of Sylvius);
  3. The parietooccipital sulcus;
  4. And the calcarine sulcus.


The Frontal Lobe


Gyri of the Frontal Lobe

  1. The precentral gyrus is anterior to the central sulcus and parallel to it. It extends to the precentral sulcus;
  2. The superior;
  3. The middle;
  4. And the inferior frontal gyri are oriented parallel to one another. They are roughly perpendicular to the precentral gyrus.
  1. The orbital part, which is most anterior and is continuous with the inferior (orbital) surface of the frontal lobe;
  2. The opercular part, which is most posterior and forms a portion of the frontal operculum;
  3. And the wedge-shaped triangular part, which lies between the other two.


General Functional Areas of the Frontal Lobe

  1. The primary motor cortex occupies much of the precentral gyrus. It contains many of the cells of origin of descending motor pathways and is involved in the initiation of voluntary movements.
  2. The premotor area is made up of the remainder of the precentral gyrus together with adjacent portions of the superior and middle frontal gyri. It is also functionally related to the initiation of voluntary movements.
  3. Broca's area is in the opercular and triangular parts of the inferior frontal gyrus of the left hemisphere. It is important in the production of written and spoken language.
  4. The prefrontal cortex is a very large area comprising the remainder of the frontal lobe. It is involved with what may very generally be described as personality, insight, and foresight.
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The Parietal Lobe


Gyri of the Parietal Lobe

  1. The postcentral gyrus;
  2. The superior;
  3. And the inferior parietal lobules.
  1. The supramarginal gyrus, which caps the upturned end of the lateral sulcus;
  2. And the angular gyrus, which similarly caps the superior temporal sulcus.


Medial Surface of the Parietal Lobe


General Functional Areas of the Parietal Lobe

  1. The postcentral gyrus more or less coincides with primary somatosensory cortex; it is concerned with the initial cortical processing of tactile and proprioceptive information.
  2. The inferior parietal lobule of the left hemisphere, together with portions of the temporal lobe, is involved in the comprehension of language.
  3. The remainder of the parietal cortex subserves complex aspects of spatial orientation and perception.
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The Temporal Lobe


Gyri of the Temporal Lobe


General Functional Areas of the Temporal Lobe

  1. A small area of that portion of the superior temporal gyrus that lies in the lateral sulcus is the primary auditory cortex.
  2. The parahippocampal gyrus and hippocampus are parts of the limbic system.
  3. The temporal lobe is involved in complex aspects of learning and memory.
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The Occipital Lobe


Gyri of the Occipital Lobe


General Function of the Occipital Lobe

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The Insula


The Cingulate Gyrus

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The Diencephalon

  1. The thalamus;
  2. The hypothalamus;
  3. The epithalamus;
  4. And the subthalamus.


The Thalamus


The Hypothalamus


The Epithalamus

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The Brainstem

  1. In cranial nerve functions;
  2. In conveying information to and from the cerebrum'
  3. And also some special functions of its own.
  1. The midbrain;
  2. The pons;
  3. And the medulla.


The Midbrain


The Pons

  1. A protruding basal portion, which is oval in the sagittal section;
  2. And the overlying pontine tegmentum, which forms part of the floor of the 4th ventricle.


The Medulla

  1. A rostral open portion, which contains part of the 4th ventricle,
  2. And a caudal closed portion, which is continuous with the spinal cord.
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Michael Tam (c) 1998