card
326

brain

OLogy Series
biology
card
326

brain

OLogy Series
biology

At this moment, your brain is very busy. It's taking in a jumble of sights and sounds, but focusing on just a few. It's seeing the letters on your screen, reading them as words, and thinking about what they mean. It's helping you breathe and keeping your heart beating. Your brain is made of many parts. Some help you see and hear. Others help you learn and remember. And others keep your body functioning. All these parts work together.

The Human Brain

The human brain is made of lots of parts.

The parts of the brain that humans share with reptiles and birds keep our bodies working. They control breathing, heartbeat, movement, and other bodily functions.

The parts that all mammals share, such as the cortex and limbic system, improve our emotions and memory.

The larger, wrinkly cortex is the part of the brain that all primates share. This advanced cortex allows us to have more complex thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

But the human brain has the most advanced regions--especially in the prefrontal cortex. They help us plan, predict, and use language.

There are three main parts to the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem. The brain stem is responsible for:

storing thoughts and memories

sending water to your brain

controlling automatic actions like breathing and heartbeat

Are you right?

Correct!

The brain stem connects the brain to the rest of your body. The cerebrum is the biggest part of the brain. It's responsible for thoughts, personality, and communication. The cerebellum (meaning "little brain") is tucked underneath it. It coordinates your body movements.

The cerebrum can be divided into four parts called lobes. Each helps us do different things. Which lobe helps us plan and solve problems?

frontal lobe

occipital lobe

temporal lobe

Are you right?

Correct!

The occipital lobe is for vision. The temporal lobe is active when you hear and understand sounds. There's also the parietal lobe that processes touch signals from the skin like pain or temperature.

Scientists can connect computers directly to people's brains. Electronic devices can help:

blind people to see

deaf people to hear

both of these

Are you right?

Correct!

Both neurons and computers send and receive electrical signals. Cameras and microphones can send electronic messages that stimulate neurons to send signals to the brain. The brain can perceive these signals as images and sounds, just as if they came from a healthy eye or ear!

Elephant brains are five times heavier than human brains, so elephants are five times more intelligent.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

To compare animal brains, scientists consider the size of brain relative to the animal's total body weight. With this brain-to-body ratio, humans are the "brainiest" animals!

You see an optical illusion when your brain makes a "shortcut" that doesn't work.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Your brain uses all kinds of shortcuts to process what you see. An optical illusion happens when a shortcut doesn't work--and your brain produces an image that's not exactly what's there.

The pattern of grooves and bumps on the brain's cerebrum is mostly the same for everybody.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

These ridges or bumps are used to divide the cerebrum into four sections called "lobes"--one each for touch, vision, hearing, and thinking.

Definition: the complex organ contained in your skull. It is the central part of the nervous system. It controls thoughts, emotions, movement, and bodily functions.
Importance: The human brain gives us the power to think, plan, imagine, and speak.
Weight: 3 pounds (adult); 2 pounds (1-year-old)
Cool Fact: If your brain were taking out of your head and placed in a bowl, it would resemble thick pudding.