Structure of the Nervous System


The Nervous System is split into the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The CNS is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord – the PNS are the remaining neurons.

The cerebrum is the largest section of the brain and is divided into the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Both sides have a parietal (sensory processing e.g. pain/pressure); occipital (location of the primary visual cortex which processes visual stimuli); temporal (the primary auditory cortex is located here which interprets language) and frontal Lobe (reasoning, motor skills and higher-level cognition). The Hypothalamus and Thalamus are in the centre of the brain and control the Pituitary Gland which secretes hormones for use around the body.

The cerebellum and brain stem are at the base of the brain. The brain stem is then split up further into the midbrain (controlling visual and auditory systems and eye movement); pons (connects medulla to cerebellum) and the medulla (controls autonomic functions such as breathing and sleep cycles). The spinal cord is a continuation of the brain stem.

NWK Brain 2

Source: Accessed on 26/12/2018

NWK BRAIN1Source: Accessed on 26/12/2019


Key Terms

Hippocampus – brain structure consisting mainly of grey matter that is involved in memory consolidation

Parietal Lobe – the lobe of the brain at the top of the head – involved in the visual system, sensation and perception

Occipital Lobe – the lobe in the brain at the rear of the skull – involved in understanding what your eyes are seeing

Temporal Lobe – lobe of the brain that lies beneath the temples – involved in processing and interpreting the sounds and language we hear

Frontal lobe – lobe of the brain that lies directly behind the forehead – involved in speech, auditory processing, language comprehension and emotional responses

Brain Stem – a portion of the brain which consists of the medulla oblongata, pons and midbrain – it continues towards the spinal chord

Cerebral Cortex – outer layer of the brain constructed of grey matter

Thalamus – composed of grey matter and relays impulses to and from the cerebral cortex

Hippocampus – brain structure consisting mainly of grey matter that is involved in memory consolidation

Midbrain – the central part of the brain stem – involved in control of hearing, motor control, vision, arousal and temperature regulation

Pons – a section of the midbrain that connects the medulla oblongata and the thalamus

Medulla Oblongata – the lowest section of the brain stem – controls autonomic functions such as breathing, digestion, swallowing and heart and blood vessel function

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