The cerebral hemisphere is covered with a thin layer of gray matter called the cerebral cortex. This thin layer of tissue is gray in color. It contains neuronal cell bodies (soma) that are not covered with the insulation that makes most of the brain appear white in color. There are over 1 billion cell bodies in the cerebral cortex. This region of the brain is made up of 6 horizontal layers that contain different types of neural connections and neurons.
Location of the Cerebral Cortex
The outer region of the cerebrum is the cerebral cortex. It is about 1.5mm to 5mm in thickness. The cerebral cortex consists of four lobes; frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, and occipital lobe. The cerebral cortex is a highly convoluted or folded outer layer of the cerebrum. These convolutions are known as gyri that are separated by shallow grooves. These grooves are called sulci that separate the cerebral hemisphere into cerebral cortex lobes. The location of the frontal lobe is anterior to the parietal lobe. This is, in turn, anterior to the occipital lobe. The lateral part of the cerebral hemisphere is the temporal lobe. Now let us know what are the functions of the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex covers over 2/3 of human brain and is divided into the right and left hemisphere. It is the most developed region of the brain in many animals of the 'higher order', especially humans. Its function involves processes such as thinking, perceiving, processing, and understanding languages. There are functional areas of this organ that help in information processing. These operational areas are very important to carry out thought and reasoning processes. Let us have a look at its functions in detail.
The function of this lobe involves problem-solving, planning, and decision-making. Its location is anterior to the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex. Other functions include motor functions, judgment, controlling impulse, memory, and other higher order functions.
The function of the parietal lobe includes reception of sensory information from the body and processing this information to carry out the appropriate action. The parietal lobe location is superior to the occipital lobes. It's present posterior to the central sulcus and frontal lobe. Other functions include spatial orientation, speech, visual perception, cognition, as well as sensation of pain and touch.
This portion of the cortex helps one to hear, understand, and express emotions, and aids in memory and language processing. The temporal lobe is located anterior to the occipital lobe and lateral to the Fissure of Sylvius.
The other functional areas include the following:
- Auditory Association Area: This is the region where complex processing of auditory information takes place.
- Auditory Cortex: This region is involved in the detection of sound quality such as the loudness, tone, etc.
- Broca's Area: This is the region of speech production and articulation.
- Motor Association Cortex: This functional area helps in coordination of complex movements.
- Prefrontal Cortex: The region for problem solving, emotion, complex thoughts, etc., is the prefrontal cortex.
- Primary Motor Cortex: This area helps in the initiation of voluntary movements of the body.
- Primary Somatosensory Cortex: This is where the tactile information from the body is received.
- Sensory Association Area: The process of multisensory information occurs in this area.
- Visual Association Area: This region helps in complex processing of visual information.
- Visual Cortex: Simple visual stimuli is located in this area.