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Central nervous system (CNS): Introduction to the brain

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Name the 3 main parts of the brain.
  2. Identify the basic structural components of each main part; the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem.
  3. Describe the basic functions of the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem.

Watch video

The brain is an integral part of the central nervous system. It contains three main parts:

  • The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It is responsible for higher-order bodily functions such as vision, hearing, cognition, emotions, learning and fine control of movement.
  • The cerebellum sits below the cerebrum. It regulates motor functions such as balance, coordination and speech.
  • The brainstem connects the brain with the spinal cord. It controls the most lower-order bodily functions such as breathing and heart rate.

The following video will introduce you to the basic anatomy and function of the brain to get you started!

Take a quiz

You have watched the video and learned all about the different parts of the brain. Why not test this new knowledge in the quiz on basic anatomy and function of the brain? If you want to dive deeper into terminology, give the custom quiz a go!

Download the following PDF worksheets and learn the different parts of the brain.


Browse atlas

While studying the overview image, you have learned the relationship between each of the different parts of the brain. Now examine them one by one in the atlas gallery.


Key points
Parts of the brain Cerebrum, cerebellum, brainstem
Structural components of the parts of the brain Cerebrum: Frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital and insular lobe
: Vermis and hemispheres (anterior, posterior, flocculonodular lobes)
: Medulla oblongata, pons, midbrain
Basic functions of the parts of the brain Cerebrum: Higher bodily function (cognition, emotions, learning, voluntary movements)
: Motor functions (balance, coordination, speech)
: Lower bodily functions (breathing, heart rate)

Well done!

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