What is the Cerebrum? – Definition, Functions & Location

The cerebrum is a structure found in the brain. In this lesson, we will identify where the cerebrum is located in the brain and why it is vital to your everyday life.
What is the Cerebrum?
How do you tell the difference between a quarter and a dime when you reach into your front pocket in search of correct change? The answer to this question is found in your cerebrum. Your cerebrum is the main part of the brain in humans and other vertebrates. Functionally, it obtains information from your surroundings and/or body and then sends that information to a specific part of the cerebrum. The cerebrum interprets the knowledge and decides what must happen next. In short, your cerebrum, although approximately the size of a cantaloupe, holds the instructions for everything you do in your daily life.
The cerebrum is located in the upper part of the cranial cavity, which is a space inside the top of the skull. It is divided into a right hemisphere and a left hemisphere by a deep groove known as the longitudinal fissure. The right half of the cerebrum controls the left side of the body. The left half of the cerebrum controls the right side of the body. The two halves are linked by the corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibers. The corpus callosum passes messages between the two halves so that they can communicate with one another.
Cerebral hemispheres separated by the longitudinal fissure.
Cerebral hemispheres
Lobes and Functions
The cerebrum is divided into four regions called lobes that control senses, thoughts, and movements. The four lobes are the occipital, temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes. Although each lobe has a different task to perform, they all must work together.
The occipital lobe, found in the back of your cerebrum, plays a role in processing visual information. It can be related to oculus, the Latin word for eye.
There are two temporal lobes, one in each hemisphere – close to where your ears are. It primarily functions in auditory processing. However, it may also be involved in emotion, learning, and pronunciation/learning a new language. If you hear a loud tempo or beat, you may cover your ears, thus blocking the sounds from getting to your temporal lobe.
The frontal lobe allows you to solve a complex task, undergo voluntary movement of your body parts, form complete sentences, and is responsible for your personality traits. Think about the last time you had a difficult exam, what was your first reaction? You probably put your elbow on the table and your hand on your forehead, precisely where your frontal lobe is located.
The parietal lobe functions in general sensation and feeling. If you stand too close to a campfire, you probably take a few steps backwards to avoid the excessive heat. Building a snowman without gloves may also bring you discomfort, but your parietal lobe helps to communicate this information with the rest of your brain. Although all sensations are not bad, it is important to point out how they help us avoid potentially harmful situations. The parietal lobe is found in between the frontal and occipital lobe.
Parts Within the Lobes
Throughout the cerebrum we find elevated regions called gyri (gyrus for singular). They help to separate the lobes based on its functional roles and increase the overall size of the cerebrum. The specific gyrus used for motor functions in the frontal lobe is called the pre-central gyrus; whereas the gyrus used for sensory function in the parietal lobe is called the post-central gyrus. An example of a motor function may include reaching into your pocket for correct change. A sensory function would be the feeling you get when touching the two coins. Finally, the central sulcus is a deepened groove used to separate the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe.
Cerebrum with four lobes.
Cerebrum with four lobes
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