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Updated July 2008

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Surface & Mid-Line Brain Functions Map

Brain Lobe Functions and Observed Problems

This information was developed by Robert P. Lehr, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University.



The Parietal Lobe is the location for:
* Visual attention.
* Touch perception.
* Goal directed voluntary movements.
* Manipulation of objects.
* Integration of different senses allowing for the understanding of a single concept.
Observed problems include:
*Inability to attend to more than one object at a time.
*Inability to name an object (Anomia).
*Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia).
*Problems with reading (Alexia).
*Difficulty with drawing objects.
*Difficulty in distinguishing left from right.
*Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia).
*Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia) that leads to difficulties in self-care.
*Inability to focus visual attention.
*Difficulties with eye and hand coordination.


The Frontal Lobe is the location for:
*How we know what we are doing within our environment (Consciousness).
*How we initiate activity in response to our environment.
*Judgments we make about what occurs in our daily activities.
*Controls our emotional response.
*Controls our expressive language.
*Assigns meaning to the words we choose.
*Involves word associations.
*Memory for habits and motor activities.
Observed problems include:
*Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis).
*Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing).
*Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others.
*Loss of flexibility in thinking.
*Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration).
*Inability to focus on task (Attending).
*Mood changes (Emotionally Labile).
*Changes in social behavior.
*Changes in personality.
*Difficulty with problem solving.
*Inability to express language (Broca's Aphasia).


The Occipital Lobe is the location for:
Observed problems include:
*Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts).
*Difficulty with locating objects in environment.
*Difficulty with identifying colors (Color Agnosia).
*Production of hallucinations.
*Visual illusions - inaccurately seeing objects.
*Word blindness - inability to recognize words.
*Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects.
*Inability to recognize the movement of an object (Movement Agnosia).
*Difficulties with reading and writing.


The Temporal Lobe is the location for:
*Hearing ability.
*Memory acquisition.
*Some visual perceptions.
*Categorization of objects.
Observed problems include:
*Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia).
*Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke's Aphasia).
*Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear.
*Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about objects.
*Short-term memory loss.
*Interference with long-term memory.
*Increased or decreased interest in sexual behavior.
*Inability to categorize objects (Categorization).
*Right lobe damage can cause persistent talking.
*Increased aggressive behavior.


The Cerebellum is the location for:
*Coordination of voluntary movement.
*Balance and equilibrium.
*Some memory for reflex motor acts.
Observed problems include:
*Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements.
*Loss of ability to walk.
*Inability to reach out and grab objects.
*Dizziness (Vertigo).
*Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech).
*Inability to make rapid movements.


The Brain Stem is the location for:
*Heart Rate.
*Reflexes to seeing and hearing (Startle Response).
*Controls sweating, blood pressure, digestion, temperature (Autonomic Nervous System).
*Affects level of alertness.
*Ability to sleep.
*Sense of balance.
Observed problems include:
*Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech.
*Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia).
*Difficulty with organization/perception of the environment.
*Problems with balance and movement.
*Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo).
*Sleeping difficulties (Insomnia, sleep apnea).

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