Articles: Mapping the Mind

A basic understanding of the Human brain is crucial to any discussion about it. The more scientists and doctors learn about this complex organ, the greater the implications of those findings. But while it’s important to increase our knowledge, the amount of information about its various parts and functions is dizzying. For our purposes, I’ve composed a simple glossary for reference. (NOTE: this platform deleted– without warning or notice– some content, so this has been updated since I originally posted it. Hopefully, now it’s more useful since I’ve added terms and definitions back in!)


ARACHNOID: the second layer of the meninges, which is thin and delicate, covers the entire brain with elastic tissue and blood vessels (The subdural space is between the dura and the arachnoid.)

BRAIN STEM: aptly-named, it extends into the spinal cord

CEREBRUM: thick gray matter, which has two hemispheres– the left and the right

CEREBELLUM: the area at the back of the brain beneath the occipital lobes responsible for fine motor movements and sense of balance (the 2 sides are joined at the bottom by the corpus callosum)

CEREBRAL CORTEX: a densely packed network of nerves on the outer surface of the cerebrum

CEREBROSPINAL FLUID (CSF): clear, watery fluid that circulates in and around the brain and spinal cord produced in hollow channels (ventricles)

CORPUS COLLOSUM: nerve fibers that connect both of the cerebrum’s hemispheres

CRANIUM: the bony covering that protects the brain

DIENCEPHALONthe epithalamus, thalamus, subthalamus, and hypothalamus (just above the brain stem between the cerebral hemispheres)

DORSAL THALAMUS: the large part of the diencephalon at the back of the hypothalamus (excluding the subthalamus)

DURA MATER: the inner layer of film/ membrane that lines the inside of the skull and creates folds/ compartments (2 special folds are the falx, which separates the right and left halves of the brain and the tentorium, which separates the upper and lower parts of the brain)

EPITHALAMUS: the pineal body and adjacent structures; responsible for regulating hormones secreted by the pineal gland

FRONTAL LOBE: the area behind the forehead responsible for cognitive functions, controls voluntary movements

HIPPOCAMPUS: a thin curved region within the temporal lobe that affects memory and spatial navigation

HYPOTHALAMUS: a small structure that contains nerve connections that handle information from the autonomic nervous system and send messages to the pituitary gland. It helps regulates eating, sleeping, body temperature, emotions and secretion of hormones

MENINGES: multi-layered membranes (tissue) that envelop the brain and spinal cord (from outermost layer inward: dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater)

OCCIPITAL LOBE: the area at the back of the responsible for vision

PARIETAL LOBE: the area near the top back that integrates sensory perception into voluntary movements

PERIOSTEUM: the outer layer of film/ membrane that lines the inside of the skull

PIA MATER: the layer of meninges, full of blood vessels that also supply the brain with blood, closest to the surface of the brain (The Subarachnoid space, in which cerebrospinal fluid flows separates the arachnoid and the pia.)

PINEAL GLAND: a tiny cone-shaped endocrine gland in the center of the brain, a source of melatonin (a hormone derived from tryptophan that plays a central role in the regulation of circadian rhythm

PITUITARY GLAND: though small, the “master gland” attached to the base of the brain (behind the nose) that controls the secretion of hormones, the function of various body organs and other glands

SKULL: the cranium together with the bones that protect the face

SUBDURAL: beneath dura mater

TEMPORAL LOBE: the side area above each ear that controls hearing, some visual perception and memory

THALAMUS: the hypothalamus, the epythalamus, the ventral thalamus and the dorsal thalamus serve as a relay station for almost all information that comes and goes to the cortex and plays a role in pain sensation, attention and alertness 


More detailed Anatomy of the Human brain with diagrams:

American Association of Neurological Surgeons


Mayfield clinic

Centre for Neuro Skills

free medical dictionary

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