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The Cerebral Cortex
Module 12
12-1 What are the functions of the
various cerebral cortex regions?
• The people who first dissected brains used Latin
& Greek to names parts….. Cortex means “bark”
• Cerebral cortex = brain bark (If you don’t think
that’s awesome, there’s NO hope for you!)
• While the older brain networks sustain basic
function, the newer neural networks are
specialized work teams that enable us to
perceive, think, speak, & learn
Structure of the Cortex
• Glial cells – “glue” cells in the nervous system that
support, nourish, & protect neurons
• If neurons = queen bees, then glial cells = workers
Subdivisions of the cortex (lobes)
Motor & Sensory Cortex
• Autopsies of people who had been paralyzed or
unable to speak discovered damages to key areas
of the cortex.
• Scientists then began experimenting with
electrical stimulation of animal brains & found
selective control related to one area (Fritsch &
• Foerster & Penfield mapped this motor cortex
using wide-awake patients
This is what you look like
according to your brain!
So what?
• Delgado (1969) showed that left hemisphere
controls right side of body despite patient
attempts to control responses
• “I guess, Doctor, that your electricity is stronger
than my will.”
• Brain-computer interfaces & cognitive neural
Association Areas
Phineas Gage
• Damage to association areas can alter
personality & higher mental functions
The danger of “Neo-phrenology”
• Research has shown
that some
specialization in
neural networks (e.g.
Broca’s, Wernicke’s,
face recognition)
• We must be wary of
brain “hot spots”
leading us to believe
that complex
function can be
Our mental experiences arise from coordinated brain
12-2 To what extent can a damaged brain
reorganize itself, and what is neurogenesis?