Your Brain’s “Lobes,” How They Work and How an Injury Can Affect Your Daily Life

Brain Injury

By Nathan D. Williams, Staff Writer

The human brain is a marvelous creation, and by far the most complex “organ” in your body. Within it is up to 100 billion neurons that all work together to help us with a variety of everyday and not so everyday tasks.

Most of us rarely think about our brain’s function unless we start noticing a problem – for the most part, we take our ability to process smells, sights or even perform the most mundane tasks like brushing our teeth for granted.

But if an injury occurs in one of the following four lobes of the brain, what seemed like a basic task becomes almost impossible.

Before understanding the impacts of a brain injury, we must first understand the basic function of the brain. Generally speaking, the human brain can be divided into the four sections or “lobes.”

Continue reading for a brief description of each lobe, including their location in the brain, their specific function in your daily life, and how injuries affect you.

Frontal Lobe

Located in the front of your brain or central “sulcus,” the frontal lobe is essentially what controls our emotions and social behavior. Because of its location, it’s the most commonly injured lobe. Important functions of the frontal lobe include: problem solving, reasoning, regulating emotions, motor skill development and more. The frontal lobe also receives and processes information from other lobes in the brain.

Injuries to this lobe are marked by personality changes (i.e. outbursts, etc.) and more risky behavior.

Parietal Lobe

Located in the center-top part of the brain, the parietal lobe is responsible for processing information from sight, smell and other senses. It also helps us coordinate spatial relations so we can make sense of our environment. With that in mind, the parietal lobe is how we sense pain or when someone touches us, how we move and visually orient ourselves and how we process other information. The parietal lobe also regulates the body’s five senses and is also responsible for speech.

Injuries to this lobe result in problems with spatial perception, reading, writing and understanding language.

Temporal Lobe

Located on the bottom of your brain, this lobe is closest to your ears and is the first point of contact sound and language has with our brain. It is a critical part of how we hear everything from normal conversation to noises indicating danger. The temporal lobe is also home to the hippocampus, or the region of the brain that transfers short-term memories into long-term ones, including visual and verbal memories.

Injuries to the temporal lobe generally result in difficulty processing sounds, increased challenges with concentration, decline in long-term memory and changes in personality.

Occipital Lobe

Located at the back of the brain, the occipital lobe’s primary job is to process visual information. It is the smallest of the four main lobes in the cerebral cortex.  Besides visual processing, the occipital lobe is also responsible for visual-spatial processing and recognizing movement and colors.

Although this lobe is well protected by the skull and injury is less likely to occur, damage can result in the inability to recognize colors, objects and difficulty understanding language.

Each lobe can also be divided into two main regions – the left brain and the right brain. Which symptoms an injured person has depends on the side and lobe where the injury occurs.

Visit the next post in our series to learn more about how an injury can differ depending on whether it impacts the left or right side of the brain.

And if you’ve sustained a brain injury due to another party’s negligence, we urge you to search our directory to find an attorney in your state who can evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim.


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