The Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex is the largest part of the brain and is the area that is responsible for all our thinking activities. It is divided into two connected halves – the left and right cerebral hemispheres.

The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left. For example, if a person sustains a brain injury, such as a stroke, to the left hemisphere in the area of the cerebral cortex that controls movement, this may result in weakness or even paralysis of the right arm and leg.

In most people, the left hemisphere primarily controls verbal functions such as speech and language while the right hemisphere primarily controls visual spatial (non-verbal) functions such as those involved in drawing, rhythm or finding one’s way in unfamiliar surroundings. The hemispheres are known to process material in different ways with the left cerebral hemisphere specialising in processing material in a sequential and logical manner and the right cerebral hemisphere processing information in a holistic and intuitive way.

The cerebral cortex is further divided into four areas, or lobes:

1. The Frontal Lobes
2. The Temporal Lobe
3. The Parietal Lobe
4. The Occipital Lobe

Each lobe of the brain controls specific functions and skills.