Neuropsychologists and Brain Health

Fadi Tayim, PhD, Division Chief of Neuropsychology at the Clinical Neuroscience Institute, answers frequently asked questions about the many ways neuropsychologists can assess brain function and health.

What are the different parts of the brain and what functions do they control?

Dr. Fadi Tayim discusses the different parts of the brain and the functions they are paired with. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What are the different parts of the brain and what functions do they control?

When we talk about brain functions it is important to break it down into lobes. We have the frontal lobe, which is right here, the parietal lobe that is more central, we have the occipital lobe and then we have the temporal lobes.

The frontal lobes are really our executive center. When you talk about higher order functions like planning, organizing, multitasking, even eliminating distractions in your environment, these are all things that are moderated and mediated by the frontal lobes. Most often people come and see me because they have some type of frontal lobe impairment. The reason why they see me is because that's most concerning to them. It's in their everyday environment where it's most salient, they see "I'm not functioning the way that I used to and I kind of want to figure out what's wrong." That's really the central focus of the frontal lobes.

The temporal lobes are really our memory center. Memory is stored all over the brain but when we talk about forming new memories, retrieving memories and consolidating memories, that's really the temporal lobes and that's done in the hippocampus. That's why when they think temporal lobe, you think hippocampal functions.

The occipital lobe is our visual cortex. It's involved in seeing objects, perceiving objects.

The parietal lobe, on the other hand, is involved with understanding the objects, making sense of what it is that we see.

The temporal lobe, parietal lobe and occipital lobe work together to create visual constructs and understand that what I'm looking at is a table. What I'm looking at there is a tree. It's taking this visual stimulus, deconstructing it and then reconstructing it to form the image. That's how I know what a tree is. It's linking all of those together. It's very rare for one part of your brain to function independent of the others because I can see an object but without the other lobe involvement, I can't make sense of what I'm seeing.

   

When we talk about brain functions it is important to break it down into lobes.

The frontal lobes are our executive center. When you talk about higher order functions like planning, organizing, multitasking, even eliminating distractions in your environment, these are all things that are moderated and mediated by the frontal lobes. Most often people come and see me because they have some type of frontal lobe impairment. It’s concerning to them because it affects their everyday environment. They may say, "I'm not functioning the way that I used to and I kind of want to figure out what's wrong."

The temporal lobes are our memory center. Memory is stored all over the brain, but when we talk about forming new memories, retrieving memories and consolidating memories, the temporal lobes are in charge and the work is done in the hippocampus.

The occipital lobe is our visual cortex. It's involved in seeing objects, perceiving objects.

The parietal lobe, on the other hand, is involved with understanding the objects, making sense of what we see.

The temporal lobe, parietal lobe and occipital lobes work together to create visual constructs and understand that what you’re looking at is a table or a tree. It's taking these visual stimuli, deconstructing them and then reconstructing everything to form an image. That's how you know what a tree is. It's linking all of those together. It's very rare for one part of your brain to function independently of the others because you can see an object but without involvement from the other lobes, you can't make sense of what you’re seeing.

Source: Fadi Tayim, PhD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; American Psychological Association; American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology