Brain Function

Brain Function as it Relates to Addiction

Different areas in the brain serve different functions, but the interaction of each area contributes to our sense of cognition (a set of ideas or whole thought ).

  • Vision:occipital lobes
  • Movement:central motor strip
  • Hearing and language are controlled by the temporal lobes.
  • Vision and hearing interact at the boundary between the occipital lobes and the temporal lobes.
  • Sensation is experienced adjacent to and just behind the motor strip.
  • The Executive functions:frontal lobes.
  • Unconscious experience of emotion: amygdala, completely bypassing the cortex and are stored away in a part of the implicit memory system.

Vision encompasses images coming from our eyes go directly to the visual cortex in the back of the brain, the occipital lobes. The interpretation of what we just saw involves other areas of the brain that include language, sensation and emotional interpretation and finally the ability to abstractly put in perspective what is being seen.

Movement is controlled by a very narrow area of the brain, a band running across the head from ear to ear, called the central motor strip. If this area is injured, movement will be impaired, along with attention, concentration, access to memory and many other important functions.

 

Hearing and language are controlled by the temporal lobes. In the 95% of people who are right handed, (left brain dominant), this function resides in the left temporal lobe. Identification of musical sounds and noises is handled by the right temporal lobe, along with our ability to discriminate emotions, social behavior, anger and unspoken subjective understanding.

Vision and hearing interact at the boundary between the occipital (seeing) lobes and the temporal (hearing) lobes. In this area, we convert a visual stimulus (for instance, printed words) into an abstract concept or idea which may be based upon any of our sensory systems such as sound or sight. If there is abnormality of this area, we may experience one of the many forms of dyslexia, the inability to convert the written word into language.

Sensation is experienced in the area of the brain immediately adjacent to and just behind the motor strip. These sensations come in from our sensory systems and are experienced as raw feelings independent of emotional interpretations. Within this same area of the brain is the association cortex; where we learn to associate feelings with different sensory input. (ie: when you hear music that may remind you of a good time or smell an odor that had an unpleasant memory associated with it)

The Executive Functions, planning and organization occur in the frontal lobes. Conscious subjective experience of emotion also occurs in this area.

Unconscious experience of emotion (things which are locked in to the physical body, or the autonomic nervous system) is experienced by the amygdala, completely bypassing the cortex and the conscious mind and are stored away in a part of the implicit memory system. (Fight or Flight)