TBI Brain Function

Brain Function as it Relates to Head Injury

Different network systems in the brain serve and create different functions, and the interaction of each area contributes to our sense of cognition (a set of ideas or whole thought ) and how we interact in the world around us.

  • 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.

brainEmotionMemoryBehavior

Vision: 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 see involves other areas of the brain and interaction of additional brain networks 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 brain functions.

Hearing and language are controlled by the temporal lobes. In 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 (visual) 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 an abnormality or disconnect in 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 include planning and organization and occur in the frontal lobes. Conscious subjective experience of emotion also occurs in this area.

Unconscious experience of emotion (things which are locked in 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)