THE CEREBRAL CORTEX -

Simply put, the cerebral cortex is the outer and largest part of the brain that covers its smaller parts.

It contains gray matter (neurons) responsible for the "higher" functions of thinking and information processing such as language and information processing


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Cortical Area
Function
Primary Motor Cortex
Initiation of voluntary movement
Motor Association Cortex
Coordination of complex movement
Prefontal Cortex
Problem solving, emotion, complex thought
Speech Center
Speech production and aritcualtion
Auditory Center
Detection of sound quality (ex. loudness and tone)
Auditory Association Area
Complex processing of auditory information (sound)
Visual Cortex
Detection of simple visual stimuli
Visual Association Area
Complex processing of visual information
Sensory Association Cortex
processing of multisensory information
Primary Somatosensory Cortex
Recieve tactile information from the body
Wernicke's Area
Deals with language comprehension

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Wernicke's Area


The Cerbral Cortex is composed of six layers. Listed from most superior to most inferior, these layers are;
  1. molecular layer, -the most superior layer of the cortex. It contains the cell bodies of neuroglial cells.
  2. external granular layer -very dense and contains small granular cells and small pyramidal cells
  3. medial pyramidal layer- contains pyramidal cells arranged in row formation. The cell bodies of some association fibers are found here.
  4. internal granular layer -thin, but its cell structure is the same as that of the external granular layer.
  5. the ganglionic layer- contains small granular cells, large pyramidal cells as well as the cell bodies of some association fibers. The association fibers that originate here form two large tracts: The Bands of Baillarger and Kaes Bechterew.
  6. fusiform or multiform layer- function is unknown.

Brodmann's Classification System

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Studies done by Brodmann in the early part of the twentieth century generated a map of the cortex covering the lobes of each hemisphere. These studies involved electrical probing of the cortices of epileptic patients during surgery. Brodmann numbered the areas that he studied in each lobe and recorded the psychological and behavioral events that accompanied their stimulation.