Introduction    Forebrain    Midbrain    Hindbrain    Spinal Cord    Cerebral Vasculature  

More maps of the brain
    Spinal cord
    Limbic system
    Coronal section
    Cerebral vasculature


Brain Atlas

Forebrain Forebrain

The forebrain is the largest part of the brain, most of which is made up of the cerebrum. Other important structures found in the forebrain include the thalamus, the hypothalamus and the limbic system.

The cerebrum is divided into two cerebral hemispheres connected by a mass of white matter known as the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is divided into four lobes: frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal. The surface of each hemisphere is made up of grey matter known as the cerebral cortex and is highly folded to increase the cortical surface area available within the confines of the skull. The cortex controls perception, memory, and all higher cognitive functions, including the ability to concentrate, reason and think in abstract form.

Unfolded, the highly convoluted cortex of the brain would extend over 2 square metres.

Beneath the cortex is white matter, within which a number of nuclei (grey matter), known as the basal nuclei are found. The basal nuclei receive information from the cortex to regulate skeletal movement and other higher motor functions.

The thalamus relays sensory information to the cerebral cortex and the hypothalamus regulates visceral functions, such as temperature, reproductive functions, eating, sleeping and the display of emotion. The limbic system is a collection of structures within the forebrain, including the amygdala hippocampus. Also known as the 'emotional brain', the limbic system is important in the formation of memories and in controlling emotions, decisions, motivation and learning.

Disorders that affect the forebrain



Cerebral cortex

depressionHuntington's diseasemania



  • frontal lobe

Alzheimer's diseasedepressionmania

  • parietal lobe
Alzheimer's disease
  • temporal lobe

Alzheimer's diseasedepressionmania

Limbic system

  • amygdala

depression, anxiety
  • hippocampus

Alzheimer's diseasemania


Last updated: 20.12.2011





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