What Are the Functions of the Human Brain?

The brain works with the spinal cord, collectively known as the central nervous system, to operate as the body’s major control network of functions and abilities, and to perform functions such as enable conscious communication and ensure the automatic operation of vital organs. A large part of the brain’s physiological function is to receive information from the body, such as odors, sounds, light and pain, interpret that information, and guide the response to it.

The brain is divided into sections that include the brainstem, diencephalon, cerebellum and cerebrum. Each section of the brain has its own function. The largest part of the brain is the cerebrum, which is responsible for emotions, senses, speech and memory. The function of the cerebellum is to control motor function and balance, as well as interpret information received by the sensory organs. The brain stem’s function is to govern respiration, some reflexes and blood pressure. The diencephalon is responsible for sensory function, sleep cycles and food intake control.

The brain is a large and complex organ with 100 billion nerves that communicate through connections called synapses. Further divisions of the brain perform specific functions, including the cortex which is responsible for voluntary movement and thinking, the basal ganglia which are responsible for coordinating messages within the brain and the brain’s four lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital.