How to Learn the Different Parts of the Brain
We all (hopefully) have a brain. Knowing about it can help us perform better in life and in any case it is a fascinating topic.
This article aims to help you learn the different parts of the brain and the functions associated with them, detailing different methods you could use to memorise them.
Method 1: Ordered Visualisation
- Look at a labelled diagram of the brain and choose a starting point.
- Choose a direction and go with it, learning and memorising each part of the brain as you pass it.
- Look at a non-labelled picture of the brain and attempt to memorise each part of the brain in the order you saw it, picturing where along in the brain each part is as you do so.
- Do the same without a picture altogether. Look at one only when you cannot remember a part.
- Do not attempt to 'strain' yourself to remember something - this facilitates the forgetting process. It is more efficient to immediately refresh your memory.
Example: repeat the following words in your head:
'Frontal lobe -> Somatomotor cortex -> Somatosensory cortex -> Parietal lobe -> Occipital lobe -> Cerebellum -> Spinal cord -> Medulla oblongata -> Temporal lobe' and imagine in your head where you are along the brain as you go from left to right and circle back round to your starting point.
Method 2: Landmark Memories
This technique involves utilising the brain's natural tendency to focus on certain pieces of information. Applying this to the brain:
- Look at a picture of the brain and simply pick out parts of it that you find easy to remember.
- For example, the pituitary gland, cerebellum and brain stem all have distinct shapes and/or textures and so it is easier to remember where they are.
- Once you have done this, you have a good basis to learn the other parts.
- You will be able to say "I know the pituitary gland is located between the brain stem and the cerebrum"
If you look in the diagram above, you'll notice that the cerebellum and pineal gland also have distinct features, as well as the cerebrum, brain stem and spinal cord.
This technique makes it a lot easier to differentiate the different parts of the brain in your head, because most brain parts look very similar!
Method 3: Memory Techniques
Pick your favourite. There's nothing wrong with learning the different brain parts in a haphazard order, though this is not preferable to many people. You can, however, use memory techniques to learn different sides or parts of the brain to add some order to the information.
For example, an acronym I use to remember the back of the brain is SSPOCS which sounds like 'Spocks' (from Star Trek, duh!) This lets me remember that the correct order is:
- Somatomotor cortex,
- Somatosensory cortex,
- Parietal lobe,
- Occipital lobe,
- Spinal cord.
As for the left side of the brain, I use the mnemonic 'Full Time Mother' which signifies to me "Frontal lobe, Temporal Lobe and Medulla oblongata". All I have to do is remember there is a full time mother at the front of my brain and remembering becomes easy!
Tip: If you have a series of three letters that you can't seem to relate to anything, try Googling the letters and see what existing acronyms exist for those letters.
The letters FTM didn't mean anything to me until I saw that it can mean 'Full Time Mother' on Wikipedia!
If you have your own awesome ways of remembering important information, share it with the rest of the world via this hub and anything you can find yourself on! Just leave a friendly comment in the section at the end and Jesus, or Gandhi or Karma will reward you!