About the lobes of the brain

the four lobes

The largest part of the brain, called the cerebrum, is divided into two cerebral hemispheres (left and right). Each hemisphere can be split in four regions, also called lobes. Each lobe is in charge of different functions or tasks but they are all connected and work very closely together.

Frontal lobes

The frontal lobes sit in the front and the top of the brain, and they are involved in:

  • Controlling your muscles and movement of your body
  • Reasoning , thinking skills, problem solving and safety awareness
  • Behaviour and emotions
  • Memory
  • Personality

The frontal lobes are very vulnerable, not only because they sit right at the front of the brain which is the place you are most likely to hit in an accident or fall; but because the part of the skull that supports the frontal lobe has a rugged surface with sharp edges. When the brain bounces back and forth in the skull, for example when the head hits a surface, the brain is dragged back and forth over this sharp surface, grating the fragile brain tissue, causing a lot of damage.

People who have damaged their frontal lobes may have difficulties with movement such as activating and controlling the muscles in their arms or legs. They may have difficulties with finding the motivation to participate in an activity, lack insight into their limitations – so they may, for example, try to stand up when they do not have the balance to do so - or are unable to solve a problem. People with frontal lobe damage may also be more challenging in their behaviour and show signs of violence or aggression; or they may be unable to control their frustration or anger or stop themselves from saying inappropriate things.

Temporal lobes

The temporal lobes sit on the side of your brain, just above your ears, and are involved in:

  • Speech
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Memory
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Emotions

The left and right temporal lobes each have a slightly different role to play. For example, people who have damaged their right temporal lobe may have problems recognising faces, or they may talk excessively. People with left-sided temporal lobe damage may have problems with understanding spoken language, remembering spoken language or recognising words. They may also have difficulties with solving mathematic problems.

People who have damaged their temporal lobes may have short-term memory loss. They may also show increased sexual behaviour or increased aggression.

Occipital lobes

The occipital lobes sit on the back of the brain and mainly control vision. People who damage their occipital lobes may not recognise what their eyes are picking up. They may have difficulties with finding objects or recognizing colors. Sometimes damage in this area of the brain may also lead to hallucinations or visual illusions.

Parietal lobes

The parietal lobes sit on the top of the brain behind the frontal lobes and above the temporal lobes.

They are involved in:

  • Reasoning
  • Left/right discrimination
  • Language
  • Sensation
  • Reading
  • Attention
  • Mathematics

People who have damaged their parietal lobe may have problems with sensation or feeling such as touch, or they may have problems with proprioception, or feeling where their body is in space or what movement their body is making. They may have difficulties with distinguishing right from left, with eye-hand coordination or with performing certain activities – a condition called dyspraxia. It may mean they are unable to dress themselves because they cannot put on a T-shirt or trousers or even know which way round to turn a piece of clothing so that it’s the right way up.

From a language point of view, they may have difficulties with naming objects – a condition called anomia - or have difficulty with writing, called agraphia, or have problems with reading, called alexia.

Someone with damage to their parietal lobe may also have difficulties with dividing their attention Like the right and left temporal lobe, the right and left parietal lobe have slightly different roles to play. People who damage their right parietal lobe may neglect the left side of their body (left neglect).

Learn more about the
brain and what it does
ABI Rehab
When damage to the brain happens immediately as a direct result of an injury it is called primary brain damage.
Learn more about the
brain and what it does
ABI Rehab
We need to know what a healthy brain looks like and how it works, before we can understand what can go wrong when it is injured.
Learn more about the
effects of brain injuries
ABI Rehab
A person with a brain injury does not necessarily show all of the effects described below...
Determining the severity
of brain injury
ABI Rehab
Although some of the brain damage happens at or around the time of injury, further damage happens in the hours and days after...