Ways to Divide the Brain: when we look at current brain terminology, we see a mixture of naming systems. Early investigators named structures after themselves or objects or ideas. They used different languages, especially Latin, Greek, and English. Many names for nervous system structures include information about anatomical location. (Kolb, 38-39)

During "embryogenesis" the brain is subdivided into five continuous regions. As the brain grows in size and complexity, these regions fold upon and over one another, so that in the adult the evidence of these subdivisions is no longer clearly apparent. If the adult brain is viewed in three dimensions, only three regions are clearly visible, and these are the "cerebrum,"  "cerebellum," and part of the "brainstem." (Patestas, 68)

Brain Region: anatomical area of the brain. The idea that different regions of the brain are specialized for different purposes is central to modern brain science. (Kandel, 123) Also referred to as 'area,’  ‘brain area.’

Brodmann Areas: a numerical system invented by German neuroanatomist Korbinian Brodman, in which “cortical” regions were allocated a number: “area 1,”  “area 2,” and so on. (Bainbridge, 252) Based on studies conducted with the microscope. (Blumenfeld, 30) Defined geographic regions in the human “cerebral cortex,” numbering them from 1 through 52, according to the sequence in which he (prepared the slides). Some of these divisions are still used today, though most of them have shifted based on physiological criteria unavailable at that time. (Koch, 117)

By Brain Development: editor’s note - these references describe brain growth and development areas.


By Brain Function: editor’s note - this division focuses on areas of the "cerebral cortex.”

“Association” Areas
“Motor” Areas
“Sensory” Areas
“Vestibular” Areas
“Primary Auditory Cortex”
“Primary Somatosensory Cortex”
“Primary Visual Cortex”

By Central Nervous System Position: editor’s note - listed from top to bottom or “dorsal” to “ventral.”

          "Cerebral Hemispheres”
“Basal Ganglia”

By Colloquial Reference: editor’s note - the most commonly cited division.

"Brain Stem"

By Greek Reference: editor's note - includes five major regions, the largest being the “telencephalon.”