066 The Anatomy and Function of the Parietal Lobe

Today, Leslie discusses the parts and functions of the parietal lobe. Among it’s parts, Wernicke’s area is said to help us understand spoken language. The parietal lobe is also involved in other processes such as perceiving and processing somatosensory events. Watch the video to learn more in detail as Leslie talks about the anatomy and functions of this part of the brain.

Transcript of Today’s Episode

Hello and welcome to another episode of Interactive-Biology TV where we’re making Biology fun! My name is Leslie Samuel and in this episode, Episode 066, I am going to be talking about the anatomy and functions of the parietal lobe. So, let’s get right into it.

The parietal lobe, as you can see here, is this region right here. We’re starting at the central sulcus, it goes down, and on the inferior end over here, we have the lateral cerebral fissure, and posteriorly, we have the parietal occipital fissure that separates the parietal lobe from the occipital lobe.

The parietal lobe is primarily involved in perceiving and processing somatosensory events. We’re talking about things like touch, and temperature, and body position, and pain. The term that we use for body position is proprioception, and the term that we use for pain is nociception. So, proprioception and nociception, those are also involved in the processing of the parietal lobe. Let’s go a little more into that.

Here we have, on the most anterior end, we have the postcentral gyrus. Of course, the postcentral gyrus is going to be just posterior to the central sulcus. And then, we have the postcentral sulcus on the posterior end of that gyrus. The function of that gyrus is basically receiving somesthetic information. We’re talking about kinesthetic and tactile information. “Kinesthetic,” meaning body movements and “tactile” would be touch. That information comes in and it goes to the postcentral gyrus. There’s some processing that happens there for us to be able to recognize movements of body, and when we get touched we can feel that because of some of the processing that’s happening right here.

Of course, the left half of the brain, so the left postcentral gyrus is going to be getting information from the right side of the body, and the right postcentral gyrus is going to be receiving information from the left side of the body. Not only that, but it’s also what we call somatotopically organized. What that means is specific parts of the postcentral gyrus are going to receive information from specific parts of the body.

For example, if we are looking at the face and head, the information that’s coming from the face and the head are going to be processed in the most inferior parts of the postcentral gyrus. As we go more superior, we’re going to be starting to get input from the upper limbs. If we go more medial, we’re going more towards the center of the brain, we’re going to be getting information from the lower limbs.

So, it’s somatotopically organized, specific parts of this gyrus gets information from specific parts of the body. We’re going to see that a lot in the different parts of the brain. So, postcentral gyrus, we spoke about that.

Then, we have the superior parietal lobule, and of course, that’s going to be superior. What that does is it integrates sensory and motor functions. Then, we have the inferior parietal lobule. You can see that the superior and inferior parietal lobules are separated by this intraparietal sulcus. “Intraparietal,” “intra” means it’s inside, or in between. “Parietal,” the parietal lobe. That’s the intraparietal sulcus.

In the inferior parietal lobule, you see here we have the supramarginal gyrus and the angular gyrus. These two gyri receive input from the auditory and visual cortices, and of course, it’s processing auditory information and visual information. In order for us to see and hear, we’re getting information through this supramarginal gyrus and the angular gyrus.

Then, we have a specialized area that’s called Wernicke’s area. I know it looks different than I’m pronouncing it, but that’s the German pronunciation. What that helps us do is understand spoken language. So, someone is speaking to you, and you need to understand what they are saying. There’s processing that’s happening in the Wernicke’s area. Of course, in some cases, it’s more difficult to understand some people than others. (I’m sorry I shouldn’t have done that).

Okay, let’s continue. If there’s damage to this area, so if we have like lesions in the Wernicke’s area, that can result in Wernicke’s aphasia. What that is, is impairment of comprehension and repetition. You have a hard time understanding spoken language because of the damage in this area.

That’s pretty much it. That’s all I want to cover for this episode. As usual, I want to invite you to visit the website at www.Interactive-Biology.com for more Biology videos. You can also get the transcripts of every video that I have posted here, all of the Interactive-Biology TV videos, and a bunch of other resources to help make Biology fun.

That’s pretty much it for now, and I’ll see you on the next one.

42 Comments

  1. cjma229 February 6, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    Woops!! My bad!! Totally meant to type temporal!!! LOL

    Reply

  2. theewhatever February 6, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    Well in fact we are both right ;) I’m studying for an exam on friday and according to Snell’s: Wernicke’s area = area 22 (temporal lobe, to understand spoken language) + area 39 (angular gyrus – parietal lobe, to understand written language).
    The problem is that in the video he mixes the functions of the two areas.

    Reply

  3. cjma229 February 6, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Yes, the video does in fact mix them up. Looking at the individual differences between people the area tends to drift in its locale. It has a tendency to be in both areas. I had a neuroanatomy and brain/behavior classes that gave two different answers. I went to a neurologist I work with and he gave me the same answers. haha

    Reply

  4. theewhatever February 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    You’re a med student?! Well my teacher is a neurologist and he’s the one doing the exam, so I must trust on him LOL

    Reply

  5. Sherry Gilbert June 10, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    I’m mostly glad I found this! I’m just your average Joe looking for some information on the Parietal Lobe. It was easy for a layman to understand. An MRI showed an infarction in the parietal lobe and I’m going to the neurologist this afternoon for some details! It’ll be nice to go in at least a little knowledgeable. Unfortunately, you’re right. You shouldn’t have done that. The political joke was most unappreciated and not what I came here for.

    Reply

  6. Angelika Tovril June 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    thanks friend!

    Reply

  7. Kantian Nanbo August 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I am having so much pain induced for empirical data retrieval it’s BAD .R&D

    Reply

  8. Trevor Pickens October 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    How is this “making biology fun?”

    Reply

  9. Safar I October 19, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Thanks for this wonderful explanation . I have one question if you don’t mind .
    Q ) Damage to what part of the parietal lobe will cause Graphesthesia ?

    Reply

  10. Almomnbllah October 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for this wonderful explanation . I have one question if you don’t mind .

    Q ) Damage to what part of the parietal lobe will cause Graphesthesia ?

    Reply

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