Cerebrum: What to Know

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on September 01, 2022

The cerebrum is the largest part of your brain and is responsible for many critical everyday functions. This article will give you greater insight into the cerebrum and its vital functions.

What Is the Cerebrum?

The cerebrum is the single largest part of your brain, divided into two halves called hemispheres. The cerebrum contains different regions that carry out critical functions.

Some interesting facts about the cerebrum:

  • The activity done by one side of your body is typically controlled by the other side of your brain. For example, a stroke on the right side of your brain would affect your left side functions.
  • The cerebrum makes up roughly 80% of the brain’s volume in an average adult.
  • To give you an idea of the cerebrum’s size, it’s around three times the size of a baseball and weighs between 2 and 2.5 pounds.
  • Your brain tissues consist primarily of water, which amounts to 77% of the brain mass. In addition, it also contains lipids (11%) and proteins (8%), while other substances make up the remaining 4%.
  • Although different parts of your brain carry out different functions, the notion of a “left-brained” or “right-brained” individual is considered something of a myth without any scientific proof.

Cerebrum Location

The cerebrum is located in your skull. It’s positioned at the top and front side of your brain.

Cerebrum Anatomy

The external layer of your cerebrum is called the cerebral cortex, mostly made up of smooth, folded tissue that looks similar to a walnut without a shell. The uneven surface of the cerebrum expands its surface area, which helps increase the gray matter within the skull and enhances brain function. The two halves of the cerebrum, called the left and right hemispheres, are separated by a deep indentation and are connected by the corpus callosum, a stack of nerve tissues. The primary responsibility of the corpus callosum is to enable communication between the two hemispheres.

The left and right hemispheres of your brain each have five parts called lobes that carry out cerebrum functions. These lobes are the:

Frontal lobe. As the name suggests, this part is at the front of your head. This lobe is responsible for functions like attention and regulating your behavior, including understanding the difference between right and wrong. It also controls your speech and specific muscle movements.

Parietal lobe. Located at the top of your head, this lobe plays an active role in experiencing physical sensations, including pain, and regulating your body temperature. Abilities such as depth perception (distinguishing how far an object is away from you) and assessment of an object’s size are also attributed to this part of the brain. The parietal lobe is involved in processing sounds, learning languages, counting numbers, and empowering your brain’s organizational and decision-making abilities.

Temporal lobe. This is situated on the side of your head. Tasks such as understanding languages spoken by others and identifying objects or people are attributed to this part of your cerebrum.

Occipital lobe. This part is located at the back of your head and handles a majority of your eyes’ inputs and your ability to perceive movement and colors.

Insular lobe. This part of your brain is situated below all the other lobes and regulates your sense of taste. The insular lobe is also believed to be responsible for processing emotions such as compassion and empathy.

Cerebrum Function

The cerebrum manages a considerable portion of your brain’s conscious activity, such as the five senses, speech, thoughts, emotions, reading, writing, and learning. Some parts of the cerebrum also control specific muscle functions. It stimulates and regulates movements and controls your body temperature. Other vital functions attributed to the cerebrum include problem-solving, and forming judgments. 

Notable regions that are key to the functioning of the cerebrum include the:

Thalamus. This acts as a dispatch station separating the information it gets from different sensory organs and then relaying these messages to different parts of the cerebrum. Except for smells, all sensory inputs flow through the thalamus. Smell inputs skip the thalamus and travel directly to the cerebrum.

Hypothalamus. This means “under the thalamus.” This region regulates activities in your endocrine and nervous systems, which manage significant physiological functions all over your body. For example, the hypothalamus regulates your body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Hippocampus. The hippocampus and the temporal lobe regulate and store memories in your cerebrum. The hippocampus also retrieves the information stored in your memories.

Cerebrum Damage

Conditions that impact your brain functions will typically harm your cerebrum. Some of the major health conditions that cause cerebrum damage include:

Some of the symptoms of cerebrum damage are:

  • Paralysis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Memory issues
  • Loss of muscle coordination causing specific body parts such as your hands to shake
  • Speech problems (difficulty understanding what others say and the inability to formulate speech)
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues and inability to use your hands for simple tasks (also known as ataxia)
  • Concentration issues
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Challenges with vision can range from blurred vision to total blindness

How to Take Care of the Cerebrum

The cerebrum plays a central role in several sensory and physiological functions. Keep these points in mind to make sure your cerebrum and brain remain in good health.

  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Too much alcohol affects your brain functions and increases your risk of stroke, memory loss, and balance issues. Drugs can damage your brain and increase your risk of stroke and seizures.
  • Eat a balanced diet containing essential nutrients. Deficiency of certain nutrients such as vitamin B12 can impair brain functions.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to keep your heart healthy, since your heart health impacts your brain. Stroke is often caused by heart problems.
  • Take necessary precautions to protect your head from injuries. This includes wearing appropriate safety equipment during work and other activities.
  • Injuries to your head can seriously affect your brain, causing concussions or traumatic brain injuries. Wearing safety equipment during work and play can protect your brain from these injuries.

Show Sources


Cleveland Clinic: “Cerebrum.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Brain Anatomy and How the Brain Works.”

National Cancer Institute: “Cerebrum.”

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