Brain Model

The human brain can be divided into four distinct lobes – the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes.


Each lobe is associated with different cognitive functions.


This interactive brain map will walk you through the major cognitive functions associated with each lobe within the brain. It should be noted, however, that while this map provides a broad overview of the major cognitive functions associated with each lobe, that cognitive processes generally involve distributed networks of brain activity.

Frontal Lobe

  • Front = Frontal Lobe
  • Top = Parietal Lobe
  • Middle = Temporal Lobe
  • Back = Occipital Lobe


•         Executive function (planning, logical reasoning, judgment, inhibitory control)

•         Working memory (conscious online holding and manipulation of information)

•         Sequencing ideas, words, or actions

•         Language production

•         Motor output

Parietal Lobe

•         Primary area for touch perception

•         Integrates vision, touch, and sound information to form a coherent experience and map of spatial locations

•         Calculation ability

•         Stores time/space formulas to guide learned movements including writing

Temporal Lobe

•         Storage and retrieval functions for long-term memories of facts and events

•         Visual recognition of objects and faces

•         Primary area for sound perception

•         Language comprehension (decoding of speech sounds, written words, or braille into meaningful concepts)

•         Emotional processing

Occipital Lobe

•         Visual Processing Center

•         The images from each eye are combined into one stable image (note- right and left eye images are combined into one overall image)

•         Many different images are sent to the occipital lobe each time that we blink, this area processes many frames at once to create a continuous image.

PS200 Brain Model. (2017). Lobes. Retrieved from


The use of previous knowledge to gather and interpret stimuli registered by the senses. Perception requires both bottom-up and top-down processing.

PerceptionPerception uses previous knowledge to gather and interpret the stimuli registered by the senses.

You combined (1) information registered by your eyes, (2) your previous knowledge about the shape of the letters of the alphabet, and (3) your previous knowledge about what to expect when your visual system has already processed the fragment perceptio-. Notice that perception combines aspects of both the outside world (the visual stimuli) and your own inner world (your previous knowledge). This observation provides a good example of Theme 5 of this book. In order to make sense of the world around you, perception combines bottom-up and top-down processing.

bottom-up processing

The kind of cognitive processing that emphasizes stimulus characteristics in object recognition and other cognitive tasks. For example, the physical stimuli from the environment are registered on the sensory receptors. This information is then passed on to higher, more sophisticated levels in the perceptual system.

top-down processing

The kind of cognitive processing that emphasizes the importance of concepts, expectations, and memory in object recognition and other cognitive tasks.

Practice Quiz Questions

The visual information registered by the sensory receptors of the retina is known as the:

distal stimulus.


dorsal stream.

proximal stimulus.

The study of object recognition or pattern recognition focuses on ways in which:

sensory processes transform and organize raw information provided by sensory receptors.

previous knowledge always gives rise to accurate perception of environmental stimuli.

template-matching processes underlie the direct perception of objects and patterns.

sensory receptors use a proximal stimulus to manufacture a new distal stimulus in the external world.

The way people recognize simple visual patterns (such as letters of the alphabet) is partially explained by a feature-analysis process, which involves the analysis of combinations of distinctive features. Similarly, the way people recognize complex objects (such as coffee cups) is partially explained by a recognition-by-components process, which involves the analysis of combinations of:



figure–ground relationships.


Suppose that you are looking at an advertisement that features a large figure. At first, you think you are looking at a star. However, when you look closer, you realize that some of the star’s edges are not actually shown on the paper, yet they seem to be physically present. This perceptual experience is called:

a template.

an example of bottom-up processing.

a distinctive feature.

an illusory contour.

Feature-analysis approaches:

state that we store a template for each letter of the alphabet.

cannot explain how we manage to recognize handwritten letters of the alphabet.

are contradicted by neuroscience research.

make predictions about why an R would be confused with a P, rather than a W.