The parietal lobe: anatomy and function

The parietal lobe: anatomy and function

The parietal lobe is located near the center of the brain, behind the frontal lobe, in front of the occipital lobe, and above the temporal lobe.

It constitutes approximately one fifth of the cerebral cortex. Located in a central location, the parietal lobe receives projections from the frontal, occipital lobe and temporal lobes.


  • 1 Functions of the parietal lobe
  • 2 Curiosities of the parietal lobe
  • 3 Lesions of the parietal lobe

Functions of the parietal lobe

In general terms, the parietal lobe has two main functions: somatosensation and sensomotor integration. The parietal lobe can be considered as the "association cortex", since it integrates visual, auditory and somatosensory information in order to guide behavior.

The parietal lobe contains an area known as the primary sensory area. This is where the impulses of the skin, such as heat, cold, pain and touch, are interpreted. Like the primary motor zone in the frontal lobe, it is the sensory input that comes from an area of ​​the body (such as the fingers). The surface of the parietal lobe is involved in the information processing.

It is an essential element of the Spatial Information, gives us the ability to judge the size, distance and shape of objects. A specific triangular shaped area known as the parietal association cortex gives us the ability to understand written language and solve mathematical problems.

It is also essential in a series of cognitive functions such as attention, numerical processing and working memory. Together with the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe demonstrates the greatest expansion of evolution in terms of cortical size.

Curiosities of the parietal lobe

The left hemisphere of the parietal lobe is often more active in right-handed people. This lobe is mainly used in the management of the symbology of letters and numbers. The right hemisphere tends to be more active in left-handed people and helps with the interpretation of images and distances within them, such as those that exist on maps. Regardless of the use of the hands, one hemisphere or another does not predominate in people; we use both sides of the parietal lobe.

Lesions of the parietal lobe

People with parietal lobe damage often show deficits such as alterations in body image and spatial relationships.

The damages in the left parietal lobe they can give rise to what is called "Gerstmann syndrome"It includes right-left confusion, difficulty with writing (agraphia) and difficulty with mathematics (acalculia). It can also cause language disorders (aphasia) and the inability to perceive objects normally (agnosia).

Damage to the right parietal lobe can result in not recognizing part of the body or space (hemispheric negligence), which can endanger many personal care skills such as dressing and washing. Injuries to the right side can also cause difficulty in doing things (constructive apraxia), denial of deficits (anosognosia) and drawing ability.

Bilateral damage (large lesions on both sides) can cause "Balint's syndrome"This is characterized by the inability to voluntarily control the look (ocular apraxia), inability to integrate components of a visual scene (simultanagnosia), and the inability to accurately reach an object with a visual guide (optical ataxia).


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