Brain Basics: The Frontal Lobes
Updated: Aug 8
We've all heard of the prefrontal cortex. We blame its development (or lack thereof) for our bad decisions. However this is just the most famous part of the frontal lobe of the brain. There is much more to these critical lobes in addition to their roles in decision making. I hope to give an overview of the basic functions of this lobe of the brain bellow, and how training them with neurofeedback can help with many aspects of daily life.
The frontal lobes are the portions of the brain located near the forehead. They are the largest brain lobes, and are responsible for many important functions. These include short term memory, emotional awareness and control, and executive functioning. Executive functioning is the ability to create, organize, motivate oneself to carry out a multistep plan. This includes avoiding distractions, as well as monitoring progress on the plan to eventually achieve a goal. This can be as simple as realizing the laundry needs to be done, going to the store, buying detergent, going home, washing, drying, folding at putting away the cleaned clothes; or as complicated as directing a large project at work.
The frontal lobes houses broca's area, the part of the brain responsible for the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings. Damage to this area of the brain specifically causes a person to be incapable to forming coherent speech. This means they are understand what is being told to them or asked of them, they are unable to from a response.
Because of the wide variety of tasks the frontal lobes carry out, damage to them can have a wide array of symptoms. Unfortunately, these are the most commonly injured lobes of the brain due to car accidents and athletic pursuits. Both physical damage and suboptimal brain wave function can manifest in the same types of symptoms. These include poor short term memory, difficulty creating and carrying out plans, low motivation, and difficulty communicating. Because of its importance in emotional awareness and control, damage to this area may result in a person having poor empathy, impulse control, mood swings, and other emotional issues.
Neurofeedback in this area of the brain works to optimize the firing of neurons and communication between the front brain with all other areas. Because of its many functions, training this area of the brain may improve your daily life in several ways. If you have trouble making and carrying out plans, you may see your motivation, perseverance, and organization around this improve. You may also see improvement in short term memory. Because of its role as an emotional center, training this area of the brain might improve your ability to understand, process, and face your emotions. After training you might notice a decrease in mood swings. You will also find it easier to regulate your reactions to emotions, for example if you would typically get upset and lash out in a situation you might find yourself handling it with a more calm demeanor. You may also develop better communication skills. All these can combine to improve work performance, interpersonal relationships, and your relationship with yourself.
Stay tuned for our next blog post about the functional area known as the central lobes!