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  • Chloe Zuntz

Brain Basics: The Parietal Lobes

This week in brain basics, a lobe that has lots of roles! The parietal lobes occupy the space spanning between the line present if you were to draw a line from ear to ear and the beginning of the curve at the back of your head. They are the home of the subsection called the primary somatosensory cortex, which in neurofeedback is treated as a separate lobe along with the primary motor cortex. We call these sections the central lobes, which were discussed last week. If you need a reminder on what these very important functional sections of the brain do, give last weeks post a read.

Besides housing the somatosensory cortex, the parietal lobes are uniquely important in that it is responsible for spatial awareness, locational awareness, as well as playing a role in cognition, speech, memory, and reasoning. This lobe takes signals from sensory receptors in the body about muscletensions and stretch to help you determine where in space your limbs are, even if your eyes are closed and you cant physically see where they are. It also plays a role in vision, as it works with the occipital lobes to process the objects being seen. As a major processing center, it is especially important in the visual process of depth perception and tracking objects through space. Its processing power does not end there though. These lobes help in recognizing faces and objects, and damage to them may result in trouble recognizing people or being able to recall the look of objects. This would make it difficult to describe or draw objects. Similarly, they are important in processing of sounds, and because of this importance in processing, damage to the area might make understanding language or math more taxing or challenging.

Neurofeedback can utilize plasticity in the brain to improve parietal lobe function. Training this area of the brain could improve your visual processing. This might manifest in better depth perception, for example you might notice that when you drive you are better able to accurately determine how far objects are and how fast you need to stop. Another example would be improved performance in some sports, especially those like baseball where the ability to judge how far an object is from you so you react in the appropriate way. It might also make remembering the look of objects and being able to draw or describe them easier, and improve your ability to recognize faces. If you constantly say you have a bad sense of direction, or are often getting turned around or lost, after training these lobes you may notice yourself not relying quite so heavily on your maps app. You may even gain better communication skills through an improved ability to really understand what others are saying to you in conversations.

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