All About the Parietal Lobe

OK, so the name parietal lobe sounds really strange and is kind of fun to say. Losing your parietal lobe, or the internal functions of it would not be nearly as fun as the name sounds. The brain is a seriously complex organ. It is composed of soft tissue, yet it is hard to damage. When damage is done though, it can be very scary for the patient and the family. Here is some information about the parietal lobe and what happens if it is injured.

The brain in general is divided into two hemispheres. These two hemispheres separate the brain into right and left. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. This may seem a bit backwards but it works. Essentially, what the right side of your body does, it was told to do by the left side and vice versa.

The brain is then broken down into four lobes. Each of these lobes is located half on the left and half on the right sides of the brain. These lobes are the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, and the temporal lobe. Another subdivision of the brain is the brain stem, but I will cover the remaining lobes and the brain stem in other articles.Inside these lobes, are numerous pieces that create a whole brain. Each of them has its own function and thrives off of each other.

The Parietal Lobe:

The parietal lobe is primarily responsible for cognition, information processing, pain and touch sensation, spatial orientation, speech, and how you perceive things visually.

The parietal lobe is separated into two sections. Each serves its own function.

The first section functions to form perception. It creates a solid cognition and pulls information together to form one item.

The second portion develops spatial coordination and helps us recognize the world around us. It lets us know where we are, and what direction we are in. Without it, you would have no idea if you were upside down or right side up.

Damage to the Parietal Lobe:

The left parietal lobe

Damage to the left parietal lobe can cause “Gerstmann’s Syndrome.” This is when the brain has a problem differentiating between the left and right side of the body. It causes problems with writing, math and can actually cause the person to perceive items differently than they actually are. (Warrington & Weiskrantz, 1977).

The right parietal lobe

Damage to the right parietal lobe can cause problems in taking care of yourself. It can make bathing, dressing, and daily maintenance almost impossible. The person may not have knowledge that they are neglecting this, and due to their perception, they main deny that there is a problem (Westmoreland et al., 1994).

Damage to both sides:

Damage to both sides of the parietal lobes can cause visual problems. This means that the person is not able to control where they are looking. When looking into a room, they cannot see the whole picture, only parts of it and as hard as they try it will never be a whole picture.. Their hand/eye coordination would also be uncontrolled.

Warrington, E., & Weiskrantz, L. An analysis of short-term and long-term memory defects in man. In J.A. Deutsch, ed. The Physiological Basis of Memory. New York: Academic Press, 1973.

Westmoreland et al. Medical Neurosciences: An Approach to Anatomy, Pathology, and Physiology by Systems and Levels. Little, Brown and Company. New York: NY, 1994.

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