The human brain can be divided into a large number of sub-components ; not for nothing is it the most complex organ we have.

However, this “decomposition into pieces” does not always occur in the same way. Sometimes we will simply look at the larger, more general structures, such as the diencephalon, and sometimes we will be more thorough and focus on the smaller components that together form larger ones, such as the subthalamus (which is part of the diencephalon).

Looking at the smaller parts of the central nervous system can be very useful to understand how the neuronal networks of a particular individual work, but at other times it is more interesting to maintain a more global vision of the organ of thought and look at its more general structures. In this case we will see one of the latter: the telencephalon .

What is the tele-brain?

The tele-brain is the largest part of the brain, and it is the structure in which the integration of information transmitted by the neurons reaches its most complex stage. It is located just above the diencephalon, which it covers like a helmet, and is not bounded by any other part of the central nervous system by its upper part: it forms the folded surface that characterizes the human brain.

Technically, the term “telencephalon” is used to designate one of the three main formations that are created at the end of the neural tube to grow until they end up developing the brain. Thus, in an adult brain the telencephalon is the set of parts of the central nervous system that in the earliest stage of development emerged from that bulging structure.

Since the telencephalon is the most superficial part of the brain , most of the data that reach it have already been worked on by other groups of neurons located in subcortical areas, that is, closer to the lower part of the organ.

In addition, the telencephalon is divided into the two brain lobes, each located on the left and right side of the head and separated from each other by the interhemispheric cleft.

Parts of the brain

The main components into which the tele-brain can be divided are the following.

1. Cerebral cortex

It is the surface full of folds and splits that characterize the most visible part of the brain. It is mainly composed of gray matter and several layers of neurons coordinated with each other.

2. Hippocampus

The hippocampus is involved in several processes, but one of the main ones is the consolidation of memories belonging to the declarative memory , as well as their evocation in the future. Damage in this region frequently produces disorders linked to amnesia.

3. Cerebral amygdala

The cerebral amygdala is a structure found on both sides of the brain, that is, one per hemisphere, within the so-called temporal lobes. It is part of the limbic system , which is a network of cells in charge of managing the appearance and regulation of emotional states, so it has an important role in learning thanks to the possibility of associating actions with consequences.

The amygdala also intervenes in emotional memory, that is, it does something similar to what the hypothalamus does with “cold data” about what we are experiencing, although in this case the memory itself is simply an emotional reaction partially dissociated from the rest of the memory.

4. Grooved body

The striatum is also an important component of the telencephalon, as it is the main input pathway to the basal ganglia , as well as receiving input from the cerebral cortex.

Thus, it is involved in the process of enabling highly automated movements, among other things, since it is related to the basal ganglia.

5. Olfactory bulb

It is one of the oldest parts of the brain, having been used for many tens of millions of years. It is a structure located under the lowest part of the cerebral cortex, and receives the olfactory information that comes from the outside of the body.

In addition, the olfactory bulb has the particularity that it is the entry route for a type of information that must not pass through the thalamus before being distributed throughout the brain.

6. Basal ganglia

The basal ganglia are sets of grey matter that intervene in different processes, normally related to the control of voluntary movements and to the “automation” of these so that attention can be directed to other things.

Its functions

As we have seen, the functions of the tele-brain depend largely on which of its components we look at. However, if we take into account the fact that most of it is composed by the cerebral cortex, we could say that it is mainly in charge of integrating all kinds of information about what happens outside and about the actions that are going to be taken at some future time.

This is why the cerebral cortex has different association areas in which information is processed together to result in more complete and meaningful units of information. For example, thanks to it we can recognize someone from the integration of the information related to the reliefs of each part of his face, the sound of his voice, his posture, etc.