The key difference between forebrain midbrain and hindbrain lies in their specific functions. The forebrain is responsible for intelligence, memory, body temperature, hunger and thirst signals while the midbrain is responsible for processing auditory and visual responses and the hindbrain is responsible for regulating visceral functions.
The brain is a complex organ. It is the main controlling center of the central nervous system. It receives, processes, sends and directs sensory information. Moreover, the corpus callosum splits the brain into left and right hemispheres. The brain has three major divisions depending on their specific function. They are forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Forebrain
3. What is Midbrain
4. What is Hindbrain
5. Similarities Between Forebrain Midbrain and Hindbrain
5. Side by Side Comparison – Forebrain vs Midbrain vs Hindbrain in Tabular Form
What is Forebrain?
The forebrain is the largest brain division. It accounts for about 2/3 of the brains mass. The cerebrum is a part of the forebrain. Hence, forebrain covers most brain structures. The forebrain has two subdivisions: the telencephalon and diencephalon. The cerebral cortex is the main component of the telencephalon. The cerebral cortex consists of four lobes: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe.
The diencephalon relays sensory information. It also connects the endocrine system with the nervous system. The components of the diencephalon include thalamus, hypothalamus and pineal gland. The forebrain is the most important part of the brain since it is responsible for almost all types of major and complex functions of the body such as memory, intelligence, regulation of body temperature, etc.
What is Midbrain?
Midbrain is the region of the brain which connects the forebrain with the hindbrain. Together with the hindbrain, the midbrain forms the brain stem. The brain stem connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord. The cerebral aqueduct is present in the midbrain. It is the canal that connects the cerebral ventricles.
The midbrain is responsible for processing auditory and visual responses. Also, it aids in movement regulation. Moreover, the nerves which control eye and eyelid movements are present in the midbrain. They are oculomotor and trochlear cranial nerves. In addition, the tectum, cerebral peduncle, and substantia nigra are the subdivisions of the midbrain.
What is Hindbrain?
The hindbrain is the region of the brain which controls visceral functions such as regulation of heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and sleep, etc. The hindbrain is subdivided into two regions: the metencephalon and myelencephalon. Many cranial nerves are present in the hindbrain.
In the metencephalon, trigeminal, abducent, facial, and vestibulocochlear nerves are present while in the myelencephalon, the glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, and hypoglossal nerves are present. The cerebellum and pons are also present in the metencephalon. The medulla oblongata is present in the myelencephalon. It is the region which controls breathing, heart rate and reflex actions such as sneezing and swallowing.
What are the Similarities Between Forebrain Midbrain and Hindbrain?
- Forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain are three major divisions of the brain.
- All these divisions help in the regulation of body activities.
- Moreover, all three regions are further subdivided.
- Also, cranial nerves are present in all three regions.
What is the Difference Between Forebrain Midbrain and Hindbrain?
Forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain are three major divisions of the human brain. The forebrain is responsible for almost all the major complex functions of the body including memory and intelligence. The midbrain is responsible for processing auditory and visual responses while the hindbrain is responsible for controlling visceral functions. So, this is the key difference between forebrain midbrain and hindbrain. The forebrain is the largest division of the human brain and it is located at the most forward (rostral) portion of the brain while the midbrain is present in the center of the brain between the cerebral cortex and the hindbrain. The hindbrain, on the other hand, is located at the lower back part of the brain. Therefore, this is the difference between forebrain midbrain and hindbrain in terms of their location.
In addition, cranial nerves are present in all three regions. But, the forebrain possesses olfactory and optic cranial nerves while the midbrain consists of oculomotor and trochlear cranial nerves, and hindbrain consists of trigeminal, abducent, facial, glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves. So, we can consider this also as a difference between forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain.
The below infographic presents more information regarding the difference between forebrain midbrain and hindbrain.
Summary – Forebrain Midbrain vs Hindbrain
Brain is the main regulating center of the central nervous system. It is divided into three main regions: the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain. The forebrain is responsible for most of the complex functions of the body such as memory and intelligence. The midbrain is responsible for processing auditory and visual responses while the hindbrain is responsible for controlling visceral functions. Hence, the key difference between forebrain midbrain and hindbrain of the brain lies in their specific functions. In the context of the anatomy, the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain are further divided into many subregions. They also possess different cranial nerves. Thus, this summarizes the difference between forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain.
1. “Forebrain.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 8 July 2015, Available here.
2. “Midbrain.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Mar. 2016, Available here.
3. “Human Brain: Fore Brain, Mid Brain and Hind Brain with Videos, Examples.” Toppr, 25 Sept. 2018, Available here.
1. “Diagram showing the brain stem which includes the medulla oblongata, the pons and the midbrain (2) CRUK 294” By Cancer Research UK – Original email from CRUK (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Midbrain” By Life Science Databases(LSDB). – from Anatomography, website maintained by Life Science Databases(LSDB).(CC BY-SA 2.1 jp) via Commons Wikimedia