Higher Brain Functions

  • Rachel Casas
  • Daniel Tranel


We will use the term higher brain functions to refer to the operations of the brain that stand at the pinnacle of evolution and that, in may respects, are unique to humans. Verbal communication, the capacity to “think in the future,” and the ability to hold multiple tracks of complex information “on-line” at the same time are examples of complex mental functions subserved by various structures in the human brain. The “higher” capacities of the human brain can also be captured under the terms cognition and behavior. Cognition comprises capacities such as intellectual function, memory, speech and language, complex perception, orientation, attention, judgment, planning, and decision-making. Behavior is the manifestation of these cognitive functions and also subsumes the important domain of emotional processing and regulation. Behavior is influenced and guided by another facet of higher brain function, namely, personality, which describes the psychological makeup, traits, and...


Primary Visual Cortex Association Cortex Prefrontal Region Perirhinal Cortex Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the American Psychological Association Diversity Program in Neuroscience Fellowship (R.C.), Program Project Grant NINDS NS19632 (D.T.), and NIDA R01 DA022549 (D.T.).

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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Casas
    • 1
  • Daniel Tranel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA

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