Role of the Brain in Determining Cognitive Functioning

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The brain and its parts play a significant role in determining cognitive functioning. Cognitive functions may be defined as the abilities of a person to process information and thoughts. The brain consists of different areas, but only specific areas have an impact on cognitive functioning. The tragic case of a rail-road construction foreman known as Phineas Gage in 1848 showed the relation between certain areas of the brain and their support for specific cognitive functions. Phineas' traumatic injury has helped neuropsychologists in making significant steps towards understanding the functioning of the human mind.
The brain plays an important role in determining cognitive functions. Cognitive functions denote the personal abilities to process information and thoughts. Examples in this case include perception, learning, and memory. According to findings in neuropsychology, certain areas of the brain support specific cognitive functions (Bear, Barry & Michael, 2007, p. 10). Thomas Willis, a contemporary of Descartes is known as the father of neurology, and was the first person to suggest that the brain was not only a locus of the mind, but also a determinant of cognitive functions (Finger, 2001, p. 23). Willis noted that various parts of the brain give rise to different cognitive functions (Finger, 2001, p. 23). From the onset, it should be noted that cognitive functions emanate from the part of the brain known as the cerebral cortex or the cerebrum.

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