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Function of Parietal Lobe


The brain is one of the most complicated parts of human anatomy and physiology. It enables the transfer of information through sensory and motor neurons to carry out bodily functions. Brain contains a high number of neurons and nerves involved in processing information. A human brain has three main division, including the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. The major cerebrum part is classified into four lobes; all performing their specified functions. These are frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital. This article will help you gain knowledge about parietal lobe and what are its functions.

However, the main function of parietal lobe is integrating sensory information. It contributes to multiple tasks that are discussed in detail below.

What is the Parietal Lobe?

The parietal lobe is at the top rear of your head under the skill. It is important in the senses of touch and compiles the information to understand and process an adequate response. This part of your brain helps you understand the world around you better. It also has a fundamental role in controlling the brain’s ability to interpret sensations and promotes cooperation between tissues and organs.

Functions of Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe performs various sensory functions and enables us to understand where we are in relation to the things around us. The functions of the parietal lobe include:

Location Awareness

The parietal lobe helps you perceive the bigger picture by allowing you to understand directions and your location. Your ability to determine and understand multiple objects and situations in one frame depends on properly working the parietal lobe. For example, seeing a toilet seat, countertop, tap, and related sanitary material gives you an idea that it is a restroom. This would not be possible if your parietal lobe did not work adequately.


The parietal lobe helps process touch sensations such as pain, temperature, pressure, and vibration. The concept of proprioception or self-perception is also attributed to the parietal lobe. It lets you understand where your body parts (which you cannot directly see) are without seeing them. It also relates to understanding the distance of your limbs from your body in specific situations.

Sensory Integration

The parietal lobe receives information from various parts of the brain and translates it into an understandable form. The information may include location-based and self-perception information. It transfers the information to other brain parts to determine if a response is needed.


While your muscles carry out movements in response to a stimulus, the parietal lobe allows you to remember those movements. When you perform a complex movement, this region in your brain understands and remembers it to make it easy for you to carry out the same next time.

Structure of Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe is under the parietal bone at the top rear side of your skull. It comprises 19% of the cerebral cortex and has a thickness of around 2.5 millimeters. The parietal lobe is made of neurons and glial cells. The neurons transmit signals from one to the next through neurotransmitters. Furthermore, the glial cells act as a support for the neurons. They provide mechanical support to the neurons and facilitate the removal of wastes.

The parietal lobe has numerous distinct structures contributing to specific functions in the body.

Posterior Parietal Cortex

The posterior parietal lobe coordinates movement and helps with spatial reasoning. It has also been seen to play an important role in attention and immediate responses by the body.


Superior Parietal Lobule

The superior parietal lobule is one of the two lobules in this part of the brain. It helps recognize your placement in orientation in any given situation. Eventually, you also understand other objects around you to realize the whole setting. This lobule coordinates sensory and motor skills.


Inferior Parietal Lobule

The inferior parietal lobule contains the supramarginal and angular gyrus. It is also known as Geschwind’s territory, which helps assess facial expressions to understand other people’s emotions. Studies also show it contributes to body image perception, mathematical and analytical operations, and language processing.

Postcentral Gyrus

Also known as Brodmann area 3, the postcentral gyrus is the main space for mapping sensory information onto the sensory homunculus.

Damage to Parietal Lobe

Vascular diseases, infections, or malignant or benign tumors may cause damage to the parietal lobe. Damage to the left side affects your hand movements and leads to language disorders. It may also cause Gerstmann’s Syndrome. People with Gerstmann’s Syndrome face difficulty distinguishing between the left and right side besides reading and writing issues. At the same time, damage to the right side of the parietal lobe impacts a person’s ability to analyze the components of a frame and put them into a situation. It also affects a person’s ability to complete a drawing or read a map.

The signs and symptoms of parietal lobe damage include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Inability to read maps and complete drawings
  • Difficulty distinguishing sides
  • Inability to form a picture comprising objects around them
  • Disorientation
  • Unsteady gait

The Bottom Line

The parietal lobe is one of the four lobes in the brain. The main function of the parietal lobe is to process the information coming from other parts of the brain. It allows you to understand your orientation in a particular frame or setting. The parietal lobe makes it possible to realize directions and learn complex movements such as writing. The concept of self-perception is also attributed to the proper functioning of the parietal lobe. A stroke, tumor, infection, or disease may cause damage to the parietal lobe. Damage to the right or left side of the parietal lobe impacts your movement, makes reading and writing difficult, impacts coordination, and restricts your ability to understand objects as a part of a bigger picture.


What emotions does the parietal lobe control?

The parietal lobe plays a major role in controlling tactile sensation. It also contributes to sensory comprehension, reading, writing, and visual functions.

Does the parietal lobe have memory functions?

The parietal lobe contributes to episodic memory. However, the primary function of this part of the brain is spatial and imaginary memory.

What part of the brain controls memory?

The hippocampus is the primary region of the brain responsible for memory. Besides memory, it also supports learning and navigation depending on the information received from the cerebral cortex.

Does the parietal lobe control speech?

The parietal lobe contributes to the control of speech and language. Planning, executing, and monitoring speech is one of the fundamental functions of the parietal lobe.

Can you live without the parietal lobe?

Your body may experience a lack of proper activity in the body’s contralateral region. However, you can still live a normal life without one hemisphere of the neocortex.

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