Parietal lobe

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on March 9, 2015

The parietal lobe is located near the center of the brain, behind the frontal lobe, in front of the occipital lobe, and above the temporal lobe.

The parietal lobe contains an area known as the primary sensory area. This is where impulses from the skin, such as warmth, cold, pain, and touch, are interpreted. Just like the primary motor area in the frontal lobe, the more sensory input that comes from an area of the body (like the fingers), the more surface area of the parietal lobe is involved in the processing of that information.

The parietal lobe is also an essential element of spatial information, which gives us the ability to judge size, distance, and shapes. A specific triangular-shaped area known as the parietal association cortex gives us the ability to understand written language and solve mathematical problems.

The left hemisphere of the parietal lobe is often more active in right-handed people. This lobe is known for handling the symbolism of letters and numbers. The right hemisphere tends to be more active in left-handed people and helps with the interpretation of images and spatial distances within them, such as those that exist in maps. Regardless of handedness, people are not “right brained” or “left brained”; we use both sides of our parietal lobe.

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