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The outermost covering structure of the brain and the most highly developed brain structure in humans. Its name originates from the Latin cerebellum and cortex, which mean “brain” and “bark,” respectively. Because the cerebral cortex is the newest, evolutionarily speaking, part of the brain, complex animals have larger cerebral cortexes in relation to the rest of the brain than do lower forms of organisms. The cerebral cortex is responsible for higher-order mental processes, such as thought, attention, memory, and language. The cerebral cortex is classified on the basis of topographical conventions into four lobes serving different functions: occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal.

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