Brain Structure and Its Origins

Drawing of the left hemisphere of the brain, including the outermost edge of the brain  connected by radiations of axons to the brainstem and spinal cord.

Drawing of the left hemisphere of the human brain together with the brainstem, dissected to reveal the course of axons that descend to the brainstem and spinal cord. (Courtesy of MIT Press. Used with permission. Figure 22.8 from Schneider, G. E. Brain Structure and its Origins: In the Development and in Evolution of Behavior and the Mind. MIT Press, 2014.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2014



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course provides an outline of vertebrate functional neuroanatomy, aided by studies of comparative neuroanatomy and evolution, and by studies of brain development. Topics include early steps to a central nervous system, basic patterns of brain and spinal cord connections, regional development and differentiation, regeneration, motor and sensory pathways and structures, systems underlying motivations, innate action patterns, formation of habits, and various cognitive functions. In addition, lab techniques are reviewed and students perform brain dissections.

Other Versions

Related Content

Gerald Schneider. 9.14 Brain Structure and Its Origins. Spring 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.