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A brain map is when a show provides a chart of one of the character's brain, which is helpfully split into different, surprisingly specific categories. These areas may be based on a variety of interests or personality traits, such as a love of cats or severe rage issues.

One purpose of a brain map is to helpfully provide a brief description of a character's personality traits in an easy to read format — a character with a Hair-Trigger Temper may have a large area of their brain dedicated to "Severe Anger Issues", whilst a Lethal Chef would have a very small section of their mind labelled "Ability to Cook". Sometimes, one of the areas may shrink or grow, indicating that the character is changing, so if for instance, the area marked "Kindness to Strangers" is shrinking, it suggests that the character has become more cruel of a character. Some humour may also be mined by how oddly specific some of the functions are — for example, it may be surprising to find a graph postulating that we have an area in our brain dedicated to "types of daffodils".

Of course, this isn't exactly how actual brains function in real life. Whilst there are segments dedicated to a concept — for instance, the cerebellum maintains balance, posture, and other motor skills — they tend to be much more general in nature than the ones seen in fiction. However, it does take inspiration from the pseudoscience of phrenology, which postulated that that the brain has certain areas with localised, specific functions and that those which were used more often were bigger, leading to different skull shapes.

A subtrope of Artistic License – Anatomy.

May be used as part of an Exposition Diagram. See also Funny X-Ray when an X-ray is used to depict humorous things about a brain.


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  • One prostate cancer awareness advertisement showed a man's brain, with all the segments labelled with slang words for breasts; the wording at the bottom was to the effect that men should think more about cancers that could affect their own bodies.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: In Chapter 31, a map of Rentarou's brain shows that he (quite literally) has "love" written all over it, with only a tiny spark of "desire" in the center.
  • One Piece: In volume 59, one page of the SBS question-and-answer column included "inner brain diagrams" of the nine Straw Hats at the time, with five words each, along with one of the author's own brain (which just reads "world peace"). Jinbei's brain diagram was later included in SBS volume 99, after he officially joined the crew.
  • Whilst not a complete map, the opening to Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt shows that Panty's brain is filled with the words "Men" and "Sex", emphasising her lustful and sex-crazed nature, whilst Stocking's mind is filled with the words "Sweets" and "Goth", empahsising her gothic, sweets-obssessed ways.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Professor Poopypants gives a science lesson where he shows a diagram that demonstrates the parts of a human child’s brain: the "Thinking-About-Candy-opolis,” the "Fear-of-What's-Under-the-Bed" lobe, the "The-Only-Thing-I'll-Eat-is-Pizza-Chicken-Nuggets-or-Buttered-Noodles" lobe, the "As-Soon-As-Someone-Else-Has-a-Toy-I-Want-That-Toy" anterior lobe, and the "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatus,” which controls the ability to laugh. This becomes a plot point, as his evil plan involves destroying the Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatuses of everyone in the world so they’ll never be able to laugh again.
  • Hair High: One scene shows Cherri's brain, divided into sections with nothing but pictures showing her doing things like preening herself and putting on a crown, showing that she's a vain and mean popular girl. But slowly a picture of Spud appears in her brain, to signify that she's starting to like him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The James Bond film The World Is Not Enough has M detail to Bond that an assassin named Renard took a bullet to the head, which is lodged in his brain. A 3-D brain hologram indicates the bullet's resting site as well as the penetration trajectory. Renard still has his senses and motor function, but with a constant adrenaline rush and diminished pain perception: essentially an ongoing speedball high.

  • Bart Simpson's Guide to Life:
    • Included is a map of Marge's and Homer's brains with corresponding sections that have contrasting labels. For instance, the section in Marge's brain that reads "each and every family member's sizes, birthday, allergies and food preferences" corresponds to the one in Homer's labeled "each and every family member's name." The same section in both brains is labeled "sex," but the one in Homer's takes up much more room. Both of them, however, devote the same amount of room to "what's on TV?."
    • One section has Dr. Marvin Monroe explain the three type of brains using these diagrams as well: the Left-Brainer has brain sections such as "Economics" and "Real Estate Law", the Right-Brainer has "Poetry" and "Shapes" as brain sections and the No-Brainer has brain sections such as "What?" and "Huh?".
  • Dear Dumb Diary: Jamie draws these a lot when she is trying to figure out how the brains of people around her work.
    • Am I the Princess or the Frog? has a variation when Jamie talks about how Angeline has invented Zone Shampooing, which involves slathering different parts of your head with different types of shampoo. The illustration shows "My Theory of The Excellent Odors She Probably Has Loaded", with Angeline's hair separated into zones for "Raspberry," "Butterscotch," "Lemon-Lime," "Suntan Lotion," "Pizza," "Baby's Head," "Kiwi," "Salad," "Bubble Gum," and "Candy Store."
    • In The Problem With Here Is That It's Where I'm From, Jamie's aunt Carol is about to get married and thinking about nothing else but her upcoming wedding. Her brain is divided into "Romanticness of the Invitations," "Glamorousness of Wedding Dress," "Preciousness of the Bouquet," and "Fairytaleness of Wedding Cake," with a very tiny section dedicated to "Normal Things That Normal People Think About."
    • In It's Not My Fault I Know Everything, Jamie comments on Isabella's excellent memory and draws a diagram of her brain separated into three parts, "Where Mom Hides Candy," "Funny Words That Make Teachers Freak," and "All of the Things Jamie Has Asked Me To Just Forget."
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: A pair of pages in The Wim py Kid Do-It-Yourself Book feature a diagram of Greg's brain (with sections labeled "video games", "food", "girls", "weekends", and so on) alongside an empty brain, with the page header encouraging you to draw your own brain diagram.
  • In the book It's Not the Stork, when it shows a diagram of a pregnant woman, her brain has various names written on it, indicating that she's trying to choose a name for her soon-to-be-child.
  • "My Dog's Brain gives us a view of what the brain of a dog looks like, which apparently has sections for "Licking", "Ball", and "Bones".
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The tie-in book Plants vs. Zombies: Official Guide to Protecting Your Brains includes a diagram of a zombie's brain. One of the parts is a twig that somehow got lodged in the brain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in the Singaporean comedy series, Phua Chu Kang, in one episode where Anthony Phua's wife Margaret shows an actual brain diagram on an easel to lecture her husband on "what men should prioritize". Chu Kang instead redraws his own version of a brain diagram on a separate easel so that a man's brain prioritizes on three elements — beer, soccer, women.
  • Seinfeld has a very crude version. Jerry holds up a head of lettuce and says that George's brain has two parts, the intellect (represented by a small piece Jerry tore off) and the part obsessed with sex (represented by the rest of it).

  • The Jenkins: Played with in Remembering People's Names, where Junior Jenkins is shown attempting to fit Jason's name into his brain, only for a diagram to reveal that it's being mostly taken up by a single, questionable bit of trivia.
    Junior: Say, Jarvis, wanna hear the order of a card deck I memorized in 2012?
  • One strip of The Order of the Stick has Haley try to find out why she is unable to speak proper Common by a doctor and his assistant. Whilst the doctor is uncertain of how he can treat her, seeing as she has a bill of perfect health, his assistant produces an alternative theory based around phrenology — simply put, the idea that her issue might have something to do with a distortion in the area dedicated to secret-keeping. A look at the graph produced as a result shows that the human mind also apparently has areas dedicated to "Puppies", "Guacamole Recipe", and "Unused 3.0 Rules".

  • Buzzfeed gives us "The World's Most Accurate Brain Map", which depicts a human brain as having such areas such as "Names of Taylor Swift's Cats", "Unearned Confidence", and "Part That's No Different From a Chimp's Brain".
  • The right-wing satire site The Peoples Cube has "The Brain of a Conservative Republican" depicts the brain of a Conservative Republican, showing such areas like the "Common Sense Lobe", the ""Don't Tread On Me" synapse", and the "First and Second Amendment Alert Sensors".

    Western Animation