Limbic system

Limbic system

The limbic system plays an important role in forming emotions and in learning.

Biology

Keywords

limbic system, emotions, instinctive behaviour, behaviour, recollection, memory, short-term memory, long-term memory, adaptation, motivation, sense of joy, aggressiveness, gender identity, fear, rage, olfactory pathway, cingulate gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus, fornix, hypothalamus, brain, spinal cord, reward, cerebral cortex, human, biology

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The limbic system

The limbic system is the part of the brain which plays an important role in forming emotions and memories. It consists of parts of the cerebral cortex and certain subcortical regions. The limbic system can be divided into an external and an internal circuit.

The external circuit is responsible for regulating emotions and inner drives; together with the hypothalamus it is the regulation centre of vegetative functions. Vegetative functions are essential in the formation of emotions.

The internal circuit is indispensable in storing memory traces. One part of this circuit is the hippocampus, the injury of which may cause the inability to store new information in the long-term memory (while not losing memories formed before the injury). This region is responsible for moving memory traces from the short-term memory into the long-term memory.

Limbic system

  • Olfactory pathway - The olfactory fibres are connected to the limbic system, thus smells can trigger strong emotions and aid in recalling certain memories.
  • Cingulate gyrus - Together with the parahippocampal gyrus, it plays an important role in the formation of emotions and behaviour.
  • Parahippocampal gyrus: - Along with the cingulate gyrus, it plays an important role in the formation of emotions and behaviour. It is important, for example, in the formation of anger and fear.
  • amygdala - It plays an important role in the formation of certain emotions and the functioning of the memory, as well as in the formation of social relationships, sexual and aggressive behaviour, and probably sexual identity (heterosexuality/homosexuality).
  • hippocampus - It plays an essential role in learning. Its injury may cause the inability to store new long-term memories.
  • fornix - It carries nerve impulses to the hypothalamus (and, within it, to the mammillary bodies).
  • hypothalamus - The two mammillary bodies to which the fornix carries information are located within it. The hypothalamus plays an important role in the formation of certain emotions (impulses, anger, fear), and is the centre of the hormonal system. Its appendix is the pituitary gland.

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  • Olfactory pathway - The olfactory fibres are connected to the limbic system, thus smells can trigger strong emotions and aid in recalling certain memories.
  • Cingulate gyrus - Together with the parahippocampal gyrus, it plays an important role in the formation of emotions and behaviour.
  • Parahippocampal gyrus: - Along with the cingulate gyrus, it plays an important role in the formation of emotions and behaviour. It is important, for example, in the formation of anger and fear.
  • amygdala - It plays an important role in the formation of certain emotions and the functioning of the memory, as well as in the formation of social relationships, sexual and aggressive behaviour, and probably sexual identity (heterosexuality/homosexuality).
  • hippocampus - It plays an essential role in learning. Its injury may cause the inability to store new long-term memories.
  • fornix - It carries nerve impulses to the hypothalamus (and, within it, to the mammillary bodies).
  • hypothalamus - The two mammillary bodies to which the fornix carries information are located within it. The hypothalamus plays an important role in the formation of certain emotions (impulses, anger, fear), and is the centre of the hormonal system. Its appendix is the pituitary gland.

Narration

The limbic system consists of parts of the cerebral cortex and certain subcortical regions. It is the regulatory centre of emotions, motivation and vegetative functions; it also plays an important role in forming memories.

It can be divided into an external and an internal circuit.

The internal circuit is indispensable in storing memory traces. One part of this circuit is the amygdala, which plays a key role in forming aggressive behaviour, fear, sexual behaviour and sexual identity. If it suffers serious damage it might cause the loss of fear, which greatly reduces the chances of survival. Stimulation of the amygdala in animals caused rage attacks and an increase of sexual activity and aggression.
Damage to the hippocampus may lead to the inability to store new information in the long-term memory (while not losing memories formed before the injury). This region is responsible for moving memory traces from the short-term memory into the long-term memory. Information is transported from the hippocampus to the hypothalamus by a bundle of axons called the fornix in the brain. The hypothalamus plays a central role in coordinating homeostasis, that is, the dynamic stability of the internal conditions of the body. It also plays an important role in regulating emotions and vegetative functions, as well as in forming motivations such as hunger and thirst.

The external circuit consists of the parahippocampal gyrus and the cingulate gyrus. The external circuit is responsible for regulating emotions and behaviour. Since the limbic system is directly connected to the olfactory nerves, smell can generate intense emotions and can aid in recalling memories.

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