Limbic System: Supporting Emotional Life

The Limbic System is a set of structures in the brain located on either side of the thalamus, immediately below the cerebrum. supports a number of functions, including emotions, memory, motivation and behavior. All the emotions one feels in daily life are primarily a function of the limbic system. Additionally this system influences how emotions are processed into speech and action.

The Limbic System is not a separate system, but rather a collection of brain structures. Its includes (but not exclusively) the amygdala, basal ganglia, cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, hypothalamus and thalamus. Below is a brief description of each

  • Amygdalae are the emotion centers of the brain. One particular role of the amygdalae is pain perception and modulation. (The cingulate gyrus also helps regulate emotions and pain.) 
  • Basal ganglia are primarily responsible for motor control, as well as contributing to motor learning, emotions, and executive functions and behavior
  • Cingulate gyrus help us express our emotions through physical posture, gesture and movement.
  • Hippocampus plays a major role in learning and memory (both short and long term).
  • Hypothalamus is responsible for internal monitoring, as well as maintaining homeostasis in the body.
  • Thalamus is responsible for maintaining consciousness, and processing information that comes in through the senses.

For more information on the Limbic System, please click here.


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