Higher Functions & Limbic Functions.docx

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Anatomy and Cell Biology
Anatomy and Cell Biology 3319
Kem Rogers

Higher Functions & The Limbic System The Limbic System • Emotional brain • Responsible for emotional impact actions, behaviours & situations have on us • Directs our response to emotions • Functions in creating, storing & retrieving memories – with strong emotions • Consists of a group of structures located in the medial aspect of each cerebral hemisphere & diencephalon • In cerebrum – form a broad ring, that includes: o Cingulate gyrus o Septal nuclei o Part of amygdaloid body o Hippocampal formation • In diencephalon o Anterior thalamic nuclei o Hypothalamus • The fornix (arch) and other fibre tracts link limbic system together • Overlaps the rhiencephalon & portions of the cortex that process olfactory signals o Explains why smells often trigger emotions Cerebrum – Limbic System • Cingulate Gyrus o Located superior to corpus callosum o Linked to all other regions of the cortex o Through its connections to sensory regions – mediates emotional response to these stimuli  Ex. experiencing painful stimuli as unpleasant o Connections with the hypothalamus & prefrontal cortex function to generate & control visceral & behavioural responses to emotions • Hippocampal Formation o Located in temporal lobe o Consists of hippocampus & the parahippocampal gyrus o Regions encode, consolidate & retrieve memories of facts & events o Receives information to be remembered from the rest of the cerebral cortex o Processes this data & returns them to cortex – where they are stored as long-term memories • Amygdaloid body o Subcortical gray matter o Contains the key brain nuclei for processing fear & stimulating appropriate sympathetic response to fear o Forms memories of experiences based entirely on their emotional impact – especially those related to fear o If people are reminded of these experiences – retrieves memories & causes them re- experiences the original emotion • Hyperactivity in amygdaloid body & dysfunction in the medial prefrontal cortex (limbic association area) & hippocampus are involved in the extreme response to triggered memory experienced by individuals suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) • Most output form the limbic system is relayed through the hypothalamus & reticular formation, which control visceral responses – high blood pressure, heart burn etc. • Also in
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