Limbic System

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Related to limbic: neocortex, amygdala, Limbic encephalitis

limbic system

[′lim·bik ‚sis·təm]
The inner edge of the cerebral cortex in the medial and temporal regions of the cerebral hemispheres.

Limbic System


rhinencephalon, a group of sections of the brain that are unified by anatomic (spatial intercommunication) and functional (physiological) characteristics. The major part of the system consists of structures of the hippocampal gyrus, a series of successively connected brain formations that form a closed cycle and are connected to the paleopallium, archipallium, and neopallium (all located predominantly on the inner surface of the hemispheres) and to subcortical formations.

The limbic system participates in olfactory function and in regulating the activity of the body’s visceral systems; when different areas of the limbic system are stimulated electrically, changes can be observed in the operation of the various internal organs, such as the heart, the vessels, and the gastrointestinal tract. However, the principal function of the limbic system is associated with autoregulatory processes in the organization of behavior and mental activity. The system is responsible for the instinctual behavior associated with the satisfaction of innate organic requirements, such as self-preservation, food gathering, eating and drinking, sexual behavior, and the rearing of offspring.

The limbic system also has an important role in the organization of acquired forms of behavior; this is associated with the system’s special role in emotional reaction, the processes of memory, and the regulation of the states of wakefulness and sleeping. By stimulating or destroying various areas of the limbic system, one can produce or eliminate emotions, such as fear or rage. In experiments with autostimulation, in which an animal can, by pressing a pedal, repeatedly (up to 8,000 times an hour) stimulate certain structures of the limbic system through implanted electrodes, there arises an expressed sensation of satisfaction (the positive reinforcement of an action). Upon the introduction of electrodes to other structures, the animal is observed to avoid such autostimulation, because of the appearance of a feeling of dissatisfaction (negative reinforcement).

The role of the limbic system has been elucidated in the processes of memory in which there is a transfer of traces of acquired experience from short-term to long-term memory. In man, bilateral damage to the limbic system (for example, by brain tumors and certain intoxications, such as with alcohol) leads to an impairment of the function and a loss of memory for new occurrences (called Korsakoff’s syndrome). Such damage may also result in emotional disturbances.

Different parts of the limbic system participate to different degrees in various brain functions. However, all of the basic functions and structures are closely interconnected, and, taken together, they ensure in integral brain activity (motor, perceptive, cognitive) the active, purposeful character of a given action.


Struktura i funktsiia arkhipaleokorteksa. Moscow, 1968. (Gagrskie besedy, vol. 5.)
Fiziologiia i patofiziologiia limbiko-retikuliarnoi sistemy. Moscow, 1971.
Structure and Function of the Limbic System. Amsterdam-London-New York, 1967. (Progress in Brain Research, vol. 27.)
Karli, P. “Système limbique et processus de motivation.” In Association des physiologistes. Paris, 1968. (Journal de physiologic vol. 60, supplement 1.)


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You have moved thinking about driving the car from the conscious neocortex to the subconscious limbic system, making driving virtually a "no brainer.
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What happened is that Homo myopicus could not rise above its limbic brain; our doom is written in our DNA.
Most important to recognize for this discussion, the limbic brain does not operate on the same rational sense of time we know as human beings.
This effect, and the drop in activity in the limbic system, are opposite to patterns seen in patients who suffer from anxiety.
The current neurological presentation is due to paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis.
Much of our knowledge of the limbic system comes from studying the behaviour of animals and from people who have damage or disease in the limbic area.
Anticipatory stress responses are largely controlled by limbic forebrain structures, such as the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala (see Ulrich-Lai and Herman 2009).
LIMBIC SYSTEM (including the VENTRAL STRIATUM, AMYGDALA, and HIPPOCAMPUS): feeling pleasure; emotions; learning
The participants' MRI brain scans showed reduction in the brain's pre-frontal cortex and limbic regions, which are involved in emotion, stress management, and impulse control.
The entorhinal cortex (EC) is an essential component of the limbic system that is functionally found to be closely linked to emotional control, consolidation and recall of memories, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and especially temporal lobe epilepsy.