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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Behavioral and Motivational Mechanisms of the Brain-The Limbic System and the Hypothalamus

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Limbic System

The word “limbic” means “border.” Originally, the term “limbic” was used to describe the border structures around the basal regions of the cerebrum.

Limbic System

The word “limbic” means “border.” Originally, the term “limbic” was used to describe the border structures around the basal regions of the cerebrum, but as we have learned more about the functions of the limbic system, the term limbic system has been expanded to mean the entire neuronal circuitry that controls emotional behavior and motivational drives.

A major part of the limbic system is the hypothala-mus, with its related structures. In addition to theirroles in behavioral control, these areas control many internal conditions of the body, such as body temper-ature, osmolality of the body fluids, and the drives to eat and drink and to control body weight. These inter-nal functions are collectively called vegetative func-tions of the brain, and their control is closely relatedto behavior.


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