limbic system
limbic system limbic system n. (Anatomy, Neurophysiology) A group of neural structures in the brain below the cerebral cortex, centered on the hypothalamus and including the hippocampus and amygdala, involved with control of emotion, motivation, memory, and some homeostatic regulatory processes. [WordNet 1.5]

At the most ancient part of the human brain lies the spinal cord; the medulla and pons, which comprise the hindbrain; and the midbrain. This cobination of spinal cord, hindbrain, and midbrain MacLean calls the neural chassis. It contains the basic neural machinery for reproduction and self-preservation, . . . MacLean has distinguished three sorts of [more recent brain structures controlling] the neural chassis. The most ancient of them surround the midbrain. . . . We share it with the other mammals and the reptiles. It probably evolved several hundred million years ago. MacLean calls it the reptilian or R-complex. Surrounding the R-complex is the limbic system, so called because it borders on the underlying brain. (Our arms and legs are called limbs because they are peripheral to the rest of the body.) We share the limbic system with other mammals, but not, in its full elaboration, with the reptiles. It probably evolved more than one hundred fifty million years ago. Finally, surrounding the rest of the brain and clearly the most recent evolutionary accretion, is the neocortex. --Carl Sagan (The Dragons of Eden, New York, Random House, 1977). [PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • limbic system — n a group of subcortical structures (as the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala) of the brain that are concerned esp. with emotion and motivation * * * a complex system of nerve pathways and networks in the brain, involving several… …   Medical dictionary

  • limbic system — [lim′bik] n. a primitive part of the brain near the brain stem thought to control emotions, behavior, smell, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Limbic system — Infobox Brain Name = Limbic system Latin = GraySubject = GrayPage = Caption = The limbic system within the brain. Width = 200px Caption2 = IsPartOf = Components = Artery = Vein = BrainInfoType = ancil BrainInfoNumber = 247 MeshName = MeshNumber …   Wikipedia

  • limbic system — [ lɪmbɪk] noun a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, controlling the basic emotions and drives. Origin C19: limbic from Fr. limbique, from L. limbus …   English new terms dictionary

  • limbic system — noun a system of functionally related neural structures in the brain that are involved in emotional behavior • Syn: ↑visceral brain, ↑limbic brain • Hypernyms: ↑neural structure • Part Meronyms: ↑fornix, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • limbic system — a complex system of nerve pathways and networks in the brain, involving several different nuclei, that is involved in the expression of instinct and mood in activities of the endocrine and motor systems of the body. Among the brain regions… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • limbic system — Those regions of the central nervous system responsible for autonomic functions and emotions. Includes hippocampus, amygdaloid nucleus and portions of the mid brain …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • limbic system —    A functional, not physical, system in the brain, generally considered to mediate emotions with metabolism …   Herbal-medical glossary

  • limbic system — noun Date: 1952 a group of subcortical structures (as the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala) of the brain that are concerned especially with emotion and motivation …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • limbic system — Anat. a ring of interconnected structures in the midline of the brain around the hypothalamus, involved with emotion and memory and with homeostatic regulatory systems. [1950 55] * * * …   Universalium

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