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Review The Functions Of The Limbic System. Explain Its Role In The Control Of Major Affective Activities.

1647 words - 7 pages

The Limbic system compromises of detailed structures which control and regulate major affective activities such as fright, anxiety, and happiness. Further functions of the limbic system are motor functions, sensory systems, hormones and memory which all contribute to the control of affective states. These factors are controlled and regulated by different structures of the limbic system and work inter-relatedly. The central components of the limbic system compromise of the limbic cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, fornix and mammillary bodies. The limbic system also currently involves cortical and non-cortical brain structures such as diencephalon, brainstem and the forebrain. The diencephalon compromises of the thalamus and the hypothalamus, the forebrain includes the basal ganglia and amygdala while the function of the brainstem is to form a connection between the cerebrum and the spinal cord. (Hendelman, 2000). The origin of the limbic system stemmed from the evolutionary period. This is because, during the evolutionary period, brains have developed in a structure that enables mammals to adapt to their environment. For example the forebrain in mammals has evolves to fulfil this function of adaptability of behaviour to the external world (Maclean cited in Hendelman, 2000). Therefore, this has resulted in a different functions and roles of the limbic system in terms of adapting to environments such as fright and how to react in fearful situations. However, the functions of controlling affective activities along with its other functions such as hormone control can be restricted as damage to parts of the limbic system from a result of diseases and/or brain injury/trauma can have an effect on the emotional experience including expressing these affective states
The Hippocampus is situated at the medial aspect of the temporal lobe which is located at the sides of the brain. The Hippocampus function is memory (in particular long term memory) and is involved in the process of retaining, retrieving memories and creating new ones (..). Another part of the limbic system is the amygdala which is situated within the temporal lobes and plays a role in emotions, fear, pleasure and memory (..0). The hippocampus and amygdala both work in relation when encoding memory (Richardson et al, 2004) This is because; the role of the amygdala is to identify which hippocampal dependent memories are to be stored in the brain (Phelps, 2004). This identification of memories is attributed to the emotional content. Emotional memories are related to a higher degree of arousal, and this arousal level is the factor which makes emotional memories more likely to be recalled in the future (Mcglough, J.A, 2004). This is because, when the brain gets aroused it becomes more efficient in the ability to encode new information in the long term memory (Cahill, 1996..).
Both the hippocampus and amygdala work inter-relatedly when controlling major affective activities alongside the...

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