Humanistic Approaches to Positive Growth and Self-Acceptance

Limbic System


The Limbic system is a complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).

Forebrain = The Limbic System

  • Limbic System
  • Thalamus
  • Basal Ganglia
  • Hypothalamus
  • Cerebral Cortex

The Emotional Brain

  • Structures lying deep within the cerebral hemispheres.
  • Coordinates behaviors needed to satisfy motivational and emotional urges arising in the hypothalamus.

Important in both memory and emotion

  • Two principal structures
  • Amygdala – Involved in discrimination of objects necessary for survival
  • Hippocampus – Has special role in storage of memories
  • Thalamus – Serves as relay station for information
  • Basal Ganglia – Works with cerebellum and cerebral cortex to control and coordinate voluntary movements


Hypothalamus: Hunger, Thirst Temperature Control

Monitors . . .

  • Eating, drinking, sex
  • Emotion, stress, reward
  • Helps direct endocrine system
  • Regulator of body’s internal state
  • Involved in pleasurable feelings

Cerebal Cortex:cerebral

  • Occipital lobes – responding to visual stimuli
  • Temporal lobes – Hearing, language processing, memory
  • Frontal lobes – Personality, intelligence, control of voluntary muscles
  • Parietal lobes – Registering spatial location, attention, motor control
  • Somatosensory Cortex – Located at front of parietal lobes/Processes information about body sensations
  • Motor Cortex – Located just behind frontal lobes/Processes information about voluntary movement
  • Association Cortex – Makes up 75% of cerebral cortex/Integrates information


Cerebral Hemispheres

  • Corpus Callosum
  • Large bundle of axons connecting brain’s two hemispheres
  • Relays information between two sides

Left Hemisphere – Receives information from right side of body/Language processing, such as speech and grammar

Right Hemisphere – Receives information from left side of body/Processing non-verbal information, such as spatial perception, visual recognition, and emotion



Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.


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