Notes on the role of Limbic System in Emotion


The limbic system is a group of structures of the brain lying in an area below the corpus callosum at the innermost edge of the cerebral hemisphere. The particular structures, which are grouped as limbic system, are as follows- the hippocampus, anterior thalamus, amygdala, septum or septal area, hypothalamus and their interconnecting fibres.

There are specific structures in the limbic system, which are involved in emotional and motivational reactions. This structure is not well developed in lower organisms below the mammals. Limbic system being interconnected with hypothalamus works emotional and motivational needs.

When there is a lesion in a precise part of the limbic system in hum patients, they fail to carry out sequential activities. They are found to have forgotten the order of activities. Monkeys having lesions in some regions the limbic system express anger at minor provocations. Moreover; monkeys with lesions on some other regions at the limbic system become docile at calm, and do not show hostility or anger when provoked.


Tumors and lesions in the limbic system lead to impotence and reduction of sexual drive (Blumer & Walker, 1967). Other evidences also suggest that stimulating limbic area may result in sexual arousal. Heath (1964) reports four cases of electrical stimulation of the limbic system of three males and male, of which three male people’s experienced sexual arousal during limbic imulation and the female experienced orgasm. Thus researchers have evidences in common that this structure is involved in emotional reaction.

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