Limbic System - Physiology Lecture SlideshowLimbic System - Physiology Lecture Slideshow

“Reward & Punishment” Function of the Limbic System

  • sensory sensations–pleasant or unpleasant
  • reward or punishment or satisfaction or aversion
  • The electrical stimulation of certain areas –pleases or satisfies the animal
  • other areas causes terror, pain, fear, defense, escape, and the other elements of punishment
  • The degrees of stimulation of these two opposing stems greatly affect the behavior of the animal

Reward centers

Potent reward centers are found;

  • Along the course of the medial forebrain bundle especially in the lateral and ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus.
  • Less potent reward centers are found in the septum, the amygdala, certain areas of the thalamus & basal ganglia and descending downward to the basal tegmentum of the mesencephalon

Punishment Centers

Potent punishment centers:

In the central gray area surrounding the aqueduct of
sylvius in the mesencephalon and extending upwards
into periventricular zones of the hypothalamus &

Less potent punishment centers include:

Areas in amygdala & hippocampus.


emotional behavioral pattern—punishment centers like (periventricular zone of hypothalamus and lateral hypothalamus) are strongly stimulated;

  • The animal develops defensive posture.
  • Extends its claws
  • Lifts its tail.
  • Hiss.
  • Spit.
  • Growl.
  • Piloerection.
  • Wide open eyes.
  • Dilation of pupils

Placidity & tameness

  • are emotional behavior patters produced when reward centers are stimulated
  • Effects opposite to that of rage


of reward & punishment centers is that;

  • When we are rewarded, we continue to do, but when punished for an act, we cease to do it.
  • This constitutes our drives our aversions our motivations.
  • This helps to select and reject new sensory information.

Tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine, usually inhibits both reward & punishment centers.

Functions of hippocampus

  • Hippocampal formation
  • Sensory inputs—stimulates parts of hippocampus—initiate different behavioral reactions
  • Then send signals to anterior thalamus,hypothalamus,
  • Stimulation cause– epileptic seizures (prolong output) along with hallucinations

Role s of hippocampus in learning

  • Bilateral removal of the hippocampus—
  • No new information can be learnt
  • Unable to remember long lasting memories—anterograde amnesia

Theoretical function of the hippocampus in learning

  • Critical decision making
  • Importance of incoming signals
  • Eg smell, visual signals, selection of food, to run away from an object etc
  • Fixation of memory
  • Consolidation of memory


  • Window of limbic system
  • Send signals back to cortical areas
  • Hippocampus
  • Septum
  • Thalamus
  • hypothalamus
  • ↑ or ↓ BP
  • ↑ or ↓ Heart rate
  • ↑ or ↓ Git motility and secretion
  • Defecation and micturation
  • Pupillary dilatation and constriction
  • Secretion of hormones from ant pituitary
  • Cause involuntary movements
  • Tonic movements ( raising head or bending body)
  • Circuling movements
  • Clonic rhythmic movements
  • movements associated with olfaction and eating (licking, chewing, swallowing)

Kluver Brucy syndrome

  • Bilateral ablation of amagdala
  • Not afraid of anything
  • Extreme curiosity
  • Forgets rapidly
  • Tendendcy to place everything in mouth

Overall functions of amagdala

  • Behavior awareness
  • Current status in relation to both surroundings and thoughts
  • Appropriate behavior response

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