Covering the brain's central core, the forebrain includes the thalamus, which integrates sensory input. The thalamus is a relay station for all the information that travels to and from the cortex. All information from the eyes, ears, and skin enters the thalamus and then is sent to the appropriate areas in the cortex. Just below the thalamus is the hypothalamus. It controls functions such as hunger, thirst and sexual behavior. It also controls the body's reactions to changes in temperature, so when we are warm, we begin to sweat, and when we are cold, we shiver.

The higher thinking processes are Forebrain.jpgin the forebrain. The outer layer of the forebrain consists of the cerebral cortex. The inner layer is the cerebrum. The cerebral cortex and the cerebrum surround the hindbrain and the brain stem. The cerebral cortex gives us the ability to learn and store complex and abstract information, and to project your thinking into the future. Your cerebral cortex allows you to see, read, and understand. The cortex of the cerebrum is the site of your conscious thinking processes, yet it is less then one fourth of an inch thick.

The limbic system, found in the core of the forebrain, is composed of a number of different structures in the brain that regulate our emotions and motivations. The limbic system includes the hypothalamus, amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus. The amygdala controls violent emotions such as rage and fear. the hippocampus is important in the formation of memories. If the hippocampus is damaged, it would be difficult to form new memories. Covering all these parts is the cerebrum.

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