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J Comp Neurol. 2005 Dec 5;493(1):122-31.

Anatomy of the soul as reflected in the cerebral hemispheres: neural circuits underlying voluntary control of basic motivated behaviors.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-2520, USA.


Understanding the principles of cerebral hemisphere neural network organization is essential for understanding the biological foundations of cognition and affect-thinking and feeling. A tripartite model of cerebral structure-function organization is reviewed, with attention focused on a behavior control system differentiation that mediates voluntary influences on three fundamental classes of goal-oriented behavior common to all animals. The model postulates just three cerebral divisions, one cortical and two nuclear (lateral or striatal, and medial or pallidal), that together generate a triple descending projection to the brainstem/cord motor system. This minimal circuit element is topographically organized and regionally differentiated, with the map of cortical areas serving as a basic starting point. Virtually all of the cerebral hemisphere projects on the upper brainstem behavior control column, atop the motor system hierarchy. The latter's rostral segment helps control ingestive (eating and drinking), defensive (fight or flight), and reproductive (sexual and parental) motivated behaviors, whereas its caudal segment helps control foraging or exploratory behavior to obtain or avoid specific goal objects associated with all classes of motivated behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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