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Rev Neurosci. 1997 Apr-Jun;8(2):139-45.

Useless or helpful? The "limbic system" concept.

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  • 1Institute for Morphological Endocrinology & Histochemistry, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


The "limbic system" is a widespread and frequently used concept in the neurosciences although it is characterized by many different and often vague or even contradictory definitions. This concept has therefore received an increasing amount of critique during the past years. An appraisal of various opinions - ranging from rejection to limited use and support - led us to suggestions concerning its appropriate use. Most importantly, the diversity of definitions and the weak empirical foundation require careful consideration as to what extent certain aspects of the "limbic system" concept can be useful heuristic tools in scientific reasoning.

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