Useless or Helpful? The "Limbic System" Concept

  title={Useless or Helpful? The "Limbic System" Concept},
  author={Rolf K{\"o}tter and Klaas Enno Stephan},
  journal={Reviews in the Neurosciences},
  pages={139 - 145}
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… 

Tables from this paper

A review of systems and networks of the limbic forebrain/limbic midbrain
Functional anatomy of the basal ganglia: limbic aspects.
On the role of general system theory for functional neuroimaging
It is argued that classic approaches towards brain structure–function relationships that are based on correlational approaches are not sufficient to provide an understanding of the operational principles of a dynamic system such as the brain but must be complemented by models based on general system theory.
Subcortical and Limbic Attentional Influences
Whereas the cerebral cortex has been traditionally viewed as the site of higher cognitive functioning, the subcortex was thought to be primarily involved in the control of more primitive systemic appetitive and biological functions, it is now recognized that many subcortical brain areas have important roles in cognitive functioning as well, as exemplified by the involvement of the thalamus and basal ganglia to language.
The Neuroanatomy of Emotions
Common to many mammalians, the limbic system is a set of anatomical structures involved in emotions that includes the prefrontal cortex—where emotions access consciousness—as well as the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus.
Unconscious knowledge: A survey
A survey of the main psychological research currently being carried out into cognitive processes, and examines pathways that can be integrated into a discipline of unconscious knowledge.
The history of CoCoMac
The Hippocampus: Modern Imaging of its Anatomy and Pathology
The hippocampus has been a source of fascination from the very origins of neuroscience as a modern discipline and the appreciation of its role in memory-processing, its association when damaged with complex partial seizures, the refinement of surgical techniques for intractable epilepsy, and the introduction of more powerful imaging modalities will ensure the continuing importance of the hippocampus in clinical neuroscience.
Ex vivo diffusion-weighted MRI tractography of the Göttingen minipig limbic system
An overview and substantial insight is provided of the Göttingen minipig limbic system using previously obtained post-mortem DWI scans, which closely resembled what was previously described in both human studies and neuronal tracing studies from other mammalian species.
Computational analysis of functional connectivity between areas of primate cerebral cortex.
A relational database is built up by systematically collating published data on the spread of activity after strychnine-induced disinhibition in the macaque cerebral cortex in vivo to demonstrate that the cortical network of functional interactions is not homogeneous, but shows a clear segregation into functional assemblies of mutually interacting areas.


The limbic system: a review of its empirical foundation
A fuzzy limbic system
Psychosomatic Disease and the "Visceral Brain": Recent Developments Bearing on the Papez Theory of Emotion
Little information has accumulated to indicate by what mechanism the emotions can so act on autonomic centers as to lead to diseases as diverse as essential hypertension, peptic ulcer, asthma, etc.
The Experimental-Clinical Interface: Kindling as a Dynamic Model of Induced Limbic System Dysfunction
In this symposium we have looked back over a span of 40 years to trace the evolution of the limbic system concept from its rather nebulous beginnings to its present substantive reality. No longer can
Functional Organization of the Limbic System in the Process of Registration of Information: Facts and Hypotheses
Morphological data on structures of the principal limbic circuit show that they constitute a complex, hierarchically organized system, and that this is indeed a system with important intrinsic
A morphologic concept of the limbic lobe.
  • L. E. White
  • Biology
    International review of neurobiology
  • 1965
[Disorders of learning and memory in focal cerebral tissue lesions].
The working hypothesis assumes that combined, bilateral lesions of both limbic neuronal networks make severe, global and lasting deficits in memory and learning performance fairly likely.
Structural Evidence for Functional Domains in the Rat Hippocampus
It is shown that the descending output of the hippocampus is organized in such a way that different hippocampal regions map in an orderly way onto hypothalamic systems mediating the expression of different classes of goal-oriented behavior.