Running head: EMOTIONS
Emotions and Memory
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The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. It processes sensory
input, controls movements, generates our thoughts and feelings, and manages decision-making.
The more brain tissue an organism has, the more complex thinking it can do.
Some brain structures evolved earlier than others. The hindbrain contains the brain's oldest
structures. It includes the medulla, the reticular formation, the cerebellum, and the pons. The
midbrain contains structures important for orientation and moving around the environment. The
brain's dopaminergic reward system also originates in this area of the brain. The brainstem is the
central core of the brain. It includes the midbrain, medulla, and pons and connects the spinal cord
to the brain. The medulla manages automatic survival functions, such as the heartbeat and
breathing. The reticular formation is made up of connected circuits within the brain stem. Links
from the reticular formation to the cortex control attention and the sleep-wake cycle by filtering
incoming stimuli and controlling arousal. If the reticular formation is damaged or destroyed, coma
results. If it is stimulated, people who are sleeping wake up, and those already awake become more
alert. The cerebellum is involved in nonverbal learning, balance, and coordination. The pons relays
information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain. (Mayer, R. J. 1993).
Structures in the forebrain are more evolutionarily recent. The forebrain consists of the
cerebral cortex and subcortical structures called the pituitary gland, the thalamus, and the limbic
system. The pituitary gland is the body's master gland. It releases hormones that direct the function
of many ot...
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