Definitions & Functions of the Limbic System
Amygdala This is the place where fear is registered and generated along with the other negative emotions of anger and sadness. It is also a place where unconscious, traumatic memories are stored.
Caudate Nucleus Many instincts -- which are genetically encoded memories, stem from here.
Hippocampus Helps to lay down long term memories and also retrieves them, particularly those related to a personal nature, as well as finding one's way about. Identifies sensory information worth saving and interprets incoming signals.
Hypothalamus A cluster of nuclei, each of which helps to control bodily urges and appetites. It acts like a bridge between body and brain. Though it is tiny, it has an enormous effect -- a single dysfunction can create serious problems. The Pituitary Gland is closely tied with the hypothalamus -- it produces secretions to help keep the body optimally adapted to its environment.
Pineal Gland
This is the only single element unduplicated in the brain, without a mirrored partner. Though still much needs to be learned about this mysterious organ, we do know it regulates the function of all the endocrine organs through the hormone melatonin. It has often been referred to as the "third eye" or the bridge from physical to spiritual reality. It is is considered by some to be the physical location for psychic phenomena such as mental telepathy. The 17th Century French philosopher Rene Descartes considered the pineal gland to be responsible for consciousness and soul.
Procedural memories, like riding a bike are stored here.
Acting like a signal station, it evaluates incoming sensory signals and rechannels them to appropriate areas of the cortex.