The forebrain is at the front of the brain. It is
especially large in mammals. The structures
in the forebrain include the limbic system,
the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the pituitary
gland, the basal ganglia, the hippocampus,
the ventricles (containing cerebrospinal fluid)
and the meninges.
The limbic system is composed of several
structures and all of these together are
important for such behaviors and responses
as motivation, emotions, eating, drinking,
anxiety, and aggression. Some of these
structures will be discussed in more detail
below, including the hypothalamus and the
The thalamus receives most sensory
information before that information goes to
the brain and acts as a relay for this
information. The brain will then send the
sensory information it processes back to the
thalamus, where the thalamus helps focus
attention on particular stimuli.
The hypothalamus sends messages to the
pituitary gland (described below) and
changes the pituitary gland’s release of
hormones. The hypothalamus is responsible
for eating, drinking, temperature regulation,
fighting, and activity level, and other
behaviors as well.
The pituitary gland is responsible for making
hormones and for release these into the
bloodstream. These hormones help control
eating behavior and stress, among other things.
The basal ganglia is also a group of structures.
Among the roles of the basal ganglia is in
planning a sequence of behavior and also for
some types of memory and emotional
The hippocampus is important for storing
certain types of memories, though it isn’t
responsible for all memories. However, it does
seem most responsible for storing new
The ventricles are fluid-filled spaces in the
brain. The ventricles contain cerebrospinal
fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid cushions the brain
when the head moves, provides buoyancy
that helps support the weight of the brain,
and contains hormones and nutrition for the
Meninges are membranes that surrounds
the brain and spinal cord.