A revised limbic system model for memory, emotion and behaviour

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HighlightsThe limbic system includes 3 distinct but partially overlapping networks.The hippocampal-diencephalic and parahippocampal-retrosplenial network has a role in memory and spatial orientation.The temporo-amygdala-orbitofrontal network associates emotion with cognition.The default-mode network is involved in autobiographical memory and introspection.Emotion, memories and behaviour emerge from the coordinated activities of regions connected by the limbic system. Here, we propose an update of the limbic model based on the seminal work of Papez, Yakovlev and MacLean. In the revised model we identify three distinct but partially overlapping networks: (i) the Hippocampal-diencephalic and parahippocampal-retrosplenial network dedicated to memory and spatial orientation; (ii) The temporo-amygdala-orbitofrontal network for the integration of visceral sensation and emotion with semantic memory and behaviour; (iii) the default-mode network involved in autobiographical memories and introspective self-directed thinking. The three networks share cortical nodes that are emerging as principal hubs in connectomic analysis. This revised network model of the limbic system reconciles recent functional imaging findings with anatomical accounts of clinical disorders commonly associated with limbic pathology.

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