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MRI cross-section, with thalamus marked

The thalamus [1] is a midline symmetrical structure in the brains of vertebrates. It is between the cerebral cortex and midbrain.

It relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex,[2][3] and regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness.

The thalamus sits above the hypothalamus, and below the cerebral cortex. It is a collection of nuclei with various functions. It acts as a relay station, gathering sense information of all kinds (except olfactory) and passes it on to the cerebral cortex.

There are action systems for several types of behaviour, including eating, drinking, defecation, and copulation.[4] These behaviours satisfy short-term needs, and are called 'consummatory' behaviours.


  1. from Greek θάλαμος = inner chamber) Douglas Harper - index & University of Washington Faculty Web Server & Search engine search page + Perseus Project Retrieved 2012-02-09
  2. Sherman, S. (2006). "Thalamus". Scholarpedia 1 (9): 1583. doi:10.4249/scholarpedia.1583 . 
  3. S. M. Sherman & Ray Guillery -

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 0-12-305460-5Elsevier B.V [Retrieved 2012-02-10]
  4. Jones E.G. 1985. The thalamus. Plenum Press.

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 9780306418563 [1]