Role of the Basal Ganglia for Cognitive Control of Sequences of Motor Patterns The Caudate Circuit

The term cognition means the thinking processes of the brain, using both sensory input to the brain plus information already stored in memory. Most of our motor actions occur as a consequence of thoughts generated in the mind, a process called cognitive control of motor activity. The caudate nucleus plays a major role in this cognitive control of motor activity.

The neural connections between the caudate nucleus and the corticospinal motor control system, shown in Figure 56-12, are somewhat different from those of the putamen circuit. Part of the reason for this is that the caudate nucleus, as shown in Figure 56-9, extends into all lobes of the cerebrum, beginning anteriorly in the frontal lobes, then passing posteriorly through the parietal and occipital lobes, and finally curving forward again like the letter "C" into the temporal lobes. Furthermore, the caudate nucleus receives large amounts of its input from the association areas of the cerebral cortex overlying the caudate nucleus, mainly areas that also integrate the different types of sensory and motor information into usable thought patterns.

After the signals pass from the cerebral cortex to the caudate nucleus, they are next transmitted to the internal globus pallidus, then to the relay nuclei of the

Prefrontal

Premotor and

SLippeme^l Primary motor

Somatosensory

Ventroanterior and ventrolateral nuclei of thalamus

Prefrontal

Premotor and

SLippeme^l Primary motor

Somatosensory

Ventroanterior and ventrolateral nuclei of thalamus

Putamen

Globus pallidus internal/external

Putamen

Subthalamus f

Substantia nigra

Globus pallidus internal/external

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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