The brain's central "relay station," situated just atop the brain stem. Nearly all the messages going into or out of the brain go through the thalamus including sight, sound, touch, and taste, but not smell (olfactory).

Quite simply...

  • The thalamus is similar to the central processing chip in a computer, because it analyzes and processes all stimulus information in relation to the body.
  • Directs all incoming and outgoing sensory motor traffic (like a policeman in a traffic).
  • The "Control Center" of the brain.

Functions of the Thalamus

  • When a door shuts on your hand, the stimulus sends a sensation of pain to your thalamus creating pain in the afflicted area.
  • Visual information enters the Thalamus by way of the optic nerve and is then relayed on to the "gray matter" areas at the back of the brain that specialize in visual perception.
  • Controls all of the senses except for smell.

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