In broad outline the brain’s subsystems can be understood in terms of specific functionality. This chapter introduces these subsystems and provides and overview of how they work together to provide the brain’s cognitive capabilities. The focus of the chapter is the mammalian forebrain, an elaborate complex of structures that take advantage of phylogenetically earlier brain systems to create explicit programs. Executing current programs is the primary responsibility of the Cortical-Basal Ganglia-Thalamus loop. Creating new programs is handled by the Hippocampus, which interprets new information in terms of deviations form a vast library of existing programs, and the Amygdala, whose circuitry marks a potential programs importance. Numerical rating of marked programs as to importance and risk is achieved with the Hypothalamus’s modulation of neurotransmitters.
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