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Volume 11, Pages 2427-2440
Review Article

The Limbic System Conception and Its Historical Evolution

1Faculty of Medicine, University of Caxias do Sul, Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil
2Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital São José, Complexo Hospitalar Santa Casa de Misericórdia, Porto Alegre, RS 90020-090, Brazil
3School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2751, Australia
4Department of Psychiatry, Sydney West Area Health Service, Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia
5Serviço de Neurologia, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
6UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK
7SEIN-Stichting Epilepsie Instellingen Nederland, 2103 SW Heemstede, The Netherlands

Received 14 February 2011; Accepted 19 September 2011

Academic Editor: Roger Whitworth Bartrop

Copyright © 2011 Marcelo R. Roxo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Throughout the centuries, scientific observers have endeavoured to extend their knowledge of the interrelationships between the brain and its regulatory control of human emotions and behaviour. Since the time of physicians such as Aristotle and Galen and the more recent observations of clinicians and neuropathologists such as Broca, Papez, and McLean, the field of affective neuroscience has matured to become the province of neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists. It is accepted that the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus, and insula participate in the majority of emotional processes. New imaging technologies and molecular biology discoveries are expanding further the frontiers of knowledge in this arena. The advancements of knowledge on the interplay between the human brain and emotions came about as the legacy of the pioneers mentioned in this field. The aim of this paper is to describe the historical evolution of the scientific understanding of interconnections between the human brain, behaviour, and emotions.