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Telencephalon: parts and functions of this part of the brain

Telencephalon: parts and functions of this part of the brain

June 12, 2024

The human brain can be divided into a large number of subcomponents ; not for nothing is the most complex organ that we have.

However, this "decomposition into pieces" does not always occur in the same way. Sometimes, we will simply look at the larger and more general structures, such as the diencephalon, and in others we will be more thorough and focus on the smaller components that together form larger ones, such as the subthalamus (which is part of the diencephalon).

Focusing on the smallest parts of the central nervous system can be very useful to understand how the neural networks of a specific individual work, but at other times it is more interesting to maintain a more global view of the organ of thought and to look at its more general structures. In this case we will see one of the latter: the telencephalon .


  • Related article: "Parts of the human brain (and functions)"

What is the telencephalon?

The telencephalon is the largest part of the brain, and it is the structure in which the integration of the information transmitted by the neurons reaches its most complex stage. It is located just above the diencephalon, which it covers as if it were a helmet, and does not limit it to any other part of the central nervous system on its upper part: it forms the surface full of folds that characterizes the human brain.

Technically, the term "telencephalon" is used to designate one of the three main formations that are created at the end of the neural tube to grow until you end up developing the brain. Thus, in an adult brain the telencephalon is the set of parts of the central nervous system that in the earliest stage of development emerged from that bulging shape.


As the telencephalon is the most superficial part of the brain , most of the data that arrives to him has already been worked before by other groups of neurons located in subcortical areas, that is, closer to the lower part of the organ.

In addition, the telencephalon is divided into two cerebral lobes, each located on the left and right side of the head and separated from each other by the interhemispheric fissure.

Parts of the telencephalon

The main components in which the telencephalon can be divided are the following.

1. Brain cortex

It is the surface full of folds and fissures that characterize the most visible part of the brain. It is composed mainly of gray matter and several layers of coordinated neurons.

2. Hippocampus

The hippocampus is involved in several processes, but one of the main ones is the consolidation of memories belonging to declarative memory , as well as its evocation in the future. Damages in this region frequently produce disorders linked to amnesia.


  • Related article: "Types of memory: how memory stores the human brain?"

3. Brain tonsil

The cerebral amygdala is a structure that we find on both sides of the brain, that is, one per hemisphere, within the so-called temporal lobes. It is part of the limbic system , which is a network of cells responsible for managing the appearance and regulation of emotional states, so it has an important role in learning thanks to the possibility of associating actions with consequences.

The amygdala also intervenes in emotional memory, that is, it does something similar to what the hypothalamus does with "cold data" about what we are living, although in this case the memory itself is simply a partially dissociated emotional reaction from the rest of the memory.

4. Striated body

The striatum is also an important component of the telencephalon, since is the main route of data entry to the basal ganglia , in addition to receiving afferents from the cerebral cortex.

Thus, it intervenes in the process of allowing highly automated movements, among other things, since it is related to the basal ganglia.

5. Olfactory bulb

It is one of the oldest parts of the brain, since it has been used for many tens of millions of years. It is a structure located below the lowest part of the cerebral cortex, and receives the olfactory information that comes from the outside of the body.

In addition, the olfactory bulb has the particularity that it is the entry route of a type of information that must not pass through the thalamus before being distributed by the brain.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Olfactory bulb: definition, parts and functions"

6. Basal ganglia

The basal ganglia are sets of gray matter that intervene in different processes, normally related to the control of voluntary movements and with the "automation" of these so that attention can be directed to other things.

  • Related article: "Basal ganglia: anatomy and functions"

Its functions

As we have seen, the functions of the telencephalon depend in large part on which of its components we fix. However, if we take into account the fact that most of this is composed of cerebral cortex, we could say that it mainly takes care of integrate all kinds of information about what happens outside and about the actions that are going to be undertaken at some future time.

That's why the cerebral cortex It has different areas of association in which information is processed together to result in more complete and meaningful units of information. For example, thanks to it we can recognize someone from the integration of information relating to the reliefs of each part of his face, the sound of his voice, his posture, etc.


Brain Anatomy 1 - Gross Cortical Anatomy (Lateral Surface) (June 2024).


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