Basal Ganglia: strangely shaped cluster of structures that are concerned with the control of automatic movements associated with complex actions - for example, coordinating the force and tension in dozens of muscles throughout your body while you walk. (RamachandranTTB, 18)  Key group of structures in the “central nervous system.” (S.Goldberg, 3) Large collections of cell bodies that are embedded deep in the white matter of the brain. Called “ganglia” even though they are “nuclei.” (Patestas, 77) (Have) major inputs from “motor cortex.” (Blumenfeld, 34) Involved in "motor" and "behavioral" functions. (Fisch, 2)

Mediate intentional movements, sequences of motor actions or thoughts, and motor "learning." Receive input from throughout the cortex. Drastically affected in disorders such as “Huntington's disease” or “Parkinson's disease,” which attack neurons in the basal ganglia and are associated with severe motor deficits. (Koch, 130) Area of production of a spontaneous smile. After receiving a relayed signal from the “limbic system,” the basil ganglia orchestrate the sequences of facial muscle activity needed for producing a natural smile. When this circuit is activated, your smile is genuine. This production happens in a fraction of a second without the thinking parts of your cortex ever being involved. When you encounter a friendly face, the visual message from that face eventually reaches the limbic system and is subsequently relayed to the basal ganglia. (Ramachandran, 13) Also referred to as the ‘basal nuclei’ and ‘basal motor nuclei.’


Claustrum: a thin vertical layer of gray matter in each cerebral “hemisphere,” between the surface of the “insula” and the “lenticular nucleus.” (OxfordMed)

Corpus Striatum: the "caudate nucleus” and “putamen” share similar “morphological” characteristics. Hence they are considered to be  a single anatomical structure collectively referred to as the “striatum.” (Patestas, 191) “Subcortical” structure that sends its outputs to “brainstem” areas connected to “muscles” and to the “spinal cord.” It is clearly involved in getting the body to move. Contains “circuits” that “activate” and others that “suppress,” the “hindbrain” muscle systems. (Lynch, 74-75) The formation of new motor (and perhaps “cognitive”) habits requires the striatum. (Kandel, 132) “Implicit memories” of skills, habits, and conditioning are stored in the “cerebellum,” striatum, and “amygdala.” (Kandel, 130) Also known as ‘striatum,’  ‘neostriatum,’  ‘striate nucleus,’ and ‘caudatoputamen.’Corpus Striatum: 

Caudate Nucleus: (this) brain region includes circuits that involve maternal love. (Discover, 2007) The caudate nucleus is activated during romantic love. (Goleman, 37) Involved in regulating movements. Implicated (as a possible cause) of “obsessive-compulsive disorder.” (Hockenbury, 519) Also referred to as ‘caudate.’

Lenticular Nucleus: a large, cone-shaped area of “gray matter” within the basal ganglia comprised of the “globus pallidus” and “putamen” that is surrounded primarily by the caudate nucleus and the “thalamus.” (NCIt) Also referred to as ‘lentiform nucleus.’

Putamen: the most massive nucleus of the corpus stratum. (Patestas, 191) The largest and most lateral of the basal ganglia. It is part of the neostriatum and forms part of the lentiform nucleus along with the globus pallidus. Stimulation of the putamen generates a message to the “premotor cortex” which passes it along to the adjoining cortex. (Carter, 59) Activated during romantic love. (Goleman, 370) 

Globus Pallidus: a spherical or globe-shaped structure. Part of the ‘lenticular nucleus.’ (OxfordMed) The (evolutionary) oldest part of the corpus striatum. It forms the smaller, more “medial” part of the lentiform nucleus. (MeSH) Also referred to as ‘paleostriatum.’

Substantia Nigra: functionally related to the basal ganglia, but really located in the “midbrain.” The largest nucleus of the midbrain. Consists of two components, the ‘pars reticulata’ and ‘pars compacta.’ (Patestas, 191, 195) A large cell mass extending forward, over the “dorsal” surface of the “crus cerebri,” from the “rostral” border of the “pons” into the “subthalamic nucleus”). It is composed of a closely spaced pigmented cells and widely scattered cells. Includes numerous cells that project forward to the (corpus striatum) and contain “dopamine,” which acts as the primary neurotransmitter at the “synaptic” endings. Other, apparently non- (dopaminergic neurons) project to portions of the thalamus, the “superior colliculus” and (the) “reticular formation.” The substantia nigra is involved in the metabolic disturbances associated with “Parkinson's disease” and “Huntington's disease.” (NCIt)