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Credit: SEER Training Modules/ U. S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute


The thalamus is a large, dual lobed mass of grey matter buried under the cerebral cortex. It is involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor functions. The thalamus is a limbic system structure and it connects areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in sensory perception and movement with other parts of the brain and spinal cord that also have a role in sensation and movement. As a regulator of sensory information, the thalamus also controls sleep and awake states of consciousness.


The thalamus is involved in several functions of the body including:
  • Motor Control
  • Receives Auditory, Somatosensory and Visual Sensory Signals
  • Relays Sensory Signals to the Cerebral Cortex
  • Controls Sleep and Awake States


Directionally, the thalamus is situated at the top of the brainstem, between the cerebral cortex and midbrain. It is superior to the hypothalamus.


  • View a collection of images of the thalamus.

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For additional information on the thalamus, see:

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  7. Thalamus Description and Diagram

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