The brain stem, shown in Figure 49-7, lies below the cerebrum and links it to the spinal cord. The diencephalon (DlE-uhn-SEF-uh-lahn) lies between the cerebrum and the brain stem and contains relay centers for information entering and exiting the brain. The uppermost relay center is the thalamus (THAL-uh-muhs). It directs most incoming sensory signals to the proper region of the cerebral cortex. The hypothalamus helps maintain homeostasis. It also directly and indirectly controls much of the body's hormone production.

A set of brain structures called the limbic system includes parts of the thalamus and hypothalamus, centers in the temporal lobes, and some deeper parts of the cerebral cortex. The limbic system helps govern emotion, memory, and motivation.

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